Our free and inclusive Black Rock-Riverside Ride this coming Monday, September 9th, brings us back to Buffalo Maritime Center (90 Arthur Street, 6:30pm sharp start), a tucked-in gem that for decades has been relatively quietly doing wonderful work from schools to waterways. This year we’ll again partner with the Maritime Center both on the Monday massive as well as another Maritime Fest Bike Stampede as part of their second annual Buffalo Maritime Heritage Festival on Saturday, September 14th, at the Colonel Ward Pumping Station in Lasalle Park.

Catch up below with the Maritime Center’s director of development and operations, Lynn Williams.

What’s new with the Maritime Center since our previous visit last year?

We have the inaugural Buffalo Maritime Heritage Festival under our belt and are getting ready for year two next weekend, September 14th-15th at Colonel Ward Pumping Station.  The LongShed building at Canalside is under construction and by this time next year, we will be inside building a replica of the Seneca chief – the Erie Canal Packet Boat that Governor DeWitt Clinton used to open the Erie Canal in 1825. And we are full steam ahead with a fabulous three-year STEM education grant from the Ralph Wilson Foundation for our Hand-to-Hand Program.

What’s the center’s outlook for the new school year?

Learning, fun, skill building, confidence gaining, and hopefully a boat that floats at the end when we launch in Hoyt Lake. Building the kid by building a boat. BMC mentors learn a heck of a lot from the students, too.

What inspires you personally to do this kind of work?

BMC is inspired by our region’s history and maritime heritage and how all of that depth of experience plays out in our lives today as we create new experiences and interactions on the water. On the education side, it’s all about the students. Hesitation and fear turn to smiles, skills, and new confidence. What more can you want!

What should Slow Rollers expect at the center this coming Monday?

Expect fun, boats, and the smell of lots of wood shavings! You will learn more about what we do, how you can get involved, see amazing vintage wooden boats, and get info on next weekend’s Buffalo Maritime Heritage Festival.