Restore Your Home River




All Aboard The Learning Barge!



Barge Bulletin

Photo Essay: Climbing aboard the Learning Barge

On a fall morning, a lot is happening on the steel deck of the Dominion Virginia Power Learning Barge. A stream of fourth grade students from Granby Elementary School follows Robin Dunbar, the Elizabeth River Project’s deputy director of education, onto the vessel where they will measure oyster shells, listen to osprey calls, find periwinkles in the wetland observation pool and make traditional mud art. MORE


Governor McAuliffe and Secretary Ward welcome teachers from the Norfolk Public Schools

 – Kudos to Norfolk Public Schools teachers working with our Learning Barge staff. Their pioneer efforts on a new river curriculum landed them a visit with the Governor and Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources! Photo Album


Barge Cited for Excellence

Our Learning Barge was named one of the state's top 10 "centers for environmental education excellence" Sept. 8 by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. "Barge on," as our students say! Robin Dunbar, Deputy Director - Education, received the award at Natural Bridge Park. 






She's Absolutely Beautiful

Learning Barge “Splashes” After Donated Spruce Up Thanks for Unprecedented Support, Maritime Heroes!


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.


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 |

Field Trip Information Flier

New 2014-2015 GreenSTEM Barge Program coming soon! Accepting field trip reservations now.

Contact Robin Dunbar, Education Director for more information. 757-392-7132  


New Deckhands- Fall 2015


Sarah Brennan

Sarah B recently moved to the area from Florida and enjoys spending as much time as possible outside. On her days off you can find her hiking with her two dogs, riding her horse, gardening or kayaking on the local waterways. With a degree in business management from George Mason University, she is looking forward to leaving the corporate world to help spread knowledge and awareness to the next generation of river-keepers.


Kat Yetka

Kat is a Tidewater native with a passion for adventure and travel. Her background is in Environmental Studies and Applied Geography. She has lived and worked throughout South Korea, Indonesia, and Australia for the last 3 years. She is a certified dive master and has a love of all things water related. In her free time you can find her riding her bike, heading to the mountains, or spending time on the water. She is excited to be a part of the Learning Barge crew and to help inspire students to have a fascination in their environment.


April Orleans

April graduated from the University of Vermont in 2010 with a major concentration is Community and International Development and a minor in Green Building and Community Design. She worked for on several islands in the Caribbean designing and implementing youth education programs. She has also worked in the commercial fishing industry in Alaska and as an ecological designer for a civil/environmental engineering firm. In her free time, she enjoys any activity outside and any opportunity to travel.


Sarah Dixon

Sarah D is originally from Buffalo, New York, but has lived in North Carolina, Hawaii and Louisiana being that her husband in a service member. She graduated from UNCW in 2012 with a Bachelor’s in Marine Biology. She is the mother of a ten year old son who loves spending time on the beach. She is excited to be part of a team tasked with teaching the next generation of environmental stewards.


Wes Cheney

Wes  lives a salty, green life in Norfolk, harvesting local Golden Bamboo which he uses to build custom bicycles and kayaks at 757 Makerspace. He paddles the Lafayette River and sails Willoughby Bay in an '83 Folbot Cayat that he inherited, rebuilt, expanded and christened "Platypus." Wes has worked as a photographer for both the U.S. Navy and Norfolk Southern Railroad, graduated from Old Dominion University with a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy, and is an Eagle Scout. He is married to a Certified Nurse Midwife who has delivered almost a thousand babies at Bon Secours DePaul Hospital, where both of their children were born.


Track the Learning Barge!


750 W Berkley Ave, Norfolk, VA 23523, USA

750 W Berkley Ave, Norfolk, VA 23523, USA

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