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Navy Pier Hosts Research Vessel Blue Heron on August 3

CHICAGO – Navy Pier, Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination, is pleased to welcome the research vessel (R/V) Blue Heronon Saturday, August 3 for a day of interactive science opportunities in cooperation with leading researchers and academic institutions. From 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., the crew and scientific team from the University of Minnesota Duluth will conduct free, public tours of the ship and demonstrations of the unique scientific equipment in use for their latest research mission studying the impacts of quagga mussels on the Great Lakes.

Part of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) and the only UNOLS vessel on the Great Lakes, the 86’ research vessel is owned by the University of Minnesota and operated by the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth, MN. Housing eleven people (four crew, one marine technician and six scientists), the Blue Heron can be on the water for 21 continuous days and is the premier research vessel for fundamental scientific discovery on the Great Lakes.

Biologists and geochemists from the Large Lakes Observatory, funded by the National Science Foundation, are currently studying the effects of quagga mussels on the biology and chemistry of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. As quagga mussels invaded Lake Michigan in the early 2000s, they have since caused unprecedented changes to lake ecosystems, including shifts in water quality and recreational opportunities. By filtering lake water at staggering rates, these bottom-dwelling organisms remove particles from lake water and deposit them into sediments, altering the fluxes of essential nutrients. The project, which involves multiweek expeditions on the studied lakes, will quantify how mussels affect the chemistry of sediments and water, as well as the nutrient cycling in the Great Lakes.  

The R/V Blue Heron visit is part of the Pier’s ongoing commitment to offer guests free, one-of-a kind arts and cultural programming, designed to inspire, educate and connect communities and guests across the city and globe. For more information, please visit www.navypier.org.


 About Navy Pier

Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended nonprofit destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming nearly 9 million guests annually. Originally opened in 1916 as a shipping and recreation facility, this Chicago landmark showcases more than 50 acres of parks, restaurants, attractions, retail shops, sightseeing and dining cruise boats, exposition facilities and more. The Pier recently celebrated its 100th anniversary with the unveiling of the iconic Centennial Wheel, Polk Bros Park, Fifth Third Bank Family Pavilion and Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion. In 2019, Navy Pier continues to usher in its second century with ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts – including a 220-room Hilton hotel with rooftop bar Offshore (now open), a marina and more – in addition to free, year-round arts and cultural programming designed to inspire, educate and connect communities across the city and globe. Click here to donate to Navy Pier, a 501(c)(3) organization, in support of free public programs. For more information, visit www.navypier.org.

Navy Pier Mission Statement

Navy Pier is the People’s Pier, Chicago’s lakefront treasure, welcoming all and offering dynamic and eclectic experiences through partnerships and programs that inspire discovery and wonder.

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