Finger Lakes Institute schedules four activities in a week – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Finger Lakes Institute schedules four activities in a week

Canal rowers, panel discussion, beach cleanup and teacher training planned

The Finger Lakes Institute has scheduled four programs in as many days next week, ranging from a talk on rowing 300 miles on the canal to helping clean litter from a beach at Seneca Lake State Park. High school teachers from the area will also participate in training aboard The William Scandling, the Colleges’ 65-foot research vessel.

• The first program of the week begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, when Alan Kitty and Steve Raffuel, Founders of Row4Life, will speak on “Creating Awareness through Sport, in the Finger Lakes Institute Classroom, 601 S. Main St.

Taking a break from their 300-mile rowing odyssey on the Erie Canal, they will speak about the nuts and bolts of putting together an athletics-based charity fund-raising event. Kitty and Raffuel will be rowing from Buffalo to the Hudson starting Saturday, Sept. 8, and will describe how rowing has impacted their lives, their desire to use their sport to help make the world a better place, and how their event is helping to create awareness of the environment on the Erie Canal. Details are available at Row4Life.

• The following evening, a panel to discuss competing interests in the Finger Lakes watersheds, “Whose Lake Is It Anyway? will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 13 in the Geneva Room of the Warren Hunting Smith Library.

Panelists will include Marion Balyszak, director of the Finger Lakes Institute; Edith Davey, conservation educator with the Ontario County Soil and Water Conservation District; Marion Schwartz, longtime resident on Canandaigua Lake; and Daniel Davis, acting regional director for the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation’s Finger Lakes Region.

Co-sponsored with the Geneva Historical Society, the panel is offered in conjunction with the Society’s current exhibit, “From Steamboat to State Park: Public Access in the Finger Lakes, which examines the use and development of the lakes over the past 200 years and how attitudes have changed about quality of life in the area and about the environmental impact of industry.

The panel will focus primarily on environmental issues and the impact of land and water use on the Finger Lakes, particularly how to balance residential, agricultural, and recreational use of the lakes with environmental concerns about water quality and invasive species.

Two other events will be that Saturday, Sept. 15.

• Starting at 8 a.m. in the Finger Lakes Institute Classroom, Barb Halfman, Science On Seneca Coordinator, will lead a Teacher Training Day for high school science teachers, so they can use Seneca Lake as an outdoor classroom.

The no-cost training session is required for those who wish to participate in the SOS program, which will introduce them to the range of scientific tests and equipment available to their students aboard The William Scandling research vessel, including plankton tows, sediment samples and water chemistry. Student research sessions can be arranged for a nominal fee after teachers complete this training. For details, call Halfman at (315) 781-3606 or e-mail

• From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. that day, Sarah Meyer, the FLI’s Community Outreach Coordinator, will organize the Seneca Lake State Park Beach Cleanup. The group will gather at the park’s Pavilion 3, where registered participants will receive their trash bags and data sheets to record the specific types and quantities of lake debris found.

The collection is in observance of the International Coastal Cleanup and data collected will be used to better identify sources of pollution and help find solutions for preventing it. Those planning to attend should take a bag lunch, closed-toed shoes (no sandals or flip-flops), and work gloves.

The rowers' talk, panel discussion and beach-cleaning effort are all free and open to the public. Registration for each is requested by calling (315) 781-4382 or e-mailing