U.Va.’s ‘Learning Barge’ Earning Rave Reviews
Remember the Learning Barge ? It is a wind- and solar-powered “floating wetlands classroom” conceived, designed and largely built by students and faculty from the School of Architecture and School of Engineering and Applied Science, then turned over to the Elizabeth River Project in September 2009. The goal of the non-profit group is to make the highly polluted Elizabeth River – part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed – swimmable and fishable by 2020, and the barge is a huge part of its educational outreach.
It seems the barge is getting a lot of use, according to its website (make sure you check out the video at that link, too). In the spring of 2010 alone, 50 Hampton schools sent 4,500 students aboard the barge for field trips.
This spring, the Learning Barge and the Elizabeth River Project received a Seaworld/Busch Gardens Environmental Excellence Award , which carried with it a $10,000 prize.