The Learning Barge

Plan A Beautiful Day Of Learning On The Water

The Elizabeth River Project's Dominion Energy® Learning Barge is our amazing floating river laboratory and classroom. Since 2009, over 100,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade have hopped aboard to learn about everything from wetlands, wildlife restoration and sea-level rise to the iconic Chesapeake Bay blue crab. Treat your students to a day on the Learning Barge, and they’ll know how to treat the river for life.

Everything you need to know about your trip to the Learning Barge! Contact us at 757-828-4216

Interested in environmental careers? Check out our new Blue Green Career Guide!

About the Barge​

  • The only vessel in the world with a LIVE tidal wetland on board
  • Six hands-on learning stations teach SOL-linked lessons on river ecology
  • Designed by the University of Virginia School of Architecture, winning more than a dozen national awards.

Over a decade of education and stewardship!

14 Years
on the Water
K-12 visitors
1 Great
Way to Learn

Shop Exclusive Apparel

Get your hands on exclusive Learning Barge apparel now available at our new Merch Store! Show your support for education and environmental conservation with our stylish and comfortable designs.

Thanks to all the generous donors who keep the Learning Barge afloat.
Without your help, none of our learning programs would be possible.
Do Something Beautiful. Support the Learning Barge today.

Learning Has Never Been So Fun!

The Learning Barge on Wheels!​​

Our all-new Learning Barge on Wheels is the new sister ship to the Learning Barge. It delivers fun learning and river science activities right to your school parking lot, or even to a small group of kids in your neighborhood. 

Field Trips

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Summer Mace

Assistant Director of Education

Summer received her Bachelor’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 seventh year on the Learning Barge, she is ready to continue sharing her love of the Elizabeth with students of all ages aboard her favorite education vessel!


Shannon Yerabek

Learning Barge Education Manager

Shannon graduated from James Madison University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geographic Science with a concentration in Environmental Studies. She has previous environmental education experience and is passionate about sharing environmental stewardship actions with the Learning Barge students!


Hailey Lauritsen

Environmental Educator

Hailey graduated from George Mason University in 2020 with a B.A. in Environmental and Sustainability Studies with a concentration in Conservation and Sustainability. She began working in environmental education while still in college and loves that it allows her to interact with animals and kids. She is very excited to connect with the local community as an Environmental Educator on the Learning Barge. 


Abbey Marquardt

Seasonal Educator

Abbey graduated from Penn State University in May of 2023 receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology. She has volunteered with many youth programs acting as an educator and mentor for children. She herself was a girl scout from pre-k to 9th grade. She is excited to continue working with children in her job aboard the Learning Barge. When she is not acting as an educator, she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and binge-watching sitcoms. 


Anna Spiller

Seasonal Educator

Anna has a background in environmental education teaching students about local plants and wildlife in group day hikes in the hills of southern California. She graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Environmental Studies and a concentration in History of Human-Environment Relations. Since moving to Virginia, Anna has enjoyed hiking and adventuring with her dog at local state parks and backpacking in Shenandoah. She’s looking forward to teaching students about their local river ecosystem aboard the Learning Barge!


Amanda Zachritz

Seasonal Educator

Amanda is originally from South Florida where she studied marine biology with a minor in environmental studies at FAU’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College. She has always loved working outdoors and educating others about conservation and the importance of local watersheds. In her free time, she loves hiking with her husband, hanging out with her two cats, and baking new recipes. 


Joey Hoskins

Seasonal Educator

Joey graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism studies with a concentration in Parks and Recreation Administration. Living along the Elizabeth River his whole life, he is very excited to be able to help educate others on being caretakers for their environment. Joey likes to spend his free time hiking, camping, and plaing music. 


Carleigh Cobb

Seasonal Educator

Carleigh grew up here in Virginia where she studied communication with a minor in history at Old Dominion University. She loves her home state and all the history that comes with it and she is delighted to share the history of the Elizabeth River with others. She has a passion for plants and practices herbalism from her own backyard. In her spare time, Carleigh enjoys hiking, photography, singing, and hanging out with her two cats and her five chickens.

Youth Water Monitoring Results

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