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The Learning Barge

Celebrating 10th Year Anniversary


 Learning Barge featured in The New York Times!  We're excited to lead off this feature on resilience education, with thanks to all our funding partners. Read article, Teaching Resilience in the Face of Climate Change. 

NEW 2019-2020 Program: Project Blue Crab 

ATTENTION TEACHERS: As of February 2020, only May field trips are still open for Spring 2020 booking. If you would like to book a field trip, please contact Robin Dunbar (

WE'RE HIRING! Come work aboard the Learning Barge for our Spring 2020 season. Read job description here. 

Check out our program VIDEO 

Local news videos:

Elizabeth River Project's Mudflats NEWSLETTER:

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 2019-2020 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 Robin Dunbar, Deputy Directior of Education at If you prefer, you can also call 757-392-7132.

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 | 757.392.7132 |

Keep these efforts growing. Become a member today!



Downloads for Learning Barge Field Trips

2019-2020 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. She can't wait to see
what the Learning Barge Fall 2019 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, as well as being an intern for the US Fish and Wildlife Service at Lake Mattamuskeet in North Carolina. She is very passionate and loves sharing her knowledge of environmental conservation to the public!


Deckhand Educators – Fall 2019


Sierra Pulis

Sierra graduated from Virginia Wesleyan University in December of 2015 with a bachelors degree in environmental studies. She has a passion for teaching children how to be environmental stewards, starting with her own two children. Sierra aspires to continually shift her lifestyle to reduce her carbon footprint, while learning the principles of permaculture to create a sustainable ecosystem in her own yard. 

Janet Goldbach Ehmer

Janet graduated from the University of Richmond with a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies. She is currently enjoying educating the Barge in her third season. Additionally, Janet also works at Paradise Creek Nature Park as a Youth Resilience Coordinator. She is passionate about conservation, carbon reduction and educating the youth as tomorrows world changers! She is excited to share the new curriculum, Project Blue Crab, with the public! 


Brandise LIttle

Brandise is currently pursuing her M.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis in policy online at Troy University. She also volunteers her time at the Virginia Aquarium as a water quality lab assistant and onsite education assistant. She is excited to share, learn, and connect with others about the importance of planetary well-being.


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.


Kendall Topping

Kendall recently finished her Master’s Degree for Natural Resource Management at University of Pennsylvania. Her passions include tree benefits and native plantings.
You can find her volunteering using her knowledge to ensure Hampton Road’s forests are growing strong!