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The Learning Barge

The Learning Barge - America's Greenest Vessel



Click here to schedule a barge field trip.

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 how to help restore the Elizabeth River.

In partnership with the University of Virginia and Matherne Marine Design, the Learning Barge was launched in 2009 and since has educated over 96,000, K-12 students and teachers.

Powered by sun and wind and with live wetlands, an enclosed classroom, composting toilets and a rainwater system, the 120'x32' steel deck barge is designed to model and teach ecology, resilience and sustainability.

TO SCHEDULE: Email Summer Brown Mace, 757-418-1042.


      NEW VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP                           NEW BARGE ON WHEELS ~ We'll come to YOU!

                                                                             Click for more information                                                                                 

Forms, Videos & Press

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

Mudflats Newsletter // Program Video // Channel 13 Video // Channel 48 Video  

A special thank you 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 barge.

Find our full list of Donors here

Meet the Crew!

Assistant Director of Education: Summer Mace

Summer received her Bacherlor's Degree in Biology with an emphasis on Marine Biology in 2017 from Old Dominion University. Starting as an educator on the Learning Barge, she quickly realized her passion for environmental education and the importance of providing meaningful and positive learning experiences for the next generation of river stewards. Going into her third year as Learning Barge Manager, she is ready to continue sharing her love of the Elizabeth with students of all ages aboard her favorite education vessel!


Senior Educator: Kathryn Petersen

Katie is a 2020 Old Dominion University Graduate who received her Bachelor's Degree in Biology with a concentration in Marine Biology and a minor in Environmental Health Science. She has previous experience interning at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science and working with organizations such as Keep Norfolk Beautiful. Katie is passionate about environmental education, and excited to teach young minds the importance of keeping the river healthy for generations to come!


Seasonal Educator: Amanda DeVleeschower

Amanda is an Old Dominion University graduate who received her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. Over the past few years, Amanda has traveled to Puerto Rico, Arizona, and Texas as a research assistant. Traveling was a great experience, but her passion remains in our local ecosystem. She is furthering her education by pursuing a Master’s Degree and studying local climate change impacts on Largemouth Bass populations.


Seasonal Educator: Russell Nicholson

Russell is a graduate from Haverford College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. He was previously an intern for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Skidway Institute of Oceanography, and a camp counselor at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station’s Marine Science Summer Camp. Additionally, Russell is an avid recreational angler that is intrigued by the biodiversity within the Elizabeth River. He brings energy and thoughtfulness to the Learning Barge education team as he teaches young river stewards. 


Seasonal Educator: Jessica Haddock

Jessica graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology, and a minor in Ocean and Earth Sciences. She has over four years of experience as an Environmental Educator at the Virginia Zoo. Jessica is excited to bring her knowledge, experience, and passion for conservation to students across the Elizabeth River watershed.



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