Martin Connaughton, Associate Professor of Biology
I grew up on the Jersey Shore, so I know salt water, the ocean, and I know waves. I never grew up around a river. There is a lot of beautiful nature along the river, ospreys and bald eagles. It’s like a Discovery Channel special, and it’s right here.
When the kids got old enough we would take them tubing, drag them around on a tube behind the boat. Everybody wanted to fish, everybody wanted to swim, and we would spend the entire day on the boat. I have fond memories – and we’re still doing it.
To be able to get on the river and fire up a small boat, and to feel it come up on trim and out into a plane, to this day still gives me goose bumps. I still whoop it up, I yee-haw when a boat gets up on a plane; there are very few things like the feeling of a boat cutting through the water like that. To be on a confined river and have it snaking around, left, then right, and then around these curves, and to see all of these beautiful homes and farms and the boundary along the edge with trees – it’s just magnificent.
I’ve had a lot of fantastic experiences. We did a lot of good research on the water, but I think most of my memories are of working with the students, their fascination with running down the river, their fascination with the biology. The croaker [are] iridescent, purply-black and just vanilla-white across the belly. The nature – there is something about it if you’ve never been fishing, the beauty of the fish.