Environmental Science Field School, Part I

In the days before a Niagara voyage begins, trainees arrive at the Erie Maritime Museum from all over North America. This year’s Environmental Science Field School program brought students across the continent together with their peers—young scientists from Niagara University, Lock Haven and Gannon worked with those from the University of Toronto, Florida Atlantic University, and others.

NIAGARA trainees don wetsuits for their research in Alpena, MI. (Photo credit: Marissa Henry.)

Often, student trainees ask professional crew members what they should expect during their time aboard. One familiar answer runs something like this: “The first week, you’re tired and hungry all the time.Everything is weird and unfamiliar. By the second week, things start to make sense: you hear the name of a line and realize that you remember exactly what that line does and where to find it on the pinrail.

“Once you get to the third week, the ship’s routine becomes second nature. You know the ship and the crew, and you’re having a blast. Then, as soon as you start thinking ‘Okay, I love this, and I don’t want to leave—’ then we’re back in Erie and you’re unpacking your sea bag.”

The next few blog posts will follow the Environmental Science Field School trainees from their busy, baffling first week on board to the end of their voyage, when they stowed their hammocks for the last time (for this season, at least!) and went their separate ways. Expect plenty of pictures, many of them taken by the science trainees during their research, as well as guest posts by Niagara apprentices and professional crew

-Al

Up next: What to expect when you first arrive aboard Niagara, science at Presque Isle, and leaving Erie for Put-in-Bay, OH.

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