Lake Champlain Underwater Exploration

Attendees: all ages, parent participation welcomed
Workshop Cost: ** FREE **
Mission costs, if any, determined by group
Workshop dates: 1:00 – 3:00PM Wednesdays and Fridays: June 2426, andJuly 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, 24 
Location: 225 Corlear Dr. Willsboro NY
Contact: Mark Stainken
RSVP as soon as possible, space will be limited

Do you like to build and fix things, take pictures, journal, sketch, history, or biology?  We are seeking candidates with interests in science and exploration to join the CREW (Champlain Research and Exploration in Water) where we will explore the depths of Lake Champlain with Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV’s) built during a series of summer workshops.

Lake Champlain is rich in natural and cultural resources.   Stretching 120 miles and linking the Richelieu and St Lawrence rivers to the Hudson, Champlain was the most important passage for commerce and travel during America’s colonial era into the first half century of the United States.  Control of the lake was vital to the formation of United States and she played a pivotal role in the French and Indian Wars, the Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812.  Beneath her waters lies historical record of human progress from early Native American settlements through present day.  The waters of the lake provide a drinking source for nearly 200,000 people along her shores and habitat for countless species of fish and wildlife.  Champlain supports a vibrant tourism industry for fishing, hunting, swimming, and boating.  Postindustrial settlement along the lake and surrounding valley during the 20th century however, has born challenges to the lakes delicate ecosystem which threaten the quality of the fresh water that has both preserved antiquity and served the livelihood of man and wildlife.  Our mission will be threefold: to find and document the cultural artifacts before they are lost to invasive species of mussels, to work with watershed groups to help preserve the ecology of the lake, and to learn about the science and technologies we can use to build the tools we will need to accomplish our missions.

We plan to build two ROV’s, one powered from the surface designed using basic electronic circuitry and a second powered internally using micro-computers.  Both ROV’s will be outfitted with underwater cameras.  We will break up the builds into functional groups consisting of 3-5 member teams, with team leaders chosen based on knowledge and skill level. Participants will learn about basic electronic circuits, soldering, Archimedes’ principle, propulsion, challenges involved in underwater design, acrylic welding, and an overview of microprocessors, software programming and the pros and cons between the two ROV designs.  After building the ROV’s, we will train off the docks to build piloting and tether management skills then coordinate dive missions.  During the workshop, we will also discuss the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) and the SeaPerch underwater robotics programs and competitions.  If there is interest, we can explore the possibilities of future missions and/or developing teams for MATE and SeaPerch competition.

The workshops will be held lakeside in Willsboro.  Space is limited, so interested participants should register early. Older children are encouraged to share your interests in the RSVP to help me find the right team to start you on and the direction of our initial missions.  Participants should be at least seven years or older although younger children are welcome with parent participation.  Sessions will run for 2 hours with swim time and water fun after some serious learning.