To celebrate 20 years of AWRI's presence in Grand Haven, hands-on water quality sampling cruises on the D.J. Angus were offered to the greater Tri-Cities community. The D.J. Angus is one of two research and education vessels of the Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI) of Grand Valley State University. The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation, through its Youth Advisory Council and the Robert B. and Muriel R. Mersereau Fund, provided funding for the trips.
Over 63,000 people have experienced water quality sampling on the Angus since 1986. Area school groups have been using the Angus for many years, but this was an opportunity for adults to experience hands-on science as they explore local waters. Highlights of the trip included using water quality testing equipment, looking at the microscopic organisms in the water, and finding out what is on the bottom of a lake.
The cruises lasted approximately 1.5 hours and they left from downtown Grand Haven traveling into Spring Lake, where passengers were involved in sampling and testing the water. Key water-resource related issues facing west Michigan and the Great Lakes were emphasized by the onboard science instructors.
Reactions from the participants were that it was a great experience and they learned a lot. Most were not aware that GVSU had a vessel of this kind in Grand Haven. The instructors and crew of the Angus all agreed that these types of cruises would be valuable to repeat in the future.