The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has received funding to honor Robert Beach Sr.’s adventurous spirit and love of history. LCMM has created the Bob Beach Sr. Maritime Apprenticeship to provide a unique and exciting opportunity for four enthusiastic young people. High school students interested in developing maritime skills will accompany the crew of the Canal Schooner Lois McClure as she travels from Lake Champlain through the Champlain and Erie Canals, bound for the 2017 World Canals Conference. For approximately ten days, these trainee sailors and interpreters will work alongside the crew of the schooner and hone seamanship skills, become immersed in the lifestyle of a 19th century canal schooner, and build valuable leadership experience, while living aboard as part of the ship’s crew. Students from Addison County high schools entering 10th, 11th, or 12th grade are invited to apply. The apprenticeship will be held between early July and mid August 2017 and will consist of a 10 to 14 day rotation, living and working aboard the canal schooner Lois McClure.
The experience will include:
Assigned readings and curriculum on history and ecology to absorb prior to joining the crew.
Opportunities to gain hands on experience in boating skills and shipboard life. You will be immersed in the lifestyle of a 19th century working canal schooner!
Practice performing historical interpretation and educational programing in public settings.
Participation in regular marine safety drills and procedures.
Development and observation of leadership skills and styles in a dynamic environment.
The chance to travel along the historic Erie Canal on a traditional 19th century craft!
A stipend of $250.
To participate in the Apprenticeship, applicants must fill out an application and answer a few questions. Responses should show:
Keen interest in regional history and ecology and public interpretation.
Desire to develop maritime and other new skills.
Genuine commitment to participate in all components of a strenuous, irregular daily schedule.
Willingness to live in tight quarters with little privacy.
Physical, mental, and emotional ability to positively contribute to the crew.
Most importantly a wicked good attitude, a strong work ethic, and a good sense of humor.
Applications must also include a brief recommendation from an adult teacher, counselor or school advisor.
We strongly encourage applicants to apply as soon as they know they are interested and can make a commitment to the program.
Complete an application (available on our website).
Submit a recommendation from a teacher, guidance counselor or other adult.
Submit the completed application to:
Matt Harrison, VYDC AmeriCorps service member at LCMM. email@example.com
Reviewers will respond to applications within 2-3 weeks. Preference will be given to Addison County applicants.
On March 10th LCMM Underwater Archaeologist Jennifer Craig was invited to Career Day at Knowlton Academy Elementary School. Approximately 70 students aged 11-13 attended this event. The Principal Renalee Gore provided the students with 30 different career options by inviting professionals from various walks of life.
The intention was for students to appreciate the education and perseverance that goes into career development. As an underwater archaeologist Jennifer enticed students to remain in the sciences with focus on mathematics, chemistry and physics so that they might be able to one day enjoy the mysteries of human-made objects underwater.
The students asked many questions such as “how do you see underwater?” and were promptly invited to join our Snorkel Summer Adventure Camp. Another question was about “how can you tell its a shipwreck and what kind?” that question entailed a much longer response on Jennifer’s 3 degrees and years of experience in the scientific recording of shipwrecks with SCUBA diving.
Students, alumni, parents, teachers, administrators, volunteers, donors, and LCMM staff filled the LCMM Boatshop on Thursday to celebrate the building of something special.
Seven students currently enrolled in the Diversified Occupation’s boatbuilding program and one student from Mount Abraham’s Pathways program gave demonstrations of various boatbuilding techniques they’ve learned, from refinishing older boats, to planking the new one. There was even a live demo of steam-bending ribs, installed by an all-girl crew!
One of the most striking things about the evening was the sense of community. The students who built last year’s boat were there, remembering their presentation of the year before, as were teachers and volunteers who have seen so many of these boats built over the past seventeen years of the Champlain Longboats program.
The tone of the evening was simultaneously success and gratitude. The success of the program comes from the collaboration and dedication of everyone who was in that room, and more! Without the school partnerships, rowing teams, donors, volunteers, and students, there would be nothing to celebrate. LCMM is proud to have partnered with The Diversified Occupations program for seventeen years building seventeen rowing gigs that are all actively being used by youth and adult rowing programs in the Champlain Valley and beyond.
The newest pilot gig will be launched on May 25th. It’s bound for Massachusetts, but the legacy of honoring the victories of the past and the brightness of the future will live on as another boat is built. Each student group is unique, and each boat is unique, but overall, they are all the shape of success. So here’s to year seventeen, and to all the years to come!
With a high of 15 degrees, it was going to be a cold one. But that’s what everybody had come out for. When we first arrived on the scene, it was still blowing a gale. ‘Are we crazy?’ was a question in everyone’s mind, but the forecast told us the wind would die down before the race, and our faith and sweaters saw us through.
Sure enough, the wind did die down. It was blowing 20-25 knots with gusts up to 35. ‘Choppy’ was a bit of an understatement, but putting our trust in the Hull Lifesaving Museum’s judgement and legacy, we started off as per tradition. The Snow Row features a Le Mans-style start, meaning that the race really begins on land. At the cannon’s boom participants must sprint from the high-tide line on the beach to their boats and launch at speed, before turning around and making a line for Sheep Island. From there, it’s a line to the Peddocks Island day marker, before returning to the Windmill Point boathouse.
We had five teams in the race, including many alumni of the youth programs! One of our fours was crewed by Mt. Abe high school students, and another four was Mt. Abe students and alumni! In addition, we had a pilot gig full of Vergennes Union High School alumni. We had two more gigs, one a mix of Vermont adult rowers, and youth from Station, Maine, and one a team of museum staff and volunteers.
It was a rough day out there, but under the skill of our coxswains and strong backs of our rowers, all five LCMM teams returned safe to the Windmill Point boathouse for hot soup and celebration!
Construction of the famed Erie and Champlain Canals began on July 4, 1817 in Rome, NY. The monumental task took nearly a decade to complete, and when finished the commercial success of the canals exceeded all expectations. During the tour, project co-director and LCMM historian Art Cohn will be “Searching for History.” With support from communities along the canal, Cohn will comb area archives to uncover documents that reflect the amazing story of this massive civil engineering project that shaped the new nation.
During the Legacy Tour the schooner crew will share with community members and students a maritime perspective on the relationship between waterways and trees, canal boats and forests through an initiative called Stem to Stern. “The forests and the waterways are a key to understanding how America transformed into a powerful and prosperous nation,” says Erick Tichonuk, LCMM Co-Executive Director. “Using human and animal power, the canal builders cleared a pathway 60 feet wide and more than 400 miles long, much of it through forested lands, to create the water highway that brought an economic boom. Almost overnight, natural resources too bulky to ship overland became valuable commodities.”
“When LCMM built the schooner Lois McClure we used more than 20,000 board feet of sustainably harvested white oak and pine from the Champlain Valley and New York’s Catskill Mountains,” Tichonuk recalls. “During the canal era, thousands of wooden canal boats were built, and then used to move still more lumber to further markets.” The canals opened a floodgate of trade between the Champlain Valley, ports along the Hudson River and the Atlantic Seaboard, and through western New York to the Great Lakes.
However, the transformation also brought some unintended consequences. Stem to Stern is designed to spark insight into the impact of deforestation: eroded soil, silted waterways, loss of habitat for fish and wildlife, and the arrival of invasive species. Marking the transition to an era of sustainable forestry and environmental stewardship, the schooner will transport a cargo of white oak and white pine seedlings provided by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Trees for Tributaries Program, to be planted in communities along the canal.
Further information and the itinerary of the 2017 Legacy Tour can be found at www.lcmm.org. Travel conditions for this traditional wooden vessel are weather dependent, so the schedule is subject to change. Specific locations and hours of public boarding will be announced.
My name is Matt Harrison, and I am one of three new AmeriCorps member serving at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum this year. I’ve been on the move since my graduation from Carleton College, developing new skills and learning a lot about the world. I studied history in school, but have since been in and out of the environmental education field and the National Park Service. I enjoy the intersections of science and the humanities, finding many of them in outdoor education.
I have worked with a variety of educational programs over the last few year, learning practical teaching skills and finding that I enjoy working with kids. My teaching has taken me from urban spaces in Boston to classes on Wyoming mountaintops and oceanographic fieldwork at sea. Gathering, creating, and sharing knowledge seems to be what I’m about.
I made my first tall ship voyage in 2012 and it catapulted me into the maritime world. Having grown up surrounded by small lake boats in Minnesota, I was enchanted by life aboard a large oceangoing vessel. Since then I have sought opportunities to sail and mess around on the water. I love my time on the oceans, but the country’s great inland waters are particularly dear to my heart.
I was delighted to find so many of my interests encompassed in the mission of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. I was even more excited when I found out I would be coming to Vermont to participate! So far, I’ve been helping support education programs at the museum and helping to develop exciting new exhibits and curriculum. As the seasons change, I hope to get back outside with students and foster appreciation for beautiful Vermont and its history. In my first few months, I’ve already extended my experience in new and unexpected ways and am grateful to be here.
I’ve pulled many trout out of many bodies of water, but never Lake Champlain. But in my experience, fishes are alike all over and all you need is a little know-how and a dichotomous key.
I’m a detective, so I’m not green when it comes to slimeballs. But I’m a fish detective, so I know some scaleballs, too. This year it is my distinct honor to be a part of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s One and Only Fish Camp!
It’s going to be a heck of a week! Together, we will explore every trick in the book for fish-catching, from seine nets to rods and reels. We’ll get inside the heads of fish, think how they think, swim how they swim, and peek into their homes with state-of-the-art camera equipment. We’ll learn what exactly makes a fish- from the adipose fin to the lateral line.
Yes, my friend, there is a lot to do out here on the lake, and there’s always more to learn about the lake’s slippery inhabitants. I hope to teach and learn with you at The One and Only Fish Camp!
Rainbow Trout Roz is proud to be a fish camp counselor from June 26th-June 30th
A new Underwater Historic Preserve in Lake Champlain will open for divers this summer, thanks to a 2017 Corridor of Commerce Grant from the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership. “We are excited that the 1880 tugboat U. S. La Vallee will become a new preserve,” says Chris Sabick, Archaeological Director at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) and Maritime Research Institute (MRI). “We will use the grant funds to establish the infrastructure that makes it possible for divers to safely visit the wreck site. Providing public interpretation of the wreck is also an important part of the project.” The U. S. La Vallee is an example of the small, steam-powered commercial tugs that operated along the east coast and inland waterways of the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
“The importance of this wreck cannot be overemphasized,” explains Art Cohn, LCMM Director Emeritus. “Lake Champlain’s hardworking commercial vessels rarely received public notice while performing their important but unglamorous duties. U.S. La Vallee is also one of very few steamboat wrecks in Lake Champlain that still have an engine and other machinery on board.” The tug’s overall excellent condition presents a unique opportunity for archaeologists to study small late-nineteenth-century steamboat construction, design and technology. This makes the vessel an exciting addition to the lake’s collection of Underwater Historic Preserves.
The wreck of U. S. La Vallee was located in deep water in Shelburne Bay in July, 1996, during Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Sonar Survey of the lake. The vessel was sitting intact and upright on the bottom in excellent condition, except for the wheelhouse, whose curved windows appear to have been blown outward. Trapped air may have torn apart the vessel’s wheelhouse in a violent explosion during the vessel’s sinking.
Research, primarily conducted by historian A. Peter Barranco, Jr., revealed that the small wooden tugboat called Henry Lloyd, later renamed U.S. La Vallee, was launched in 1880 at Brooklyn, New York. In that era, hundreds of coal-fired screw steamers served as towing and service craft for coastal and inland shipping. After just three years of service in Brooklyn and in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the tug was sold to a firm in Georgetown, South Carolina, where she remained for 37 years. During this time, the vessel was rebuilt and enlarged from 40.5 ft. to 56.1 ft. in length. In 1920, her license was surrendered at New York City as “dismantled, unfit for use.”
This was not the final chapter for Henry Lloyd, however: in 1923 the tug was listed in Albany, NY as “abandoned; district, hail and property changed, re-documented,” when she was acquired by John E. Matton, who operated a shipyard and fleet of tugboats based on the Hudson River at Cohoes, New York. An earlier Matton shipyard in Waterford had primarily built canal boats; the new Matton yard served the NY Barge Canal system. Most of the tugs used on the New York canals were old vessels from the New York Harbor area that were cut down for canal use. Henry Lloyd’s original tall stack may have been cut down at this time. Matton also renamed the tug: Henry Lloyd became U.S. La Vallee, and remained in Matton’s service for six years.
In 1929, Burlington, VT contractor James E. Cashman purchased U.S. La Vallee from Matton. This time the tug truly was worn out, and much effort was spent to keep the vessel afloat. A 1929 photograph of Shelburne Shipyard shows the tug on the marine railway. Captain Merritt Carpenter recalled that about that time, the men who operated her began to use the nickname “Useless Valley.” Finally, in 1931, Cashman abandoned efforts to stop the tug’s leaks, and had the tug towed out into deep water in Shelburne Bay and scuttled. U.S. La Vallee would not be seen again for sixty-five years.
The Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve System was established to provide public access for divers to some of the Lake’s historic shipwrecks. Access to the sites in the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve is free of charge, but divers must register annually prior to using the Preserve System. The system is designed to protect these irreplaceable historic resources both from anchor damage and artifact collecting. With the cooperation of the recreational diving community these wrecks will be available for generations of divers to enjoy.
My name is Allyson Ropp. I hold a master’s degree from East Carolina University in the Program in Maritime Studies I am so excited to be at LCMM. Not only is the staff amazing and so energetic and excited about what they are doing here at the museum, but the museum itself offers a variety of resources and learning opportunities through traditional museum exhibits to more adventurous outings on to the lake through ecology and rowing programs to the depths of the lake with ROV tours of some of the shipwrecks.
My degree, and background, is underwater and maritime archaeology. The maritime archaeology field is just so amazing with the number of wreck sites of ships, submarines, planes, and lost cities that scatter the oceans, lakes, and rivers across the globe. Unfortunately, not everyone can see and experience these sites. That’s where I come in! I am interested in making maritime archaeology public, so that everyone can see and experience these sites and the intricacies of finding, documenting, and conserving them. These sites are the heritage of all and relate different periods of human exploration and travel.
While at LCMM, I am a part of the archaeology research team. I am here to make their research public in innovative ways to share the history of the shipwrecks and site in Lake Champlain with you—the people of Vermont, New York, and the wider world. Another part of this position is finding ways to teach people, youth and adults, the ins and outs of archaeology, more specifically underwater archaeology. These include dive trainings, field schools, afterschool programs throughout the area, LCMM on-campus school groups, and any other means to getting our information and research out to you! I get to work closely with the FUSION Afterschool Program in Vergennes and the numerous school groups that come through the Museum including 1776: The American Revolution in the Champlain Valley and Paddling Ecology field trips.
I am most excited about helping and expanding the summer opportunities the museum offers through its numerous Lake Adventure Camps and fieldwork opportunities. This summer we will be hosting a field school on a Lake Champlain shipwreck and hopefully other diving and training opportunities for youth and adults alike. We hope to not only spark an interest by the community to preserve and protect these sites, but also to create a dive community interested in helping LCMM document and protect these sites so that future generations may learn about the exciting and dynamic historical role the lake played in American history!
LCMM is very grateful to have Allyson serving with us this year. She has added new knowledge and great energy to our team. We congratulate her on completing her MA this winter!” ~ Erick Tichonuk, Co-Executive Director and AmeriCorps SIte Supervisor.
In mid-December Aaron Moore greeted us, brought us into the lab, and gave us each a seat in front of a wide, flat pan with dead insect larvae covering the bottom. Not your normal field trip. Everyone was very curious.
Aaron is a field scientist at Vermont Department of Environmental who does biological assessments of rivers. He explained to three of our Watershed Science Apprentices and one AmeriCorps member that benthic macroinvertebrates – organisms that frequent the bottom of water bodies – indicate the water quality and general health of aquatic habitats. We were there as
volunteers to help sort the bugs into different types (or “taxa”), so that the experts could spend less time on sorting them and more time identifying them to genus and sometimes species. The pans in front of us were full of insect larvae from water samples taken in Addison County streams including Lewis Creek and the New Haven River.
Olivia B., one of our apprentices, said later, “That was a cool experience. I never realized people could actually do something like that as a job. I found it surprisingly relaxing. I had the Lewis Creek and there were a lot of bugs! There were a ton of stoneflies and a huge Dobsonfly larvae. This is definitely something you should do with future groups. Personally I would 10/10 do it again, and I bet others would be just as interested.”
This was just one of the many real-world experiences that our Watershed Science Apprentices are having. The Watershed Science Apprenticeship for Young Women (WSA), funded largely by the Vermont Women’s Fund, is one program in LCMM’s array of Skill-Builds that engage students from area schools in water- and maritime-related activities. These activities are designed to stimulate and fulfill students’ interests in personalized learning, independent study, and marketable skills.
The WSA is open to girls in grades 7-12 at Mt Abe, Middlebury, Vergennes, and Champlain Valley middle/high schools. It is a water quality assessment training course that spends a lot of time with professionals in the water quality field, and helps participating girls to take on aquatic field studies of their own choosing, and ideally get school credit for their projects.
Apprentices come for different reasons. They can supplement their science or math credits, participate in service work or gain experience in professional-level scientific endeavors involving wetlands, streams, and lakes.
In January the Watershed Science Apprentices met with the nautical archaeologists at LCMM. Allyson Ropp and Jenny Craig explained their career paths to becoming professional archaeologists. WSA girls got to try on SCUBA equipment! Allyson earned an MA from East Carolina University in Nautical Archaeology in December, after presenting her research on pirate shipwrecks. Jenny is earning a PhD from McGill University and has studied shipwrecks around the world. Her doctorate focuses on the analysis of beads found on shipwrecks as a means of tracking the history of commerce in Southeast Asia.
Coming in March and April, the Watershed Apprentices will visit Jenna Calvi, the Stormwater Program Manager for the City of Burlington, Paula Jackson, Water Operator for the City of Burlington’s Water Treatment Plant, and Lindsay Dreiss, Middlebury College professor of geographic information systems (GIS).
Enrollment in the WSA is ongoing.
For more information, contact Elizabeth Lee, firstname.lastname@example.org