Below is a post written by DCL’s longest running student and intern, Franny Lux, who tells her tale of involvement with Discover Cayuga Lake. We’re so proud of all that she’s accomplished, so grateful to all of her help over the years, and so interested to see what she ends up doing in the world!

“I started getting involved with DCL (Cayuga Lake Floating classroom back then!) the summer after 7th grade, getting pulled in by my mom, a science teacher whose classroom was being used for a project on the round goby. Little did I know that this was the start of eight years with DCL, a college job on a research vessel in the Gulf of Maine, and a career direction towards boats and the water. In my eight years with DCL I was a volunteer, intern, crew member, captain in training, engineer in training, and pretty much any other role you could think of. I loved the people I worked with, being on the water, teaching community members about the wonderful resource that is the lake, and learning as much as I could from our collection of talented staff and board members.

I was around for the last few years on the MV Haendel and the purchasing of and first few years on the  MV Teal. I even helped deliver the boat from NYC to Ithaca, one of my favorite parts of my time working with DCL. That trip will always hold a special place in my memory, the excitement of traveling the canal in this big new boat, my first time behind the wheel of the Teal, doing the ceremonial first secchi disk dip while tied alongside the canal, transiting locks and experiencing the historic canal that I’d learned about in school.

In the time that I worked with DCL I learned so many valuable skills and lessons that I’ve taken with me as I’ve moved on. I learned about being a confident speaker, presenter, and science communicator; about the joy of connecting people with the resources around them; and about collaboration, teamwork, and how to work as a crew. I also learned more technical skills; how to dock a 65 foot, 48 ton wooden tour boat; how to replace water and transmission pumps on a 45 year old diesel engine; how to change oil; how to work with wooden boats; and so much more. All these skills have helped me as I have worked my way through college and into a job on my university’s research vessel.

My time on the Teal influenced where I wanted to go to college (somewhere near the water of course), what I wanted to study (marine biology unsurprisingly), what I did for study abroad (sailing from Tahiti to Hawaii while studying the ocean with Sea Education Association – just as some of the college interns I looked up to as a highschooler did), and what I want to do as a career (drive and work on boats). I also watched DCL do the same for many other young people, giving them an experience they may not have otherwise had and opening their door to a career path on the water, something most people growing up in upstate New York might not think about that. 

In addition to all the ways my experience with Discover Cayuga Lake has shaped the choice and experiences I’ve had so far; it’s also provided me with a foundation to build my career. During my years working on the Teal, I was able to build up sea-time, time served aboard a vessel that can be used toward a US Coast Guard captain’s license. Using my time served on the Teal and other boats, I was able to apply for my USCG 100-ton masters captains license this fall and will hopefully be receiving my license in the mail very soon, allowing me to work as a captain, something I’ve been dreaming of since I first started spending time on the Haendel almost ten years ago! My time working with DCL did so much to make me the person I am today and it is so awesome to hear about the current generation of young people learning about themselves while aboard this boat!” 

All the best to you Franny and don’t forget to send us a postcard from time to time!