Aqua ‘Takes Education to Next Level,’ Joins Conservancy to Launch Floating Classroom Science Program

Image via Aqua Pennsylvania.
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Aqua Pennsylvania, an Essential Utilities company, recently joined the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy to celebrate the 2022 launch of the Conservancy’s Floating Classroom Science Program, with a ribbon-cutting at Aqua’s Green Lane Reservoir.

Aqua is the main partner of the Floating Classroom Program, which combines environmental education, kayaking, and lab work into one immersive educational experience for local students.

“Giving our students access to such a dynamic educational opportunity sets them up for a safe and healthy future,” said Essential Chief Environmental, Safety, and Sustainability Officer Chris Crockett. “At Aqua, our mission is to provide all the communities we serve with life’s most essential resource, and educating tomorrow’s leaders on watershed protection is a key part of our long-term goal. For this reason, we’re thrilled to join the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy as a program partner of the Floating Classroom.”

The Floating Classroom Program, which debuted in 2021, is designed to develop real-world field skills in young learners by enabling them to participate in educational courses related to watershed science, aquatic communities, ornithology, geology, and botany. It also gives local students the opportunity to discover real-world applications for their newfound knowledge through hands-on kayak explorations on Green Lane Reservoir. In addition to hosting the program on its reservoir property, Aqua will provide employees to assist with select educational programming.

The Floating Classroom itself, named “Dragonfly I,” was funded through a grant from the company’s charitable trust. The state-of-the-art science lab was constructed on a reimagined 24-foot pontoon boat and is equipped with microscopes, iPads, Wi-Fi, water quality testing supplies, and other equipment that will aid students in their explorations. The boat is equipped with a 10-horse electric motor that derives its power from four specially configured solar panels.

The lab is now available for school programming and summer camps for students in grades six through 11. Floating Classroom school programs are customizable, allowing educators to plan experiences that meet teaching goals in the areas of environmental education, recreation, and/or team building.

“The launch of this year’s Floating Classroom takes education to the next level, providing students with first-hand knowledge on the importance of good water quality and healthy aquatic ecosystems,” said Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy Executive Director Ryan Beltz. “We are thankful for our partnership with Aqua and look forward to working together to provide the local community with important educational courses and hands-on experiences.”

Crockett and Beltz were joined at the launch by additional funders, including Dow, Pfizer, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Also in attendance were state and local officials, as well as environmental educators from across the region.

Learn more about Aqua Pennsylvania.

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