The Environaut cruises Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie, a few blocks from campus.

The Environaut cruises Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie, a few blocks from campus.

Getting hands-on experience is a major part of the educational process – especially as a college student.

At Gannon, students in the field of environmental science, biology and other related majors have the luxury of using the Environaut, Gannon’s own research vessel.

The Environaut gives students a chance to learn how aquatic and environmental life are connected in a direct way that books wouldn’t ever be able to.

The 50-foot-long boat comes equipped with an enclosed laboratory, underwater camera, generator and more.

The vessel includes a variety of tools that students and faculty use to research different things; including zebra mussels in Lake Erie, oxygen content, temperature or even how cloudy or clear the water is.

The boat is used extensively in the summer, primarily during various engineering and other science camps that Gannon hosts. It’s also used in the fall.

During the winter, it has to be taken out of the water and is stored until the weather is again acceptable for use.

Dr. Johnson Olanrewaju, assistant professor of environmental science, has taken students out onto the Environaut many times and said it is the perfect opportunity for students in the environmental or biological field of study.

“Lake Erie is a nautical library right at our fingertips,” Olanrewaju said. “There’s no reason why we wouldn’t use it.”

Interested in the field of environmental science, environmental engineering or other related majors?  Check out this clip describing the various programs, including how the Environaut is used:

If you like reading about all things environmentally-friendly, check out Nicole Dohoda’s post on the steps Gannon is taking to “go green.”