2008-2009 OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARDS
Michael King, John Simenson, Rual Lee, Jean Captain,
and Jason Agnich of the Research Vessel Blue Heron
Team Project: Operation of the Research Vessel Blue Heron for research
cruises on the Great Lakes, National Science Foundation funded projects
UMD is unique within the University of Minnesota system; we are the only campus with its very own research vessel. The 87-foot Blue Heron, part of Large Lakes Observatory, is a University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System vessel. These vessels are used to enable research in many disciplines: biology, chemistry, geology, physics, etc., by scientists from institutions across North America. The National Science Foundation grant for Ship Operations of the Research Vessel Blue Heron provided funds for five NSF-funded research projects, requiring 30 cruises on the Blue Heron.
Research cruises run from spring until fall, and can last 4 to 9 days at a stretch. It requires a very able crew to keep an 87’ vessel safely on the big lake, while adapting to the very different research projects that come with each cruise. But the Blue Heron crew and technicians do this well. In the vessel’s inspections and assessments, they have consistently been commended for their focus on safety. And unlike most research vessels, on the Blue Heron, the crew and technicians not only operate the ship and all of its equipment, but also most of the scientific gear. This improves the amount and quality of data the scientists are able to collect, enabling them to publish more and get more projects funded.
I’m pleased to present this award to the crew and technicians of the Blue Heron.