"Carmanah Technologies Shines a Light on DRBLHF Student Education Programs", Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation

Nothing intrigues a child more during an educational program than to have the opportunity to participate in hands-on activities that make the learning experience come alive. The ability to touch and investigate pertinent objects of an educational experience always proves to be a popular and effective compliment to lively historical accounts and vintage images. Given the fact that the central theme of most lighthouse education programs is about the light that shines, guides and helps save lives, the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation expanded their 2004 student programs to take advantage of the hands-on learning opportunities afforded by other lighted aids to navigation (AtoN).

A Carmanah Model 601 LED Beacon
A Carmanah Model 601 LED beacon flashing green.

During programs presented by the DRBLHF this past school year, students learned about their lighthouse heritage and the lifesaving powers of light through engaging PowerPoint presentations and aids to navigation (AtoN) equipment such as a classical glass prism buoy lens and modern 155mm, 250mm and FA/240 incandescent lanterns. The AtoN equipment enabled students to learn how prism lenses bend light to create a "pencil beam," as well as how a modern incandescent solar optic lampchanger automatically rotates a new lamp in place when another becomes extinguished.

Model 601 LED Marine Beacon
The Carmanah Model 601's light source, solar panel & batteries are in one self-contained unit.

Thanks to Carmanah Technologies of British Columbia, students will now have a new piece of cutting-edge AtoN equipment to investigate during DRBLHF lighthouse education programs in the upcoming school year. Carmanah Technologies recently donated one of their state of the art Model 601 light emitting diode (LED) beacons to the DRBLHF for the purpose of providing children the hands-on opportunity to learn about a fascinating new technology that is taking AtoN to a whole new level of ingenuity and excellence. Unlike other LED technology or incandescent solar optics, Carmanah LED beacons are totally self-contained with the light source, solar panel and batteries all integrated within the unit, as opposed to the traditional arrangement that requires solar panels and batteries to be separate, external components.

Harry Spencer Displays Carmanah Beacon
Harry Spencer displays the Carmanah Model 601 LED beacon.

Harry Spencer, a DRBLHF honorary board member and frequent participant in DRBLHF education programs, knows a thing or two about "keeping a good light" given the fact that his father, Harry, Sr. was a lightkeeper along the Delaware River & Bay from 1907 to 1943. At 84 years of age, Spencer has seen the power source for lighthouses and buoys dramatically evolve over the years from the days of kerosene and compressed gas to the 21st century self-contained Carmanah LED beacon.

"My dad would have thought the Carmanah LED was simply unbelievable," says Spencer. "He used to think the electric bulb was a miraculous thing. I remember him marveling about it back then. He could not have imagined this new light source." Spencer went on to say, "The simplicity and ingenuity of the Carmanah LED package compared to my days of growing up at Liston Range Front Light where dad had to work with a kerosene lamp, fragile mantles and flammable liquids - well, its unbelievable. To think the Carmanah LED is also environmentally safe and clean, while eliminating the need for external solar components, the risk of incandescent lamps breaking and acid spillage from batteries - well, to me, what a package!"

Harry Spencer Displays Carmanah Beacon
A Carmanah Model 701 LED beacon helps mark a wreck in Pepper Creek, Delaware.

Through the generous contribution of Carmanah Technologies, the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation is able to continue enhancing the fun and effectiveness of the learning experience for students during Delaware lighthouse educational programs. By utilizing visually stimulating images through PowerPoint, lively historical accounts from presenters and hands-on learning opportunities with lighted aids to navigation, the DRBLHF hopes to share with children the importance of America's proud lighthouse heritage in a manner they will remember the for rest of their lives.

The Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation wishes to thank Carmanah Technologies for their generous contribution to the organization's educational programs. To learn more about Carmanah Technologies, please visit them on the web at www.solarmarinelights.com.


The article and all photos were reproduced with the permission of the author, Mr. Bob Trapani, Jr. of the Delaware River & Bay Lighthouse Foundation. Visit www.delawarebaylights.com for more information.