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Corwith Cramer: Marine Research, Maritime Adventure, and an Ocean of Possibilities

By Susannah Black
May 28, 2015

One of BOP’s strengths is its ability to show a connection between the very local environment and issues in the broader maritime and marine science world.  Working on BOP also trains students in the kinds of skills– water quality monitoring and data collection; good research practices that focus on seeking answers to specific environmental challenges– that will serve them well in maritime, environmental, and scientific environments beyond New York Harbor.

The aquaculture juniors got a chance to experience the connections between their every-day BOP research & restoration and another set of maritime-focused research projects in a visit to SSV Corwith Cramer, in port last week.  Corwith Cramer offers semesters at sea for college students, with credit given through Boston University; student research projects tend to focus on issues of maritime pollution and restoration.  Harbor School junior Ariel Ron reports:

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Aboard SSV Corwith Cramer

by Ariel Ron

We had some visitors across Buttermilk Channel on Thursday.

Aquaculture juniors took Indy 7 across to Brooklyn Bridge Park to see the SSV Corwith Cramer of the Sea Education Association—science research at sea in action!

Getting onto the ship was an adventure in itself. I gripped the railing as tight as possible as wakes hit the bow of the ship and rocked the boat. I ran onto the deck as my peers followed. The group listened as one of the crew members offered us some very interesting information about the equipment they use to retrieve data for water quality.

Afterward, we gently stepped down the ladder to the galley of the ship. Some of my fellow students lingered in the doorway of the kitchen and admired the crew members as they prepared the meals for later. Typical of high school students to be hungry all the time, some even ordered food in hopes they’d get to eat again, even though they had just 2 hours before.

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We proceeded up another ladder and entered the lab. Various ornaments were along the walls and jars collected along the shelves. A disco ball hung from the ceiling and one of the scientists sat on the table. In front of her were various jars of preserved organisms. Each one of us chose jars to observe, some of us were very meticulous in our observations since these were deep sea creatures–who knows if we’ll ever see them again?

The woman in the lab explained to us how much plastic they collect at sea, and I could see the disheartened glances among my classmates, but the research the sailing ship collects will offer more insight in the effects that plastic has on the environment. Some of us asked questions about where she went to college, and were surprised when she said SUNY Stonybrook. Maybe some of us will attend there, and then maybe spend a SEA Semester on the Corwith Cramer.

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