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On-Water Programs & More

On-Water Ecology - in four modules:

Natural History & Geology This program gives students direct hands-on experience observing rock formations, identifying different types of rock, analyzing evidence of changes over time, and becoming familiar with common fossils. Key Activities include:

Human Impact on Lake Champlain This program explores the effects people have on the water and natural ecosystems that live in and around the shores of Lake Champlain. Key Activities include:

Interacting with Wildlife This program focuses on observing, identifying, and understanding the habitat and lifecycles of wildlife that lives in and along the shores of Lake Champlain. Key Activities include:

Invasive Species This program provides opportunities to identify, observe the impact, and contribute to the elimination of invasive species populations in the Champlain Basin waters. Key Activities include:


Maritime Machines - Field Trip

2-hour field trip program held at the Museum’s Basin Harbor site
Grades 4+ (maximum 48 students)

Maritime Machines

Explore the hundreds of machines that are used in the design, construction and operation of boats. Learn about how simple machines are used individually or in combinations to make a boat work. Use a lever to aim a cannon, pulleys to lift cargo, and a windlass to haul heavy loads. Discover why traveling by water is so efficient and the many ways sailors use machines to make their work easier. Identify components of complex systems, calculate mechanical advantage, see how forces can be redirected, and feel their amplicfication. enjoy hands-on exploration of the museum's collection of traditional and modern maritime machines. View our Maritime Machines Educator Resources.


Shipwrecks! Field Trip

LCMM Educator Rachael sends down the ROV to explore a shipwreck at the bottom of Lake Champlain
Use an ROV to explore shipwrecks in "real-time"!

You and your students take a boat ride on Basin Harbor Club's EScape, and "dive" with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) on a shipwreck at the bottom of Lake Champlain! The field trip begins with a short presentation on the history and archaeology of the lake, focused on how archaeologists discover and record the shipwrecks that are found. Students then go aboard the tour boat EScape and head out to the shipwreck, viewing it live with the ROV. The closest wreck for viewing at our Basin Harbor facility is Champlain II, a nineteenth-century steamboat that went aground in 1875. Other sites may be visited if your interests or the weather dictate otherwise. This experience may also be combined with one of our guided programs; it works extremely well with Digging, Diving, and Documenting, the Process of Nautical Archaeology (see Education: Nautical Archaeology.) We also recommend combining this program with a Self-Guided visit of our site. Discounted rates available for multiple programs. Download our free Pre- & Post-Visit Lesson Plans.

Special School Pricing
$300 per trip; includes a FREE self-guide of our site after your program. Maximum number of people in overall group, including teachers and chaperones, is 42.

Paddling Ecology—Field Trip

LCMM educator and students take samples of the lake
Educator Matt Witten and students
take samples in the lake.

Using a fleet of 10 canoes and science equipment, students study the ecological conditions of Lake Champlain. Groups receive basic boating instructions, and then travel on the open lake to conduct observations and measurements including collecting and examining plankton samples, catching fish in a net, and testing water quality of the lake. This field trip program is suitable for students grade 5 and up.

Full program (5-hours): $20/student (minimum fee $300);
Condensed program (3 hours): $17/student (minimum fee $255).
Maximum number of people in overall group is 28, including two required teachers/chaperones.


Rowing Ecology—Field Trip
Row as a team in a rugged, seaworthy 32-foot wooden Pilot Gig and explore one of the ecological and cultural treasures of Vermont—the confluence of Dead Creek and Otter Creek.* This area has for millennia been one of the most productive wildlife habitats in the Champlain Valley. Native Americans fished, hunted, farmed, and settled this site, and signs of their presence can still be seen!

Students will learn the basics of working together safely in a large pulling boat as we venture into several ecosystems including warm-water rivers, marshes, and possibly the deep, clear waters of Lake Champlain. Common sights include great blue herons, osprey, and huge jumping carp! Activities include fish netting and identification with a dichotomous key, and Secchi disk measurements for water clarity.

We have three Pilot Gigs available for use; 6 or 7 students can fit in each of these pulling boats, and there is some flexibility as to the number of accompanying adults.

*While our area of focus is the confluence of Dead Creek and Otter Creek, we also may explore the basin below the thundering Vergennes falls on Otter Creek, or Lake Champlain with its view of the towering Palisades on the New York side. Rowing Ecology is also an option in Burlington Bay.

Fees for 3- to 4-hour program:
Fee is $150 per boat, which can hold up to 8 participants, one of which must be a teacher or chaperone.


Champlain Longboats: Youth Rowing—Field Trip

Students race in the Wakefield Row
Gigs racing in the Burlington Wakefield Row.
Photo Buzz Kuhn

Students come to the museum at Basin Harbor, the Falls at Vergennes on Otter Creek, or Burlington Harbor and learn to row as a team in our magnificent 32’ rowing boats. The primary focus is on team building, while exposing students to the cultural and natural history of the rich regional marine environment. Schools and youth programs can sign up for a one-time half-day session or join us for a full season of rowing, culminating in a regional gathering and race of boats and youth programs.

This field trip program is suitable for students grades 7 and up.

$150 for each group of eight (minimum fee $150). Call for details regarding seasonal rowing.