Trip Reports & On-Line Citizen Science

- field trips & charters
- public eco-cruises & charters
- internships & youth programming

Phone: (607) 327-5253


Saturday, August 27, 2011


Floating Classroom instructors Jordan and Bill made an incidental discovery of what looked like a non-native relative of Elodea canadensis while preparing for programs on August 16. We sent work to Bob Johnson at Cornell, a regional expert, who later confirmed the plant as Hydrilla verticillata, and extremely invasive species that has not been observed in upstate New York until now.

Take-home message: IT PAYS TO KEEP TO KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN. We are not experts in aquatic invasive species, but we are familiar enough with the lake to know when something looks odd. That's all it takes! Here is what you need to know.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Environmental Appreciation Days cruise

The Floating Classroom was happy to host kids participating in the Environmental Appreciation Days camp on Monday. We had a great time riding the waves as we cruised from Ithaca to Taughannock State Park! During the cruise, we explored our perceptions of what a healthy lake might look like and how to share these ideas with our community. We also talked about some of the projects being conducted by high school interns on the lake this summer. The group also completed a full lake profile using a Hydrolab remote sensor provided by the City of Ithaca to measure water temperatures, chemistry and chlorophyll levels.

Things are looking good on on the lake right now. Temperatures are in the mid-70s down to 15 meters. Our thermocline was detected between 17 and 20 meters where the temperature whent from roughly 68 degrees F. to 50. Sunlight penetration was estimated to be 11 meters and chlorophyll levels, which are an indicator of photosynthetic algae where highest between 5 and ten meters. Check out our Facebook page for comments, more pictures, and observation from the camp!

Monday, August 8, 2011


The Floating Classroom joinsCooperative Extension 4-H, Cornell Plantations, the Lab of Ornithology and our regional State Parks in offering a fantastic, one-week camp opportunity for kids, ages 12-14! Participants will spend each day at a different location, taking part in hands-on, fun activities and explorations, and learning how they can play a role in community-led resource protection. For a complete schedule & signup info, go to

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Over the past weeks, we've been wondering if there would be a "bloom" of the blue-green algae anabaena in Cayuga Lake. With unusually warm surface water temperatures and an abundance of nutrients left over from spring rains, the stage was set. This type of algae has caused recent beach closures around New York due to its potential to produce neurotoxins. The picture to the right was recently taken at Oneida Lake.

With help from eco-cruise participants, GIAC's Summer Conservation Corps, and youths from Danby, Ithaca, Trumansburg, Dryden & Lansing, we collected frequent samples and noted a mild anabaena bloom! Over the past week, however, Cayuga's surface waters have been teeming with zooplankton, which have almost completely consumed the problematic algae!

At this point, it looks like Cayuga Lake is resilient enough to stay healthy, even during an especially hot, dry summer. That's good news! If you'd like to learn more about the ecology of Cayuga Lake, check out our "Cruise Prep" pages for more on lake sampling and collected data!