Cayuga Lake Youth Engagement Fund

We're launching a permanent fund to ensure more access to Cayuga Lake for everyone, and more kids engaged and learning in 2020 and beyond!

A fundraising campaign for Discover Cayuga Lake

Dear Friends:

Discover Cayuga Lake has established the Cayuga Lake Youth Engagement Fund to commemorate the vision and generosity of our neighbors around the lake.  Their enduring support inspires our enduring commitment to equitable lake access and meaningful educational opportunities.  Their timeliness, stepping in to provide exactly what was needed at each critical moment, reminds us to listen and to be ready to respond to current needs in our community.   

This fund was established during a particularly challenging pandemic year, but we expect it to become the permanent foundation for our flagship education programs, accessible public programming, and a truly inclusive community around the lake we all love.  Please share this message with a friend, and help us meet our winter (2020 to 2021) fundraising goal.  Together, we can make the Teal, truly, "A Boat For Everyone!"

During 2020 and 2021, priorities for the Cayuga Lake Youth Engagement Fund will necessarily be COVID related.  Direct interaction and teamwork have always been cornerstones of our programming.  So, much of our approach requires re-imagining; at least for now.  During the past season, we were able to reinvent "Floating Classroom" activities so kids could learn together in safe, socially distanced, ways.  We found new ways to enjoy music and presentations on the lake amongst friends.  We also coordinated with allied non-profits to offer free eco-cruises for families struggling with decimated support networks.  

We continue to adapt as we implement our winter "Trout in the Classroom" program.  We’ve turned our attention to addressing the challenges faced by students and educators right now, as we develop new learning tools that will bring the lake, streams and waters of the Finger Lakes into the classroom, even when we cannot deliver them in person.  For the 2021-21 school year we are offering

  • virtual classes for teachers raising trout at 16 schools around the watershed,
  • live streaming video to bring classroom trout aquariums to students at home,
  • virtual field trips onto Cayuga Lake and throughout the Watershed,
  • safe, socially distanced field experiences for youth groups throughout the year. 

Looking ahead to 2021, we are striving to anticipate the continuing impacts of COVID, and we will put this Fund to work to build on the experiences of 2020, and to ensure the Teal is ready for service.  We look forward to the day when we can get all of our students back on the water, but we also know that the tools we're developing now will make those experiences even more meaningful.  

Will you join our growing network of individuals, organizations and businesses, who agree that basic education and personal experiences with the water resources upon which we all depend are not just nice ideas, but keystones to environmental stewardship, equitable communities, environmental justice and a sustainable future?  

We hope you can help us meet our winter fundraising goal so we can be ready for spring on the lake.  Share this message with a friend!  And, if a monetary donation is not possible, consider offering your time and wisdom!  We are looking to our community members (that's you!), representative of every part of our community, who can help us keep improving our services and succeed in making the Teal, truly, "A Boat For Everyone."

We'll see you on the lake!

Bill Foster, Executive Director (

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About the Organization

Discover Cayuga Lake offers environmental education experiences for youth made affordable by revenue from eco-tourism programming on Cayuga Lake and generous support from donors.

Our mission is to engage students, community members, and visitors in learning about the ecology and history of Cayuga Lake and its watershed and to inspire people to maintain these healthy environments for future generations. It is also to provide equitable access to Cayuga Lake and to foster appreciation of the importance of the Finger Lakes watersheds for local ecosystems, human use, and natural beauty.

Finger Lakes Trout in the Classroom provides a regional network of classrooms with aquariums, visiting experts and field trips to help students raise trout and release them to local streams.

The Floating Classroom offers hands on educational cruises for classrooms aboard our 63-foot vessel, MV Teal, upon which we conduct water monitoring experiments.

Our Community Access & Youth Engagement Funds make these experiences affordable for everyone. We depend upon support from community...

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