As we think about the future of the Catawba River Basin and the role of Catawba Riverkeeper to protect it, we feel strongly that EDUCATION is going to be the key to maintaining a clean, plentiful water supply. In order to preserve and protect the River for our children and the generations to come, we must educate them on the role they play in water protections and conservation. The Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation is expanding our educational platforms to include a Floating Classroom so we can better inform residents and help them understand the critical balance required between preservation, protection, and utilization.   

What is a Floating Classroom?

The Floating Classroom is a 15’ x 42.5’ tri-toon boat with twin engines similar to the one pictured below that belongs to the Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. This classroom will be suitable for students of all ages, with the majority of the field trip dedicated to elementary and middle school students. 

Educational programs that are delivered “on the water” will bring several important benefits:

  • Increase the number of students we serve through educational programs.
  • Provide a stronger and more intimate connection to the waters flowing through the Catawba River and Lake Norman.   That connection will improve citizen’s appreciation for the opportunities and issues facing the Catawba River, thereby improving the community’s commitment to water preservation and protection.
  • Access to lab and testing equipment will enhance the learning experience and increase understanding of the science behind water ecology (the floating classroom will have microscopes, sampling, and other equipment)
  • Introduction of paid internships in order to offer more classes as well as contribute to the professional development of graduate-level students.
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Educational programs currently planned for the Floating Classroom are:

  • School Field Trips – STEM certified half/full day field trip programs for students in grades 3-8
  • School Break Programs – day camp programs during Spring/Fall/Winter breaks for middle school and high school students
  • Summer Day Camps – Partner with existing programs such as the YMCA and Mecklenburg Parks and Rec to provide programming to their summer camp participants
  • Catawba Riverkeeper Summer Camps – Multi-day programs for kids of all ages
  • Adult Education Programs – Evening programs highlighting challenges the water is facing
  • Water Watcher Training – Expand on our existing program and Improve its effectiveness by making the training more specific and action-oriented

These programs will be developed by Catawba Riverkeeper Environmental Education staff. Where applicable, educational content will be developed to North Carolina STEM education guidelines.

If you are interested in supporting the Floating Classroom Program financially or learning more about program schedule, email us at crf@catawbariverkeeper.org for more information.