Applications open for James River 'floating classroom'

For the past six summers, the James River Association has taken adventurous teens on 340-mile paddle down the waterway in the name of conservation.

This year is no different.

Applications are due March 10 for the association's James River Expedition, a 'floating classroom' experience for a week-long paddle down the river, according to a James River Association news release.

The nonprofit was founded in 1976 to help protect the river and its watershed, and the student expeditions are made possible in part by the Norfolk Southern Foundation and other Richmond-based donors.

The 30 slots are open to all high school students within the river's watershed, which runs from west of Lynchburg to Richmond to where it lets out into the Chesapeake Bay south of Hampton.

Split into three week-long sections, collectively the students will travel all 340 miles of the river learning about conservation, responsible stewardship and history, the release stated. Part of the journey is meeting those who rely on the river, such as farmers, to realize its importance and understand the challenges in keeping it healthy.

Students from school districts between Richmond and Hampton are eligible for the first week-long trek June 25-30, which is also the longest leg of the journey at 110 miles. The $150 fee for the trip is due before departure, and can be reduced or waived if it prevents a student from attending.

"We're excited to once again offer this unique experience to the next generation of river stewards," said Bill Street, CEO for the James River Association. "Over the past six years, students have had life changing experiences spending a week on the James River and learning how it impacts our lives as Virginians."

They'll camp at night and travel by canoe, kayak and rafts during the day, but no experience is needed, according to the release.

Applications for three educator positions on the journey are open to high school teachers of any discipline. That deadline is also March 10.

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.

To apply:

Visit jamesriverassociation.org/expedition or contact Ben Watson at bwatson@jrava.org or (804)788-8811 ext 215

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