In mid-September 2012, the Elizabeth River Project in Portsmouth, Va. (http://www.elizabethriver.org/), announced that it will receive a $140,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to support lessons about the Elizabeth River for elementary school children aboard the group’s “Learning Barge.” The grant will support about 2,500 children taking field trips on the vessel and the training of about 120 area teachers on Elizabeth River issues. The non-profit organization and the University of Virginia launched the Learning Barge on September 14, 2009, in Portsmouth. The $1.2 million boat was paid for by donations of money and services; Dominion Virginia Power is a principal sponsor, according the Web site for the barge, http://elizabethriver.org/Projects/The_Learning_Barge.aspx. The vessel is designed with solar energy, water-saving toilets, and other features to have little environmental impact, and its educational features include water-sampling stations and labs.
Sources: Elizabeth River Project wins $140,000 grant, Virginian-Pilot, 9/19/12; and Virginian-Pilot, 9/15/09.