All Aboard The Learning Barge!

Virginia residents learn more about wetlands and river sustainability with “floating classroom”

Grantee: Elizabeth River Project – Portsmouth, VA

Project Title: The Learning Barge

Grant Type: ecoSolution

Description: CPF grantee, the Elizabeth River Project, launched the Learning Barge in 2009. The Learning Barge is the world’s first floating wetland classroom and America’s Greenest Vessel. Powered by sun and wind and equipped with live wetlands, an enclosed classroom, composting toilets, and a rainwater filtration system, the 120 by 32-foot Learning Barge both models and teaches ecology and sustainability to the next generation of lower Chesapeake Bay, Virginia stewards. On the Learning Barge, attendees can participate in various activities that assist in the education of the health of the Elizabeth River such as measuring oyster shells and making traditional mud art.

We barged forward with YOUR help! With Captain Planet Foundation’s support we were better equipped to hold 4 teacher workshops, educate 9,438 students and families on the Learning Barge and hold our first summer camp. The additional science tools truly enriched our program and made a difference.”-Robin Dunbar, Deputy Director of Education, The Elizabeth River Project.

Continuous impact/Community engagement: To date, more than 30,000 passengers have come aboard Learning Barge, learning about river environmental stewardship and protecting the health of the Elizabeth River. 140 schools were recognized as River Star Schools for implementing projects that had a positive impact on the Elizabeth River. Projects include water quality testing, oyster gardening, recycling, composting, litter clean-ups, wildlife and plant identification, scoop the poop campaigns, outdoor classroom activities, lecture series, wetland and habitat restoration and more. They also developed new preschool curriculum for their spring 2013 program.