The R/V Folger a Floating Laboratory: Teaching Marine Science Skills on Lake Champlain (Invited)

TitleThe R/V Folger a Floating Laboratory: Teaching Marine Science Skills on Lake Champlain (Invited)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsManley, P, Manley, T
JournalAGU Fall Meeting Abstracts
Date Published2013/12
Keywords0850 EDUCATION Geoscience education research, 4239 OCEANOGRAPHY: GENERAL Limnology

Undergraduate senior work has been required at Middlebury College as far back as 1960's and hands-on experiential learning was and still is the mode for our geology courses. The history of Middlebury College having a research vessel started in the 1970's when Dave Folger started the marine component of our curriculum and obtained the first Middlebury College's research vessel - a coast guard rescue surf boat (Bruno Schmidt). The second Middlebury College research vessel, the R/V Baldwin was purchased in 1985 and was used exclusively in a river-like setting due to its open cockpit and minimal research equipment. In 1990, Middlebury College received a grant from NSF-MRI to upgrade the vessel, to a then state-of the-art small oceanographic vessel including new equipment (CTD, side-scan sonar, ROV, met station, coring devices, computers and navigation). Middlebury College contributed monies to enclose the wheelhouse, install safer diesel engines, as well as a winch and an A-frame to haul in equipment. Over 600+ students used the Baldwin in a variety of geology courses; mainly Oceanography and Marine Geology. In 2010, Middlebury College received an NSF -ARRA grant (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) to replace the ailing R/V Baldwin with a floating state-of-the art laboratory with the specific goals of increasing 1) access to lake research for Middlebury faculty and students in the biological, chemical, and environmental sciences, 2) the scope of lake research by reducing transit times over this 100km long lake, 3) stability for broad-lake research, 4) improve and expand research capabilities on Lake Champlain, 5) the carrying capacity (both equipment and people), and 6) instructional capability and overnight capabilities. The newly built R/V Folger is a sophisticated research vessel with advanced capabilities that provides a greater capacity to the research infrastructure on Lake Champlain, enhancing interdisciplinary inquiry not only for Middlebury College, but for other members of the local educational community for the next 30 to 50 years. The R/V Folger hosts significant amount of lab space allowing for on-vessel processing of real time data, enhanced navigational capabilities, smart classroom technology and new instrumentation such as multi-beam and CTD-rosette system. This all aluminum new research vessel, besides providing a new platform for Middlebury College's students, will also be used to enable faculty at other local colleges to provide experiential training in research techniques that would otherwise be unavailable; provide research training to local K-12 teachers; offer outreach to "land-locked" institutions and organizations within our tri-state region (NY, NH and VT); the development of a nautical archaeology program in the Lake Champlain basin; and produce data with environmental benefits to the region.

Refereed DesignationRefereed
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