Upcoming Conference on Lake George and Lake Champlain

We are excited about our upcoming Conference on Lake George and Lake Champlain August 11 & 12, 2012. This first conference on the “Lakes” explores the history, geography, culture, ecology, and current issues related to the Lake George and Lake Champlain region.

Fort Ticonderoga has been offering conferences and symposia dating back to 1996, when the first War College of the Seven Years’ War brought together a series of speakers and presentations on various aspects of the French & Indian War in North America. In 2012, the Conference on Lake George and Lake Champlain is one of six seminar/conference programs on the calendar.

John Quarstein, from the Virginia War Museum, will talk about the first Battle of the Ironclads. The iron ore for the Union’s “Monitor” came from the Champlain Valley.

With the “Lakes” conference, we expand beyond our 18th-century story to look at the lakes in a holistic, interdisciplinary way. Dating back to before Samuel de Champlain’s exploration of the region in 1609 and into the early 20th century, the lakes served as an essential transportation artery running north-south through the area. Even as transportation modes migrated from the lakes to rail and then highways, both lakes remain essential to the cultural and economic well-being of the region.

History presentations at the conference focus on 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century stories. Joseph Zarzynski explores “The Sunken Fleet of 1758” beneath the waters near Lake George’s southern end. John Quarstein, one of the country’s foremost experts on the ironclads of the American Civil War, tells the tale of the epic battle between the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia (better known by its former U.S. Navy name Merrimack). The iron ore for Monitor, the Union’s first ironclad, came from the Champlain Valley, including the Crown Point hamlet of Hammondville. Chip Stulen, curator of the Ticonderoga at Shelburne Museum chronicles the history and preservation of the last steamboat to ply the waters of Lake Champlain from 1906-1953.

David Franzi, from Plattsburgh State, takes us back to the last ice age to explain how the Champlain Valley we know today was formed by the retreating glaciers. Timothy Weidner, Director of the Chapman Historical Museum in Glens Falls, shares the works of noted regional photographer Seneca Ray Stoddard from the end of the 19th century and into the first decade of the 20th century. Photographer Mark Bowie provides an overview of the 20th-century photography of his grandfather Richard Dean. Chances are that if you’ve purchased a post card in the Lake George-Lake Champlain region in the past 50 years, you’ve bought a photo taken by Richard Dean.

Emily DeBolt from the Lake George Association will talk about lake-friendly landscaping.

Emily DeBolt from the Lake George Association talks about lake-friendly landscaping techniques to preserve water quality, while Meg Modley, Aquatic Invasive Species Management Coordinator for the Lake Champlain Basin Program, discusses current and imminent threats to the lakes and what steps are being taken to address this issue.

Late Saturday afternoon of the conference, attendees can take part in one of three guided tours led by Fort staff: curatorial behind the scenes tour, King’s Garden tour, or a tour about interpretive initiatives. On Sunday afternoon, attendees have the opportunity to get out on northern Lake George aboard the Lake George Association’s Floating Classroom and learn about the way the lake’s water quality is monitored. You’ll even have a chance to test the water yourself!

Registration for this conference is open. You can download a conference brochure here. The early bird registration deadline is June 30th, so don’t delay. Sign up today!

Fort Ticonderoga is offering four teacher scholarships for the conference, enabling teachers to attend the conference at not cost. The registration deadline is fast-approaching—June 15th. If you know a teacher who might be interested, please encourage them to apply. Application forms are available on our website. Since 2001, Fort Ticonderoga has offered 91 scholarships enabling teachers to attend our seminars and conferences at no cost.

At our recent Seventeenth Annual War College of the Seven Years’ War, we had four participants who had attended all 17. Here’s your chance to get in on the ground floor and start a new summer tradition—attending the Conference on Lake George and Lake Champlain.

Rich Strum
Director of Education

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