The Booth Ferris Foundation of New York City recently awarded Hobart and William Smith Colleges a $150,000 grant for four capital projects for research at the Finger Lakes Institute.
These funds will help complete a basement lab facility at the Institute’s South Main Street headquarters, construct a trail to the Seneca lakeshore and a dock behind the Institute building, build a storage facility to house the Colleges’ ancillary research vessel, the J.B. Snow, and buy an air/water monitoring buoy to be used in Seneca Lake.
The laboratory project will include installation of lab cabinets and workspace, storage for research equipment and materials, sinks, safety shower, and fume hoods. The space will be used for ongoing scientific water quality research and analysis, as well as for the Institute’s education and outreach activities with HWS students, local elementary and secondary school students, and the public.
When completed, the trail and dock will allow better access to the lake and enable Institute personnel to conduct lakeside monitoring and sampling programs for scientific research as well as educational outreach activities. Lake access is especially important to the expansion of the “Science on Seneca” high school education program; and the improved access will improve the transition from field to lab with expanded analysis on water samples.
The project also includes building an on-campus storage facility for the J.B. Snow, a 25-foot pontoon boat for research on the Finger Lakes. The craft was acquired in 2004 with funding from the J.B. Snow Foundation and the federal Department of Education, through Rep. James Walsh.
An air and water monitoring buoy, the first such piece of scientific equipment for the Institute, will deployed in Seneca Lake to monitor assess lake and air interactions by an automatic data acquisitions system that collects water column profiles and meteorological conditions at the buoyed site in the lake.
Scientific excursions on the lakes take a snapshot of the lake’s conditions on that day. Yet, lakes vary from day-to-day, season-to-season, and year-to-year as atmospheric forces shift, and these changes drive the physical, biological, chemical and geological interactions in the water. The buoy will be programmed to collect water column profiles that include temperature, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen, turbidity and chlorophyll concentrations, as well as air temperature, pressure, relative humidity, solar radiation, and wind speed and direction.
The buoy will provide data for lake evaluation by the Institute’s research staff and, as an educational teaching tool, will significantly enhance students’ research experiences. Data will be sent to a central computer, archived, and made available to the public on a near real-time basis through the Institute’s Web site.
Construction of the lab, storage facility, dock and lake access are scheduled to begin in the spring.