Newfound Woodworks at Cornell University as guest lecture & instructors!

Newfound Woodworks at Cornell University as guest lecture & instructors!

We would like to thank Professor Trent Preszler and Cornell University’s Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, for hosting us as guest lecture/instructors for the day in the Grand Challenges Senior Year Project!

Newfound Woodworks at Cornell University 2023
Newfound Woodworks at Cornell University-2023

It was a pleasure to meet Professor Preszler (Center) and this wonderful group of students, who were filled with enthusiasm and eager to create a functional work of art, reflecting the culture and environment where it will be donated and used.

This course introduces the business and sustainability of boats through the construction of a traditional canoe, kit from Newfound Woodworks, and execution of a community-engaged learning project. Thirty students will learn, create & execute a tree-to-sea business model, and build a wooden canoe that will be launched at a Community-Wide Paddling Festival held at Ithaca’s Cass Park on Sunday, May 7, 2023, then presented to the Haudenosaunee Canoe Journey, a program that guides canoeing trips for young people for the Onondaga Nation. They navigate waterways across the ancestral homelands of the Haudenosaunee people, a route known as “The Journey to the Central Fire”, ceremoniously in traditions that touch the lives of so many people.

It is inspiring to learn that this is a learning project of business building. An exercise of working in the world individually as well as team-based, contribute to problem solving, creativity, sourcing, engineering, fabricating, studying of economic impact, creating a business plan, and execution necessary to successfully launch their canoe within the community.

Here’s a 2-minute video the students made showcasing their canoe build!

Canoe Fest – Sunday, May 7th 2023 in Cass Park, Ithaca, NY

What a wonderful communal ceremony, where Trent Preszler and students from the Dyson School of Economics gifted the canoe the class built over the past year to the Haudenosaunee Canoe Project. The canoe will be used in support of the Haudenosaunee Canoe Project’s educational mission.

Congratulations to Haudenosaunee Canoe Journey, and the Students in the Cornell Dyson School senior capstone AEM 4940!

The inaugural festival reframes the International Finger Lakes Dragon Boat Festival to center historic and contemporary boating on Cayuga Lake. The schedule of events and programs explore some of the many ways people have boated on Cayuga Lake.

May 7th Schedule

10:00am – Words Before All Else (Maybe Thanksgiving address??): Open Canoe Fest with an introduction ceremony. Sachem Sam George will provide the Words Before All Else, a traditional Haudenosaunee welcome blessing.

10:30am (ish) – Open Paddling Session: Join Hickory Edwards, of the Haudenosaunee Canoe Journey, for an open paddling session. This session invites dragon boaters and canoers to paddle across the inlet together and spend time enjoying boating on the water.

12:00pm – Canoe Gifting: Students in the Cornell Dyson School senior capstone AEM 4940: Outdoor Recreation Economy spent the semester building a 16-foot-long cedar strip canoe, which will be donated to the Haudenosaunee Canoe Journey. Join our communal ceremony were Professor of Practice Trent Preszler and students will gift the canoe to support the Haudenosaunee’s programs that guide youth from the Onondaga Nation on a 13-day paddling expedition across the ancestral waterways of the Haudenosaunee peoples.

1:00pm – Awakening of the Dragon Ceremony: The traditional Chinese Eye Dotting ceremony, “The Awakening of The Dragons,” features local and visiting dignitaries who paint red dots on the eyes of the ceremonial dragon boat figureheads to officially “wake” them up and kick-off the Dragon Boat race and its season. The event includes a traditional colorful lion dance to bless the event, the paddlers, and the boats.

1:45pm – Dragon Boating: Gather your friends and engage some friendly dragon boat racing sponsored by the Ithaca Dragon Boat Club. No experience needed, but registration is required!

4:00pm – Closing Celebration

LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT This event will take place in the traditional and contemporary lands of the Gayogo̱hó:nǫ’ Nation (Cayuga), one of the Six Nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Learn more at