Just as a group of students left from their Wednesday morning instructional session at Quiet Cove Park, Project Supervisor and Instructor Craig Asher barked out a homework assignment.
"Figure out where the brick manufacturing company is," Asher said, before returning to a tour of two historic buildings on the waterfront for a group of lawmakers and administrators.
Asher travels the country, working for Historicorps, a non-profit that focuses on restoration of historic properties and education for students who are considering careers in historic trades.
"It's an honor and a privilege to be involved in these projects," Asher said.
Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D - NY106) recruited Historicorps to provide instruction to more than 50 students from the Boards of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) and Dutchess Community College. In a press conference announcing the project, she emphasized the need to develop skilled workers more than the need to preserve the historic buildings.
"We're doing this in a way that will create a workforce that we've been needing," Barrett said.
According to its website, Historicorps has worked on 240 historical properties in 24 states since it was founded in 2009, offering tools, equipment and educational services.
At Quiet Cove, Historicorps and the students have been working to restore an old storage facility and a crew house once used by the U.S. Naval Academy crew. A neatly written note on a wooden beam commemorating a crew victory appears to have been dated April 23, 1944.
The supplemental program ends next month. Barrett hopes that this program will serve as a model that is replicated in other communities to create a constant stream of opportunities for students interested in historic preservation, construction or architecture.
Barrett invited representatives from other communities in her district -- Cleremont, Mills Mansion and Olana -- hoping they get ideas from this project.
"It could trigger their imagination," Barrett said, "to see whether this is a partnership that they'd look at tapping into."
Barrett estimates the program cost about $75,000 in grant money from the state and county.