Low-Income Duval Students Get Floating Field Trips
Some 4,500 Duval County fifth graders will be going on cruises this school year as part of their curriculum.
Duval County Public Schools is teaming up with the St. Johns Riverkeeper to provide the field trips to Title I schools that educate a lot of low-income students.
St. Johns Riverkeeper Executive Director Jimmy Orth was on a river taxi with the first group of students to take the floating field trip on Monday.
“They were really just all super excited about getting out there and getting this opportunity to see wildlife,” Orth said. “I was asking kids about what they’re looking forward to, and one kid said he really wants to see a manatee and another said he really wants to see a dolphin"
He says many of the kids had never been on a boat. While on the two-hour cruise, the kids learned about the health of the St. Johns, the ecology and how they can protect the river. More than 4,000 students will get the experience this school year.
“By being exposed to the river, people will then develop a relationship with the St. Johns,” Orth said. “It helps them to understand the river and why it’s important to our community and to their own lives. And I think that, that process is critical if we’re going to develop a community that cares about the river and wants to take care of it.”
The river taxi trips leave from Friendship Fountain. Orth says he expects these trips will happen every week until it gets too cold, and pick back up in the spring.