Students Visit Lawson Boating Heritage Center

BEMUS POINT – The Lawson Boating Heritage Center on Lake Chautauqua opened its doors to the fourth graders of Bemus Point Elementary School recently.

Fifty-four students at Bemus Point Elementary visited the center as part of their local history education, with additional learning exercises designed to reinforce the skills that they learned this past year as part of their curriculum.

Maureen Stahley welcomed the students, introduced the other teachers and explained the program, which included lectures, discussions and a treasure hunt exercise where the students use listening skills, deductive reasoning, math and their ability to read and comprehend unfamiliar text to locate items in the museum.

Bruce Johnson, a former state fish hatchery employee and professional fishing guide, taught the children about muskellunge in Chautauqua Lake, including interesting facts about the rare species and how they are raised in the fish hatchery. He also demonstrated a model musky pound net.

Ned Ward brought the unique Chautauqua Lake steamboats of bygone days to life with a discussion of the many modes of transportation on and around the lake. The students used maps to locate and label important places around the lake.

Since boating has always been such an important activity on the lake, Bruce and Jon Stahley introduced the children to some basic boat terminology and the names of various boat parts. They went on to discuss and demonstrate the art of knot tying. The students were able to practice their newly learned skills at the knot-tying exhibit and took turns being captain of a steamboat at the model helm station. They also took part in a simulated racing boat course.

The session ended with the treasure hunt results and a question-and-answer period.