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IN SESSION: Fourth graders study sea-level rise on 'learning barge'

More than 100 Chesapeake teachers and their 3,000 students will be exposed to the 'Project Blue Crab' over the next three years.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — Fourth graders in Chesapeake are leaving the classroom for their latest lesson.

The Elizabeth River Project is teaming up with Chesapeake Public Schools to engage all fourth graders in “Project Blue Crab.”

Using a three-year, $315,000 federal grant, the project’s goal is to help the students understand and find ways to address the impacts of sea-level rise.

“We’re trying to create a river revolution of stewards of all ages,” said Robin Dunbar, Deputy Director of Education for the Elizabeth River Project. “Kids can play an important role as youth resilient leaders doing what they can, stewardship wise, to help create a beautiful, healthy river.”

RELATED: IN SESSION: Suffolk teacher enriches curriculum after educational trip

Dunbar hopes the field trip on board the Elizabeth River Project’s Dominion Energy Learning Barge in Norfolk can inspire a life of stewardship.

“We want the kids to get out of the classroom, come aboard the barge -- it’s America’s greenest vessel, the world’s first floating wetlands classroom -- and we want them to engage with the water and nature,” Dunbar said.

RELATED: Sea Level Rise: An existential threat to Hampton Roads

Dunbar was just honored this month at the White House with the “Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.” She said she hopes to use that new honor to enhance the learning of local students while on board the learning barge.

“They’re going to inherit this river in the future,” Dunbar said. “It’s a beautiful river. We hope that they understand, they have the tools, they have the confidence of how to take care of this river.”

More than 100 Chesapeake teachers and their 3,000 students will be exposed to the “Project Blue Crab” over the next three years.

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