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A Chicago Stop for UMD's Water Researchers

Blue Heron at sea
June 7, 2017

The R/V Blue Heron visits Chicago's Navy Pier.

On Thursday, June 15, 2017 the Research Vessel (R/V) Blue Heron, along with a scientific team from the University of Rochester, will dock at Navy Pier, Chicago.

In the midst of their latest research mission, the crew will conduct public tours of the ship, demonstrations of the unique scientific equipment in use, and other hands-on learning opportunities – all free of charge and open to the public.

The R/V Blue Heron is an 86’ research vessel owned by the University of Minnesota and operated by the Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth, Minn. It is part of the University National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS), and is the only UNOLS vessel on the Great Lakes. The vessel houses 11 people (four crew, one marine technician, and six scientists) and can be on the water for 21 continuous days. This is the premier research vessel for fundamental scientific discovery on the Great Lakes with advanced laboratory capabilities, complex analytical equipment, and unique capabilities to collect biological, chemical, physical, and geological samples of water and sediment in the Great Lakes.

The scientific team using the Blue Heron comes from the University of Rochester and is funded by the US National Science Foundation.

The visit by the R/V Blue Heron offers an unprecedented opportunity in the history of Navy Pier to experience interactive science in cooperation with leading researchers and academic institutions.

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.

About Navy Pier
Located on Lake Michigan, Navy Pier is one of the top-attended leisure destinations in the Midwest, stretching more than six city blocks and welcoming more than 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. In 2017, Navy Pier continues to celebrate its centennial with a series of special events and programming, year-round rides on the Centennial Wheel and ongoing pier-wide redevelopment efforts as part of the Centennial Vision. Navy Pier, as a nonprofit organization, maintains and manages the 50-acre pier that is being redeveloped as a contemporary, environmentally responsible urban space. More information is available at

About the Large Lakes Observatory