Sailing vessel Hokule’a © 2015 Polynesian Voyaging Society. Photo Credit: OIWI TV Photographer: Kaipo Ki'aha
Sailing vessel Hokule’a © 2015 Polynesian Voyaging Society. Photo Credit: OIWI TV Photographer: Kaipo Ki'aha

A Polynesian voyaging canoe in the middle of a three-year trek around the world without modern technology will stop at Hull Springs Farm in May.

The double-hulled canoe, named Hokule’a, will arrive at Hull Springs Farm, a 662-acre farm in Westmoreland County owned by Longwood University, on Wednesday, May 11 for a two-day visit.

"The story of the Hokule’a fits very nicely with the faculty and student research into environmental science, biology, and sustainability that’s thriving at the property," said Sherry Swinson, executive director of Hull Springs Farm. "During their two-day stay, crew members will be involved in discussions about these important research projects and host visitors and school groups eager to learn about the canoe’s incredible voyage. This will not only be a showcase for some of the important research we are doing at Hull Springs Farm but also an important link to a global enterprise that’s inspiring millions of people around the world."

Eschewing modern technology for traditional "navigation by the heavens," the crew of the Hokule’a began their voyage in Hawaii in 2014 to spread a message of global sustainability. When their three-year journey is complete, the vessel will have completely circumnavigated the globe, making hundreds of stops along the way.

The Hokule’a—which translates as "Star of Gladness"—was constructed in the mid-1970s. It was modeled after traditional double-hulled sailing vessels used thousands of years ago by Polynesians to push exploration beyond coastlines and has logged more than 150,000 miles since its maiden voyage. The vessel’s current mission is its most ambitious and lengthy to date.

Several Longwood faculty members and students who have research projects under way at Hull Springs Farm will be at the property when the crew arrives in May and plan to discuss ongoing projects with them. They are:

  • Dr. Mark Fink, associate professor of biology: living shorelines
  • Dr. Ken Pestka, assistant professor of physics: astronomy
  • Dr. Jim Jordan, professor of anthropology: archaeology
  • Dr. Brian Bates, professor of anthropology: climate change
  • Dr. Dina Leech, assistant professor of biology: Longwood Environmental Observatory project
  • Dr. Ryan Stouffer, assistant professor of communication studies: videography
  • Katie Register, director of Clean Virginia Waterways: marine debris
  • Dr. Pat Lust, professor of music: SOLStice walking trail
  • Dr. Charlie Kinzer, professor of music: Jazz ensemble

Those professors will be joined by Dr. Alix Fink, dean of the Cormier Honors College, and Rená Koesler, professor of therapeutic recreation.

"This visit is a fantastic opportunity to connect visitors and school groups to some of the fascinating and important work we are doing at Hull Springs Farm," said Dr. Mark Fink, chair of the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences who has led numerous research projects at the property. "Our environmental science and biology programs are growing, and there are lots of opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in this kind of research."

Hull Springs Farm, a 662-acre farm in Montross on Virginia’s Northern Neck, was bequeathed to Longwood University by Mary Farley Ames Lee ’38. The farm is bordered on the north by a tributary of the Potomac River and is a short distance from the Chesapeake Bay. With more than 8,400 feet of tidal shoreline and numerous archaeological sites, the farm offers Longwood students a unique opportunity to engage in environmental studies and anthropological research.

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