Floating Classroom

Floating Classroom2018-09-11T09:12:59+00:00

Chattahoochee Riverkeeper offers two “floating classrooms,” one on Lake Lanier and another on West Point Lake. Together, these acclaimed environmental-education venues have successfully delivered unique and exceptional learning opportunities to more than 60,000 students and teachers.

Through these water-based learning centers, students engage in a variety of hands-on activities that incorporate STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), and which are tied to age-appropriate Georgia Standards for Excellence.

What do they learn?

  • Water-quality testing
  • Identification of freshwater plankton and wildlife
  • How lake water ends up flowing from faucets in homes and schools
  • Ways they can protect these precious water resources
  • Supplemental land-based watershed activities, and…
  • Lake history lessons

Opening Doors

Program scholarship awards make it possible for thousands of financially disadvantaged students—from Title I schools and after-school and summer programs—to participate.

See the impact Floating Classrooms have on students and our community.

Lake Lanier Aquatic Learning Center

The Lake Lanier Aquatic Learning Center (LLALC), a partnership by CRK, Elachee Nature Science Center and Hall Co. Parks and Leisure is operated out of Hall County’s River Forks Park in Gainesville. The learning center resides aboard the Chota Princess II, a 40-foot custom-built catamaran—which boasts a glass-bottom viewing well and a capacity of up to 49 passengers.

Schedule a Program: contact Elachee at (770) 535-1976 or elachee@elachee.org.

Scholarship Inquiries: contact Becca Klein at (404) 352-9828 x19 or bklein@chattahoochee.org.

The LLALC’s curriculum is designed by Elachee Nature Science Center to be grade-level appropriate and complement classroom studies. All Elachee programs are correlated to Georgia’s Performance Standards and Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests (CRCT) and Gwinnett County’s Academic Knowledge and Skills (AKS) requirements. Elachee Nature Science Center is also Georgia’s first and metro-Atlanta’s only nature center accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

West Point Lake Floating Classroom

The West Point Lake Floating Classroom (WPLFC) is managed by CRK in LaGrange, Georgia. It’s operated aboard the Miss Sally, a custom-built 42-foot vessel docked at Troup County’s Pyne Road Park.

Scheduling and Scholarship Information: contact Laura Breyfogle at (706) 882-3701 or lbreyfogle@chattahoochee.org.

Kindergarten – 3rd grade

What’s Up in the Watershed? (grades K-3): We look forward to having you and your students aboard the Miss Sally floating classroom as we explore the plants and animals that live in and around West Point Lake, a man-made recreational lake that borders Georgia and Alabama. Students will increase their understanding and appreciation of the lake when they join our knowledgeable and experienced staff to identify and classify animals, measure air and water temperature, observe birds using binoculars, and use hand lenses for magnifying various natural objects. Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s role in protecting the Chattahoochee River and specifically West Point Lake will be emphasized as well. Complementary land based activities include activities which teach students about contributions they can make in their everyday lives to protect our environment through water conservation, not littering, and reducing their volume of trash by choosing alternatives such as recycling, reusing and composting.

Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) & Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)

Grade Level Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
Kindergarten

1st grade

2nd grade

3rd grade

SKL1, SKL2

S1E1, S1L1

S2E3, S2L1

S3P1, S3L2

3, 6

6

7, 11

none

Length of program:
2 hours for basic program (30 student max)
3 hours for basic program with added complementary activities (60 students max)

Cost of program:
2 hour program: $12/student, $5/chaperone, no charge for teachers ($250 minimum)
3 hour program: $15/student, $5/chaperone, no charge for teachers ($350 minimum)

*Limited scholarships are available for groups that qualify.

3rd – 8th grade

West Point Lake Aquatic Study (grades 3-8): Come aboard the Miss Sally floating classroom as we explore the history, ecology and challenges facing West Point Lake, a man-made recreational lake that borders Georgia and Alabama. Students will be introduced to the concept of watersheds, specifically the Chattahoochee River watershed and learn the impact humans have on the quality of the watershed. Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s role in protecting the watershed will be emphasized as well. Students will increase their understanding and appreciation of the lake when they join our knowledgeable and experienced staff to sample plankton, measure turbidity and determine pH and dissolved oxygen levels. Complementary activities including storm water runoff demonstration, water conservation discussion, point/nonpoint source pollution and best management practices demonstration and Lakeology trivia game occur on land.

Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) & Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)

Grade Level Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
3rd grade

4th grade

5th grade

6th grade

7th grade

8th grade

SKL1, SKL2

S4E3, S4L1

S5P1, S5L1, S5,L4

S6E3, S6E5, S6E6

S7L4

S8P1

none

5

1, 3, 9

3

7

none

Length of Program:
2 hours for basic program (30 student max);
3 hours for basic program with added complementary activities (60 student max)

Cost of program:
2 hour program:$12/student, $5/chaperone, no charge for teachers ($250 minimum) 
3 hour program: $15/student, $5/chaperone, no charge for teachers ($350 minimum)

*Limited scholarships are available for groups that qualify.

9th – 12th grade

Environmental Science (grades 9-12): We look forward to having you aboard the Miss Sally floating classroom as we explore the ecology and management of West Point Lake, a man-made recreational lake that borders Georgia and Alabama. Students will learn about concepts of trophic levels, energy pyramids, and native vs introduced species and how they relate to West Point Lake. Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s role in protecting the Chattahoochee River and West Point Lake will be emphasized, as well as environmental jobs and internships with Chattahoochee Riverkeeper. Students will increase their understanding and appreciation of the lake when they join our knowledgeable and experienced staff to view birds using binoculars, classify trophic levels of various plants and animals found in West Point Lake watershed, and measure temperature and dissolved oxygen levels at varying depths. Complementary activities including water conservation discussion, a water treatment simulation, native vs introduced species activity, and environmental bingo game occur on land.

Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) & Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)

Grade Level Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
9th-12th grade SEV1, SEV2 6, 8, 11, 12

Length of Program:
2 hours for basic program (30 student max);
3 hours for basic program with added complementary activities (60 student max)

Cost of program:
2 hour program: $12/student, $5/chaperone, no charge for teachers ($250 minimum)
3 hour program: $15/student, $5/chaperone, no charge for teachers ($350 minimum)

*Limited scholarships are available for groups that qualify.

AP High School | Colleges & University

West Point Lake Water Quality Index Study: This program provides an ideal field study opportunity for Environmental Science and AP Biology classes, as well as college level biology/ecology classes. Students will learn about the impact humans have on the quality of the Chattahoochee River watershed and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper’s role in protecting the watershed will be emphasized as well. Students will then conduct seven different tests aboard the Miss Sally floating classroom to determine the overall water quality of West Point Lake. Tests include dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature change, total phosphates, nitrates, total suspended solids (turbidity) and total dissolved solids (conductivity). In addition, classes will have the option to take samples back to their classrooms in order to determine fecal coliform and biochemical oxygen demand. Complementary activities including plankton collection and observation using compound microscopes and point/nonpoint source pollution and best management practices demonstration occur on land.

Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) & Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)

Grade Level Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE) Alabama Learning Exchange (ALEX)
Biology

Environmental Science

SB5

SEV4

1, 13

8, 9, 12

Length of program:
2 hours (30 student max)

Cost of program:
2 hour program: $12/student, $5/chaperone, no charge for teachers, $250 minimum

*Limited scholarships are available for groups that qualify.

Adult Guided Tours:

Civic and church groups, garden clubs, small businesses and corporations may reserve an informational tour aboard the Miss Sally. All tours include an overview of CRK’s mission, the Chattahoochee River watershed, and West Point Lake highlights and history. Binoculars will be provided for bird watching as birds of prey (bald eagle, osprey) and great blue herons are commonly spotted on WPL. Groups may opt to provide their own refreshments.

Length of program: 90 min – 2 hours
Cost of program: $15/person, $250 minimum

The joy our students find in the floating classroom learning experience is invaluable. I cannot begin to express how these trips may have changed the lives of our kids!

– Lara McNeirney

4th grade teacher at Sandhill Elementary School