Hitting the river, page four: Norwich University emagazine

Standing over a chemistry kit a few yards from the river, Ryan Toft and Chris Horveilleur swirl beakers and Erlenmeyer flasks, watching the Connecticut’s waters turn different colors as they test for alkalinity and measure phosphate levels. With the sun starting to peek through the clouds, Toft dons Oakley shades while Horveilleur examines laminated sheets of data. The hours are long in the field, they say—days begin at 6 a.m. and end around 10 p.m.—but feel shorter than the course’s
classroom portion.

They are entirely focused on one
thing until they
go to bed.
Then we hit
the river and
apply everything.

~ David Westerman

Every year, ID (for “interdisciplinary”) 110 begins with five days of indoor instruction, which is part dress-rehearsal for the live show on the Connecticut and part bombardment with everything ecology and geology: photosynthesis, fluvial processes, site surveying. The only real break from the crash-course is a clinic on the Winooski River on not crashing canoes. “They are entirely focused on one thing until they go to bed—hopefully,” Westerman says. “Then we hit the river and apply everything.”continue

Connecticut River water curls around a paddle blade as it's pulled through the water.

Forward stroke.