Lake Ontario Shipboard Science: Day 1

July 10, 2018

On July 29, 2011, two days after returning from the Lake Superior Shipboard Science workshop, I wrote the final blog post for the trip while talking on the phone with two of my shipmates. We reflected on how our experience aboard the Guardian changed the lens through which we viewed the world, including resources like our Lakes that we thought we knew well. We remarked at how the trip fostered an appreciation and an understanding of scientists as colleagues and resources, and above all, a hope that the work of our scientists would continue to be supported and that programs like the Shipboard Science workshops would have the support and funding to be sustained.

R/V Lake Guardian in the Buffalo Harbor 7/8/18

Seven years later, I boarded the Lake Guardian again, this time as not only a teacher, but as a contributing member of the staff, and this time, in my hometown of Buffalo. Twelve hours have passed and already, I have seen my hometown and local water resources from a different perspectives, not only in the physical sense of a different vantage point, but also through the eyes and voices of my new shipmates. As we got underway and the Buffalo skyline and the bustle of the Canalside and Inner Harbor disappeared, I engaged in conversations with teachers and scientists about the renaissance that continues to gain momentum in Buffalo and the catalyst for that renewal, our relationship with our water.

Today our voyage to Lake Ontario started with a media send-off, and on-lookers and families getting glimpses of all of the tools we will use in our work this week. We learned about the ambitious sampling plans for the week, shared curriculum and connections, settled into our berths, and helped each other into our gumby suits.


We marveled at the technology of the locks at Welland, the size of the ships that we shared space with as we transited the canal, and were humbled as we looked back on the monstrous doors of each lock that marked where we had been.



I am beyond excited for this trip and the chance to deepen my relationship with our Lakes and my new shipmates. I feel fortunate to have the chance to work alongside individuals that I’ve known for years and whose work has deeply influenced me and my pursuits, and to have met new people that in a few short hours have already inspired, taught, and challenged me. I have an immense sense of gratitude that programs like this continue to exist, evolve, and be supported, and cannot wait to hear from our bloggers this week as we get our work underway tomorrow! Stay tuned!

Sandy Smith, Nichols School, Buffalo, NY