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The Learning Barge

Celebrating 10 Years of Educating


ATTENTION:  In light of COVID-19, The Elizabeth River Project is dedicated to creating a safe environment for students and parents while attending our programs. Check out our NEW  FAll 2020 Project Blue Crab program flier  for more information on how you can participate. THANK YOU!  

The Learning Barge is going virtual! Head on over to our virtual field trip page so you can enjoy Project Blue Crab from the comfort of your home. Follow along with a data book to begin your investigation!

Click here to watch our program VIDEO 

Local news videos:

Elizabeth River Project's Mudflats NEWSLETTER:



Check out our Barge on Wheels crew in action on the Hampton Roads Show!


About the Learning Barge

The Elizabeth River Project's Dominion Energy LEARNING BARGE is the world's first floating wetland classroom and America's Greenest Vessel. It's a "steward ship," teaching the children of the river environmental stewardship actions and showing how to make the Elizabeth River healthier.

In partnership with the University of Virginia and Matherne Marine Design, the Learning Barge was launched in 2009 and since has booked annually to capacity educating over 96,000, K-12 students and teachers to date. Powered by sun and wind and equipped with live wetlands, an enclosed classroom, composting toilets and a rainwater filtration system, the 120x32 foot steel deck barge is designed to both model and teach ecology, resilience and sustainability to the next generation of stewards that are helping make restoration of the Elizabeth River a reality. 

Check out the map for the barge's latest location and download 2020-2021 Field Trip Flier for the barge's docking schedule.

The best way to schedule a field trip is to download and fill out the Field Trip Request Form and email to Summer Brown, Learning Barge Manager at If you prefer, you can also call 757-418-1042.

The Learning Barge came to being thanks to the generous sponsorship of numerous organizations and individuals. Special thanks go to Dominion Energy, the lead sponsor of the vessel's construction, Lowe's, sponsor of the enclosed River Lab onboard, many special donors, and our generous maritime community that donates countless services for maintenance and tug moves. Also a special thank you to the public and private schools and youth organizations that continue to support the Learning Barge. 

For more info | 757.418.1042 |

Keep these efforts growing. Become a member today!



Downloads for Learning Barge Field Trips

2020-2021 Field Trip Flier
Field Trip Request Form
Agreement Form
Parent Letter
Green Barge
Green Lunch Tips
Chaperone Tips

More Resources at the Youth Resilience Clearinghouse



Track the Learning Barge!

The Elizabeth River Project
made possible by

The Learning Barge - America's Greenest Vessel


Meet the Crew!


Learning Barge Manager: Summer Brown

Summer Brown graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bacherlor's Degree in Biology and an emphasis on Marine Biology. With over 180 hours of volunteer work completed at the Virginia Aquarium, Summer has developed a passion for all types of marine life and how she can protect them in her day-to-day life. Going in to her 8th season on the Barge, and 6th season as manager, she can't wait to see what the Learning Barge Spring 2020 field trip season has in store!


Senior Educator: Kayla Gradwell

Kayla is a Biology graduate from Old Dominion University with a minor in Conservation Leadership. She has previous experience with the Virginia Aquarium Stranding Response Center working closely with the sea turtles. She also spent Summer 2018 as an intern for the US Fish and Wildlife Service at Lake Mattamuskeet in North Carolina. She loves sharing her knowledge and passion for environmental conservation to the public, and excited for her 5th season aboard the Learning Barge!



Deckhand Educators – 2020



Hannah Blackburn

Hannah graduated from Juniata College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental and Education studies. When she’s not on the barge, you might be able to find her at the Virginia Zoo, hiking First Landing State Park, or any number of fishing spots.