discover cayuga lake

Our staff & crew

Bill Foster, Executive Director and Director of Educational Programs

Bill grew up in Ithaca and earned a BS in Environmental Engineering, Cornell ’87. After 16 years working in water resource management with the US EPA and several not-for-profits, he is now focused on community-driven environmental education.

    Astrid Jirka, Director of Tourism initiatives and Outreach

    Astrid has diverse experience in eco-tourism, international education, conservation, entrepeneurship, and the Finger Lakes region hospitality industry. She is a graduate of Cornell University, majoring in Anthropology and Natural Resource Management and a yoga instructor too.

      Mike Willard, Master Captain

      Mike loves being on the water! He’s spent the bulk of his career working on boats – in Florida and the Finger Lakes. He’s a captain and a carpenter and the father of two young girls.

        Katie Hennessey
        Education Program Coordinator

        Katie has had a life of adventure leading biking trips for teens and kayaking tours down rocky rivers. She’s also an accomplished writer and has spent time in the Middle East working for non-profit organizations focused on peace and conflict resolution. Discovering a new home in the Finger Lakes, she’s now guiding our educational programs for local students and our Youth Crew.

          Narrators & Crew

          Every year we welcome a small handful of local residents to become crew on our boat. They are also the narrators for our eco-cruises and the educators for our Floating Classroom cruises. Full of knowledge about the local area through years of walking the gorges, searching for fossils, studying local history, identifying wildlife and specializing in certain aspects of our region’s unique geology, culture and history, they make our cruises unique and memorable.

            Youth Crew

            Our Youth Crew are local high school student who are learning about the work that we do while also lending a hand in our educational programs by teaching the kids that we work with about our local lake ecology!

            April taylor

            April has a background in wildlife rehabilitation and education and used to manage a zoo. She now assists us with many of our educational programs and eco-cruises, as well as crewing on the boat. She’s pictured here with a baby penguin she helped raise – in her house!

            Watershed Interns

            With a wealth of knowledge and interest in fields ranging from the environmental sciences and management to environmental justice and education, our watershed interns spend the summer working with us and partner organizations to gain more expertise in their future careers.

              Captain Paul Flagg

              Paul holds a US Coast Guard 100 Ton Licensed Master’s license and has extensive boating experience on Cayuga Lake. He is a member of the US Power Squadron (USPS), a boating safety and education organization, has taught every USPS Course from Basic Boating through Celestial Navigation, and is a USPS Certified Coastal Navigator.

                Captain Stephanie Gray

                From the windy waves of the Pacific Ocean to the more peaceful waters of Cayuga, Stephanie has captained and crewed on a variety of ships ranging from Oceanographic Research Vessels on the high seas to tugboats on the Hudson River. She’s been working on the water for nearly 30 years. Sign up for Captain Steph’s annual knot tying cruise this summer on board the Teal!

                Captain Alan Green

                Alan has captained on various boats in the Finger Lakes for the last 20 years. He’s also a Quartermaster for the US Coast Guard and was the Director of Development at Binghamton University Maritime College. He’s now happily retired and spending as much time as he can on boats!

                  DISCOVER CAYUGA LAKE

                  OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS

                  We are a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and are governed by a Board of Directors.
                  We are almost always looking for new board members. Please inquire if you are interested!

                  CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS

                  • Chair: Paul Flagg (Ship’s captain, Engineer, retired)
                  • Vice Chair: Lynn Leopold (Intermunicipal Organization Liaison)
                  • Secretary: Thomas Vawter (Wells College, Emeritus)
                  • Carole Erslev (Dryden Central School District, retired)
                  • Laura Falk (Owner of EFL! Experience the Finger Lakes)
                  • Steve Kress (Cornell University, retired; ornithologist)
                  • Auguste DuPlan (Cayuga Medical Center Psychologist and avid boater)
                  • Michelle Hallock (Tompkins Financial)
                  • Ronald Van Ormer (Cornell University, retired)
                  Great Experiences with Discover Cayuga Lake

                  Our Mission

                  At Discover Cayuga Lake, our mission is to cultivate informed and equitable relationships between people and the watersheds upon which they depend and we do all this while providing memorable, breathtaking family, friend, and community experiences on the beautiful Cayuga Lake.

                    We’d Love to hear from you!

                    with Us

                    For Cruises & Charters:

                    For Educational Programs:

                    HOME DOCK:

                    1000 Allan H. Treman Marina Rd.
                    Ithaca, NY 14850

                    OUR OFFICE:

                    110 N. Tioga St., Suite 303
                    Center for History & Culture
                    Ithaca, NY  14850

                    Discover Cayuga Lake 2023