Students turn James River into floating classroom

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - How about dumping your pencils and books for paddles and boats? That's what a dozen students are in for this summer. They're traveling the entire length of the James River for a new learning expedition.

For the next month, the James River won't just be for kayakers and tubers. Eighteen students and teachers are turning this into a floating classroom.

Caleigh Remocaldo goes to Open High School and is about to spend her summer vacation like no other. "Being outside especially in thunderstorms and just pure nature I'm excited but a little nervous."

She's joining 11 other students and four biology teachers from around Virginia. They're heading out for a 28 day trip down the James from it's beginnings near Covington, 340 miles to the Chesapeake.

"It's inspirational. You can't really teach someone to love the James or any natural resource, but if you share it with them, especially when they're young, they just fall in love with it all on their own," said Gabe Silver of the James River Association.

He'll be one of two guides for the group and he's been dreaming of a trip like this for years. It was made possible this year by a $50,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation.

"They will be paddling canoes, every day. They will board an historic vessel and pole down the river for a few days. They'll all be on white water rafts as they come through the fall line here in Richmond," Silver said.

They'll learn about preservation, tourism, even industries on the river.

"A whole new experience beyond what I know just living on the river. More of an environmental in nature aspect of the river and learn what we've done with it and how we can come back from it," added Remocaldo.

The voyage beings this Saturday in the Covington area and wraps up July 22 in Hampton, Virginia.

You can follow the students online as they journey down the River. Just click on

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