VIMS grad students raffle handmade kayak for research
A group of William & Mary graduate students is pushing technology from the past to help pay for studies for the future.
The group, at William & Mary's School of Marine Science at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, are raffling a kayak made by hand by Professor Jim Perry to raise money for VIMS research, according to a news release. The 17-foot craft is made of red cedar, white poplar and mahogany and includes artwork by Karen Aneiro of Barhamsville.
It is based on Algonquin tribes' depictions of hatching sea turtles using the moon as a guide to the sea, the release states. Ph.D. student Lori Sutter, chairwoman of the fundraising committee for the Graduate Student Association, said the kayak contains natural and modern ingredients – the cedar, poplar and mahogany as well as a coating of polyurethane to protect the wood.
It's not the first time VIMS has turned to watercraft to float funds for research. A 2011 kayak raffled helped support studies by five students that included how the size and shape of restored oyster reefs affect their production, how sea-level rise is altering the ecology of tidal marshes, the survival rate of summer flounder and how fish stocks are sampled, according to the release.
Andre Buchheister, a Ph.D. student who chairs the GSA “mini-grant” program that disburses funds from graduate-student fundraisers, said the program has provided up to $500 in research support to 19 master’s and Ph.D. researchers in the past five years, for a total of $9,128.
In the release, Linda Schaffner, associate dean of academic studies at VIMS, called programs such as the kayak raffles and mini-grants examples of student initiative in pushing research.
“The GSA officers have been very proactive in raising funds for research, while writing their mini-grant proposals and deciding which ones to fund provides practical skills that they’ll use throughout their careers in marine science,” she said in the release. “Our students go on to jobs in education, government, and the private sector.”
In the release, Perry, a wetlands ecologist, said he's been interested in boat-building since his Rhode Island childhood in the 1950s. The most recent effort, he said, took about 200 hours of work over a year.
“I really love doing it, and I also really enjoy supporting our students,” he said in the release. “They’re the future and I want to help them succeed in any way I can.”
Tickets for the kayak raffle are $10 each, with discounts for multiple purchases (5 for $40, 10 for $75, and 15 for $100). They can can be purchased by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The winner of the kayak will be chosen in a random drawing during VIMS’ annual community yard sale, 7: 30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Aug. 25 on the VIMS campus in Gloucester Point, just across the Coleman Bridge from historic Yorktown. Participants don't need to be present to win.
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