STEM Events Across the Northeast

This year US Sailing has been lucky enough to partner with 11th Hour Racing to create the Reach Hub and Sub Hub Program. Community Boating Center in Providence, Rhode Island became Reach’s first “Hub” after their resounding success implementing Reach in their programs over the past few years. The Hub’s role is to act as a mentor to nearby programs, providing onging support and resources to other programs in their region. US Sailing identified four sub hubs, key sailing organizations with 2-3 years experience implementing Reach that would like to grow in a sustainable way, in the northeast region including The Waterfront Center in Oyster Bay, New York; Community Sailing Center in Burlington, Vermont; Community Boating, Inc. in Boston, Massachusetts; and New England Science and Sailing in Stonington, Connecticut. Downtown Sailing Center in Baltimore, Maryland became the first Emerging Hub, an anchor program in a new region with experience in long term partnering and STEM Education, with the hopes that they will become a Hub for the Mid-Atlantic Region. As part of the Hub design, each Community Sailing Center was encouraged to host a STEM based event impacting 100 youth in their area. All of the centers had extremely successful events, implementing Reach in very different ways.

On July 16 the Community Boating Center, (CBC) hosted their annual Renaissance Regatta Fundraiser where kids who went through their program sailed in a regatta in the Seekonk River. Simultaneously they had several Reach stations set up and their Instructors invited guests to explore water samples with common marine plankton under microscopes, incorporating Reach’s newest module, Microscopic Mysteries, created by CBC. Participants could also participate in the Marine Debris Decomposition Activity estimating how many years it takes for certain pieces of debris to decompose. When the students completed their activities they received t-shirts and reusable water bottles as prizes, which they could fill up with the Zip 2 Water Mobile Filtration center right next to the stations, reinforcing CBC’s sustainability messaging. Senator Whitehouse and Congressman Cicilline from Rhode Island, were among the special guests invited to participate in the Reach activities and celebrate CBC’s commitment to community outreach, STEM education, and sailing.


Community Boating, Inc. in Boston held their Green Festival on August 5th and 6th and incorporated it into their junior programs. They partnered with Save the Harbor Save the Bay who brought in microscopes with organisms that had been picked off of the side of the docks. The kids identified the different type of microorganisms collected and discussed how they supported the surrounding ecosystem. By identifying the various types of species, the kids realized that the algae and organisms growing off the docks did positively influenced other aquatic life. CBI also partnered with Whole Foods, who generously donated reusable shopping bags for the kids who brought reusable water bottles that day. They discussed the long term effects of using reusable water bottles and grocery bags and how it drastically decreases trash levels. Combining modules 5 and 6, the kids explored the Charles River discussing the effect of water quality and marine debris.

CBI Picture
Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center hosted the first Water Works Fair on Sunday, August 9th with ten of their community partners in cooperation with the Maritime Festival to celebrate and learn about Lake Champlain. The Water Works Fair offered opportunities to explore the ecology and experiences of Lake Champlain, Vermont’s greatest natural resource, with hands-on educational activities and fun for all ages. Activities included anything from casting reels to catch plastic fish to pairing the water run off problem with the water run off solution. Community Sailing Center awarded reusable water bottles and t-shirts to youth as prizes when they successfully made their own water filters with zero debris passing through. Experiential education provides the critical link to our lake and develops future stewards for its health and future generations. CSC community partners included: Lake Champlain Basin Program, Lake Champlain Sea Grant – UVM Watershed Alliance, Lake Champlain Committee, Friends of Northern Lake Champlain, Winooski Valley Parks District, ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District, Vermont Natural Resources Council, Vermont Afterschool and Let’s Go Fishing with Lake Champlain International. At the Lake Champlain Community Sailing center tent kids made their own water filters and learned the importance of clean healthy water.

The Waterfront Center hosted Bay Day on June 7th consisting of an entire day of Bay related activities and stations to learn about the Bay. They partnered with the following organizations: 015 Bay Day Partners, Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery, DEC- I Fish NY, Friends of the Bay, Frozen Ropes Syosset, Funni Business, Hint Water, M.A.T.S.S Kids’ Gym, Mill Neck Family of Organizations, North Atlantic Canoe and Kayak (NACK), North Shore Land Alliance, Not Just Art, Oyster Bay Family Karate & ilovekickboxing, Oyster Bay Historical Society, Oyster Bay Orthodontics, Railroad Museum, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, Sagamore Rowing Association, Solar City, State Farm, The Madd Potter, TR Sanctuary, USCGAUX Flotilla 22-05 Oyster Bay, Volunteers for Wildlife, Cold Spring Harbor Whaling Museum, and Youth and Family Counseling.

New England Science and Sailing hosted their AweSTEM event on August 24th and had three stations which the kids rotated through during the afternoon. The first station put the kids on kayaks where they discussed the simple machines on a kayak and collected data such as water temperature and salinity. In the second station the kids successfully identified the six different types of simple machines on an Opti and then went sailing on them. In the third station the kids went to NESS’s touch tanks and talked about how salinity and water temperature influences the local ecosystem and identified various types of plankton under microscopes this activity also incorporated Reach’s newest module on Microscopic Mysteries.

These events touched a broad base of kids across the northeast area and allowed them to see Science, Technology, Engineering and Math implemented in sailing.

Photos by: Windy Key