World's first barge-based wetlands classroom launches in September

Apparently, “floating environmentalism” isn’t limited to Huck Finn wannabees: on September 14, the Learning Barge, a joint project of the University of Virginia School of Architecture and the Elizabeth River Project, will be christened and opened to the public. Designed as an environmental education center for teaching elementary and middle school students about water and wildlife issues facing the Elizabeth River, the Learning Barge features a living wetland nursery, a seining pool, and oyster floats. It’s also powered completely by solar and wind power.

According to the Elizabeth River Project, the river currently “does not meet safety standards for swimming or harvest of shellfish.” The Barge is designed to get students to the river, and teach them about both the environmental degradation that’s occurred, and the solutions for restoring damaged ecosystems. Students and faculty from UVA’s architecture and engineering programs designed and built the barge, and the University’s School of Education designed the curriculum used on board.

UVA’s architecture program has built a web site that shows drawings, models, and diagrams for the project; the video above is one of several documenting the barge’s construction and launch.

If you’re able to make it to the launch, make sure to come back and share your experience with us…

via The Cavalier Daily