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All Aboard The Learning Barge!



Barge Bulletin

The Learning Barge is now tucked in for the winter and in the care of BAE Shipyard in South Norfolk on the Southern Branch. She'll undergo winter maintenance projects and winterizing of systems until time to start up again next Spring. Huge thanks to Robbins Maritime for pushing us over and to BAE for their generous support of manpower and expertise. Have a fun and safe winter everyone.



See you on the River!"


The Elizabeth River Project

made possible by


The Elizabeth River Project's Dominion Virginia Power 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! 




Powered by sun and wind and equipped with live wetlands, an enclosed classroom, composting toilets and a rainwater filtration system, the 120 by 32 foot Learning Barge is designed to both model and teach ecology and sustainability to the next generation of lower Chesapeake Bay stewards. The mission is to help teach how to help restore the Elizabeth River by 2020.


54,892 have been educated on the barge since its 2009 launch. 
Over 20,000 were K-12 students.


Here's what teachers and students from Old Donation Center in Virginia Beach had to say about their field trips in spring 2012:

"This was the best fieldtrip I have ever been on and I have been teaching for 30 years!"

"Pure heaven out on the river, in the heart of Norfolk"

"The staff was the most professional and most informed than on any fieldtrip that we have ever been on"

"The students were talking the whole way back to school.. . not the usual chit chat, but instead about how they can conserve resources to save the river."


"Our students had a wonderful time on the Learning Barge and we teachers consider it one of the best field trips available."


The barge will be docked at various locations including near the port highlighting the working river. Check out the map for the barge's latest location and download Field Trip Summary 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, Education Director, at If you prefer, you can also call


The Learning Barge came to being thanks to the generous sponsorship of numerous organizations and individuals. Special thanks go to Dominion Virginia Power, the lead sponsor of the vessel's construction, and Lowe's, sponsor of the enclosed river lab onboard.

Current leading sponsors of our field trips include NOAA Bwet, PNC, American Honda Foundation, Virginia Environmental Endowment, The Chesapeake Bay Restoration Advisory Committee and Kinder-Morgan. Our generous maritime community also donates countless services for maintenance and tug moves!


Special thank you to the public and private schools that continue to support the Learning Barge.


For more info | 757.392.7132 |


"The Learning Barge has hands down been my favorite field trip ever!"


Anna Marie Richter,

4th grade teacher,

Thurgood Marshall

Elementary School




"We loved it!  We've been told we can only have ONE field trip next year, and my grade level all said we want to come back to the Barge!"


Pamela Crichton

3rd Grade Teacher

Centerville Elementary

750 W. Berkley Ave. Norfolk, VA

750 W. Berkley Ave. Norfolk, VA

The Barge is now at BAE Systems 750 W. Berkley Ave. Norfolk, VA

Field Trip Information Flier


Track the Learning Barge!

475 Water Street, Portsmouth VA  23704