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, nearly 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 757-418-1042

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!

13 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 fifth 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 graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a B.A. in Environmental Studies with a concentration in History of Human-Environment Relations. She began work as an environmental educator in California teaching students about wildlife on hiking excursions. After moving to Viginia, Anna enjoyed exploring the rivers of coastal Virginia and discovered the Elzabeth River Project. She’s looking forward to teaching students about their local river ecosystems aboard the Learning Barge. 


Madi Strohecker

Seasonal Educator

Madi has a sparkling passion for nature and education and is thrilled to be part of the Elizabeth River Project. She graduated from Eckerd College in 2021 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Studies with minors in Sustainability, Anthropology, and Leadership Studies. Madi is excited to educate, learn, and share with students the importance of the river and how we can work towards making the world a better place!


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 into being caretakers for their environment. Joey likes to spend his free time hiking, camping, and playing music. 


Ellie Doty

Seasonal Educator

Ellie graduated from Virginia Wesleyan University in 2022 with a B.S. in Biology. She has developed a love for working outdoors with all types of plants and animals. She is passionate about conservation and is excited to share that enthusiasm with others aboard the Learning Barge. 

Youth Water Monitoring Results

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