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Bill Foster

Program Director

Email: floatingclassroom@gmail.com

Phone: 607-216-2238

Advisory Board

We are looking for new board members. Find out more about joining our board.


Board Members

  • Jeremy Dietrich (Ichthyology Associates)
  • Lynn Leopold (Intermunicipal Organization Liaison)
  • Thomas Vawter (Wells College, Emeritus)
  • Paul Flagg (ship captain)

Our Crew

Bill Foster, Program Director


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

Lee Yoke Lee, Asst. Program Manager

Lee began volunteering with the Floating Classroom in October 2016 and came on board as staff member in June 2017. She has a background in adolescent reproductive health, HIV/AIDS awareness outreach, and community-based and collaborative management of marine resources in Southeast Asia. She is currently pursuing a certification in Environmental Education with the North Carolina DEC.

Ben Jackson, Instructor

Ben began an internship with the Floating Classroom in 2015, and joined our instructional crew in 2016. He is currently a student at Ithaca College.

Lizzy Freilich, Senior Intern

Lizzy contributed to every part of our program and happiness during 2016, and we hope she sticks around for a while. She is pursuing a BS in Biology at Ithaca College, class of 2018.

Alexandra Moravek, Intern

Lexi is a new intern in 2017 and she enjoys working on the boat in the sunshine doing lake profiling and working with passengers. This new experience has opened her eyes to environmental science as well as her interest in invasive species.

Chloe Faehndrich, High School Intern

Chloe is a student at Ithaca High School who has been interning with the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom. She has thoroughly enjoyed learning more about the lake as well as educating the public about it. She plans to go to college for marine science and she thinks this internship has helped her prepare for that.

Claire Vallely, High School Intern

Claire is an upcoming sophmore at Charles O. Dickerson High School. She enjoys soccer, basketball, and softball, as well as math and science. She is also on the school robotics team, which is partially why she was interested in the Floating Classroom.

Our Alumni

Sophia D'Addario, Instructor

Sophia served our crew from 2013-2015 with a strong background in field work and marine biology. She holds an BS in Environmental Studies. A self-described outdoor adventure enthusiast, Sophia is PADI SCUBA certified, and has participated in research projects ranging from the Andes to the Amazon and north to the Gulf of Maine.

Alex Clark, Intern 2011-2012

Jordan Stark, Intern 2009-2011

Paul Flagg, Captain

Captain Paul Flagg 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.

Mariah Mahaney, Lead Instructor

Mariah joined us in 2016, with a BS in Environmental Science from Iowa State University, and a passion for education and whitewater kayaking. As lead instructor, she is also our intern program manager! 

Phil Koons, Volunteer Coordinator

Chase Lurgio, Intern  

Chase has been enjoying the summer with Floating Classroom and spending time with her new found love- plankton. When she's not rocking the blue shirt Chase can be found hanging around the lake or eating her way through Ithaca. She recently graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Environmental Studies.

Franny Lux, High School Intern

This is Franny's third summer as a Floating Classroom intern. She has also been involved with the Trout in Classroom program during the school year. She is in 10th grade at LACS and hopes to pursue environmental studies or biology in the future.

David Froehlich, High School Intern

David is a new high school intern in 2017. He is starting 10th grade at Lehman Alternative Community School (LACS). He has an interest in science and working with kids. He enjoys drawing and painting, and loves going out on the lake.

Lamar Johnson, High School Intern

Lamar is a sophomore at Trumansburg High School. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing and riding dirt bikes.

David Openshaw, Captain

Master Captain David Openshaw piloted the MV Haendel from 2006-2015. He brought extensive knowledge of Cayuga Lake and marine navigation, along with a background in physical sciences. Dave also volunteers as a paramedic and the assistant chief of a local fire department.

Sarah Heath, Intern 2011-2012

Ryan Besemer

Breanna Forrest

Leann Greene

Woody McKenzie, Captain

Captain Woody McKenzie joined us in 2016, and holds a US Coast Guard 100 Ton Licensed Master's license.

Caroline Hoover, Instructor 

Caroline joined the Floating Classroom in 2006, after a career in public education, specializing in science education. She is enjoying her present incarnation as outdoor educator, eye-opener, musical and yoga instructor.

Jill Blanchard, Senior Intern

Francesca Merrick, Intern

This is Francesca’s second summer with the Floating Classroom, her first being as a high school intern in 2012. She has also been involved with the Floating Classroom’s Trout in the Classroom program. Francesca is currently a sophomore at Columbia University pursuing a B.A in Sustainable Development and Political Science/History.

Oliver Sugarman, High School Intern

Oliver is a high school student who has been aboard the Floating Classroom for a total of two years. He hopes to continue studying some form of environmental science after he is finished with high school.

Ryan Ciccolini, High School Intern

Ryan is an up coming sophomore at Charles O. Dickerson High School and has an interest in biology, education, and music. He plays soccer and run indoor and outdoor track. He thinks the lake is a very important feature and is something that brings all of the surrounding communities together. Ryan is glad to be a part in maintaining that.

Ailin Dolson-Fazio, Intern

Katie Sweeney, 2013-2015

Lindsay Glasner, Lead Intern 2014

Anna Kucher, Intern 2011-2012

Micah Harp

Marina Howarth

Pheobe Larkin