Daniel Munsell is a senior at Wells College studying Environmental Studies with a concentration in Value and Policy. He has been a Finger Lakes Institute Steward on Cayuga Lake since May 2012.
My last two weeks stationed at Allan H. Treman Marine Park have been interesting and a great experience. As a Watercraft Steward, I interact with all sorts of recreational boaters and lake users. After almost 1 month at the park launch, I would define four types of visitors that use the launch I monitor. The first type are those that are very friendly and are willing to let me inspect their boat while they ask a lot of inquiring questions. The second are those that are very short spoken but comply and allow me to inspect their boat. The third, mostly fisherman, are those that love what we are doing on the water and want to talk all about what they caught or didn’t catch that day. The final group of individuals are those that don’t even own a watercraft but are at the lakeshore to enjoy the view and natural setting. They are either senior citizens or members of the public wanting to chat about what we are doing that day. They always find a way to slip in a story!
I have observed that many boaters have some previous knowledge of invasive species and the kind of issues they potentially create. A large amount of people have told me that they are happy that the Finger Lakes Institute has started the Watercraft Steward Program and believe that it is making great leaps in the right direction in terms of preventing invasive species spread.
Overall, I would say that 90% of the boaters that I have interacted with at the launch have been very friendly and supportive of our program and what I have been hired to do this summer. There has even been the occasional fishing/sailing trip offered! Unfortunately I have had to decline, suspecting that they are not part of our job entitlements… although, I DO LOVE TO FISH!