Save Our Ship

Keep the Snow Goose afloat

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

If Dan Liden were to make a current captain’s log for the Snow Goose, the missive relating to the management and operation of the vessel would likely have something to do with the fact that the 65-foot marine science education, research and charter boat is in need of some serious repairs.

In an effort to save the 47-year-old watercraft that since 1995 has doubled as a floating classroom every fall and spring for as many as 1,500 local students, Captain Liden has started a GoFundMe campaign to keep the Snow Goose afloat. The $55,000 fundraising goal includes estimated costs to restore the hull below the water line, the re-coating of propellors and shafts to reduce biological growth, replacing anodes to protect the hull from deterioration, repairing fuel tanks due to erosion, and updating the ship’s fuel delivery system to get rid of pesky leaks.

Liden says now is the time to take action to increase the ship’s longevity and keep it running safely. Typically, revenue from summertime charters in Alaska helps pay the bills, but COVID-19 made this season a difficult one in the boating business.

“All donations contributed to Snow Goose will be directly earmarked for repair projects,” Liden says in the crowdfunding ask. “Each dollar donated will ensure the vessel’s longevity, thus continuing our education program for all students. If our goal is exceeded, funds will be used for a student interactive website linked directly to our school program. Snow Goose community and its participants appreciates any support possible to keep getting our students involved with their local marine ecosystem.”

As a former classroom teacher who now works with a collaborative collective of fellow naturalists on the water to further the science education platform of the boat he owns and helms, Liden is responsible for a whole lot—including sparking interest in ocean conservation through the Snow Goose’s “Stewardship Through Marine Science Education” program. Departing from Bellingham, the boat makes its way to Whatcom Waterway, Post Point, the mouth of Padden Creek, and the Nooksack Delta while students receive a hands-on cooperative learning experience by rotating through four activity stations designed to determine whether or not Bellingham Bay is ecologically sound. (Pre-pandemic, each student also got turn at the wheel while learning how to use the craft’s GPS.)

By discussing ecology, natural history and the environmental impact of a working waterfront while also fostering an appreciation for the marine mammals and sea birds students might encounter during these outings, the hope is that the four-hour field trips in Bellingham Bay will make a difference in how they view the place they live, and take their findings back to the classroom and their community.

The fundraiser for the Snow Goose that began Fri., Sept. 11 isn’t an official part of the City of Bellingham’s “ALL IN for Climate Action Week” events—which are happening both virtually and via self-guided outings through Sept. 27—but with the captain and crew’s focus on safeguarding local waters, it should be.

“It is our hope,” Liden says, “that through these excursions we will encourage students to observe the connection between the land and sea, and their role as stewards of the watershed.”

For more details about the “Save the Goose” fundraiser, go to http://www.gofundme.com. Climate Action Week events can be discovered at http://www.cob.org.

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