By: Michele DiPasquale
Even though summer is now in glorious full swing, most of us want to continue to learn and develop our awareness and education, especially about our local environment. And as luck would have it, the Lake Hopatcong Foundation is pleased to announce that the Floating Classroom Cruise is a fun and interesting learning experience while enjoying summer and keeping that local environmental awareness growing.
“The public is invited to take a ride, conduct experiments, and learn about the Lake Hopatcong watershed,” shared Holly Odgers at the LHF.
A forty-foot, covered Catamaran pontoon boat seating 40 passengers plus crew members will serve as one component of the LHF’s Lake Hopatcong educational field trip programs, and as an interactive classroom and learning center with scientific equipment right on board to promote a hands-on learning experience. Thanks to the generous support of FirstEnergy Foundation and Investors Foundation, and the purchase of the floating classroom which was made possible thanks to support from USA TODAY Network’s “A Community Thrives” program, the James P. Verhalen Family Foundation, and the Szigethy family, along with new microscopes from local Succasunna Company Zarbeco, and digital tablets to view the images, the Floating Classroom makes it easy and fun for passengers to view plankton samples and learn about the Lake Hopatcong watershed during the cruise. On board, guests enjoy a hands-on adventure while gaining knowledge about Lake Hopatcong and taking part in experiments such as water clarity testing with Secchi disks, and collecting and studying phytoplankton from lake water samples.
“With this new technology, passengers will be amazed at how clearly they can see the diversity of the plankton in the lake, which is critical to the stability of the ecosystem,” said LHF Grant and Program Director Donna Macalle-Holly.
The Lake Hopatcong Foundation regularly holds events that help remove debris and trash from the lake and it’s watershed.
The Floating Classroom lasts for 90 minutes and departs from the docks at Nolan’s Point, 37 Nolan’s Point Park Road, Lake Hopatcong, every Monday from July 8th until August 26 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Activities will be geared toward guests who are at least 10 years old, but younger guests are welcome to come aboard and join the cruise. Advance tickets are recommended, although walk-on guests are welcome as seating and space accords. Guests are encouraged to dress warmly, in layers, and wear sneakers. It is always much cooler on the lake than on land! The boat is covered to provide protection from light weather, and life jackets are both provided and required.
Tickets are priced at $18 for adults, $12 for children up to 17 years old, and $16 for seniors ages 65 and up. Reservations can be made at www.lakehopatcongfoundation.org/floatingclassroom or by calling the Lake Hopatcong Foundation office at 973-663-2500.
Tickets are non-refundable unless the cruise is canceled by the Lake Hopatcong Foundation due to severe weather or low attendance: If a minimum of 15 tickets is not sold for your selected cruise, the LHF will contact you to reschedule or refund your full purchase price. Cruise cancellations will be announced 24 hours before the scheduled cruise date.
When you register, please notify the LHF if you will have a very small child or infant with you. To learn more, visit lakehopatcongfoundation.org.