Education is what we do! Discover Cayuga Lake is invested in our region’s youth regarding environmental literacy about our watershed. We do this through our Trout in the Classroom and Floating Classroom Programs which reach 1000s of young minds and hearts every year. Activities take place in school classrooms, at streams, at local fish hatcheries and aboard our boat, the MV Teal. If you are an educator interested in participating please click on the relevant links and don’t hesitate to contact us with questions.
If you are a visitor to our area you can also participate in some of our Floating Classroom Activities by join us for an Expedition Cruise! During these cruises, we take out the water monitoring and plankton observation equipment we have on board and teach guests not only what we do but how to do it themselves. These are fun activities for young and old alike! See our cruise schedule here.
Some of the activities we do:
Cayuga Water Lab
A typical Cayuga Water Lab Cruise on the Floating Classroom has four stations on the boat at a deep water site, including field/weather conditions, GPS sampling location, Secchi clarity, Water temperature and pH profile, plankton survey.
Students use a plankton net to gather teeming hordes of tiny but diverse living organisms from the lake.
With scopes, available on-board, students can learn to observe and identify the plankton they've collected.
Water Clarity Analysis
How far does sunlight travel down into the lake? This is an essential measurement when we're monitoring the the environment under the water's surface.
Profiling the Lake at Different Depths
What changes happen when you start moving from the surface of the water down into the depths of the lake? Depth profiles help us understand how the structure of the lake is changing from one day to the next!
Sample and Investigate Aquatic Plants
There are so many different aquatic plants. Students can dredge up samples from the bottom of the lake and record data on what plant species they find.
Collect and Analyze Sediment Samples
The lake's ecosystem is more than just the water column. Keep going down below the sediment, and there is so much more to discover!
Invasive Species Survey
An Invasive Species Survey Cruise features shallow water stops at multiple locations and aquatic plant sampling and observation.
Invasive plants, fish and other organisms are likely the greatest threat to the Finger Lakes. Seemingly desirable fish, such as brown trout and rainbow smelt were once purposefully introduced, and ultimately changed the fundamental ecology of Cayuga Lake. Today, incidental introductions of zebra and quagga mussels, round gobies, and plants such as Hydrilla verticillata and European Water Chestnut threaten to alter lake conditions even more. Check out these resources for more info: