Floating Classroom Program
We have developed our research vessel, the RV Humphries, to additionally function as a Floating Classroom for estuarine education outreach. The RV Humphries, formerly a Coast Guard auxiliary patrol boat, was gifted in 2003 to the CAAE by the family of the builder, the late marine engineer and naval architect Mr. Howard L. Humphries (Forked River, NJ). The RV Humphries is 50 ft x 14 ft in size, includes a spacious cabin to accommodate indoor as well as on-deck activities, and has a maximum capacity of 20 passengers.
The CAAE operates the RV Humphries year-round in research and education outreach programs. The goal of our Floating Classroom Program is to motivate citizens to become more responsible stewards of our state’s water resources, not only by experiencing estuarine water quality research firsthand, but also by learning about the policy issues that affect estuarine health, and by understanding how each person can contribute to improving protection of our state’s public trust aquatic resources. This program offers hands-on experiences in informing young people (secondary and high school age) and their teachers about the factors that influence estuarine water quality and aquatic communities, and the various tools used to identify, characterize and manage our state’s water resources. Through on-site demonstration and education activities, the NC Floating Classroom Program is providing participants with an understanding of the key stressors threatening the Neuse Estuary, the research being conducted by the CAAE and others to characterize the extent and causes of impaired water quality, and solutions toward which each citizen can contribute in strengthening water resource protection.