New York state’s oldest operating tug to sail on Erie Canal tour

The following is the text of a press release issued by the New York State Canal Corp.:
(ALBANY, N.Y.) — The New York State Canal Corporation is pleased to announce the Tug Urger Educational Program schedule is now available for the 2010 school year.
The Tug Urger Educational Program is a free program supported by the New York State Canal Corporation and designed to enhance and reinforce the New York State school curriculum.
Governor David A. Paterson said, “The Erie Canal, part of the New York State Canal System, played a pivotal role in the history of New York State and the Tug Urger educational program helps to tell that important story to thousands of schoolchildren across the State. At no cost to local schools, the Tug Urger program enhances the curriculum of fourth graders and benefits the many children who step onboard.â€
Canal Corporation Director Carmella R. Mantello said, “The Canal Corporation is proud to once again offer this informative educational program for New York’s schoolchildren as a way to promote the unique and unparalleled history of the Canals and their impact on the development of our State and nation. Over the past eighteen years, the Tug Urger has made presentations to more than 100,000 school children, and we encourage educators from throughout the State to take advantage of this free program to provide students with a hands-on look at life on the Canal.â€
The Urger, the Corporation’s flagship vessel, was christened the Henry J. Dornbos in Michigan on June 13, 1901. The Tug Urger, property of the New York State Canal Corporation, is the oldest operating Tug Boat in New York State and has served as the official ambassador for the New York State Canal System since 1992.
In September 2001, the Urger was placed on the State and National Registers of Historic Places.
The Urger now serves as the focal point of a program to educate school children about the importance of New York’s historic Canal System and the role that inland waterways have played historically, and continue to play, in the lives of people who live along them.
In the spring and fall, the Urger visits communities along the Canal System where students in fourth-grade classes at local schools take field trips to the Tug and participate in “hands-on†educational sessions. There they learn about the history of the Canals and the role construction of the Erie Canal played in making New York the “Empire Stateâ€.
The Tug Urger program has three stations. The first station includes a tour of the historic Urger and a short presentation about the history of the vessel, the history of the Canal, boat terminology and what life was like along the Canal System during its heyday as a commercial waterway. The Urger remains at the dock throughout the tour and presentation.
The second station takes place landside and provides students with information about how a lock works and its mechanisms. A working model of a lock is utilized for this discussion, and when possible, the students will be able to view a real lock on the system.
The third station also takes place on land and will educate students about the causes of storm water pollution and the things they can do to help. During this demonstration, students discuss and observe how what we drop and spill on the ground can enter the waterway.
For the complete Tug Urger schedule, please visit the Canal Corporation’s website at the following link: .
The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority (Authority). Since 1992, following State legislation transferring the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Authority, Canal operating and maintenance activities have been supported by Thruway toll revenue.
By Professional Mariner Staff