New LL&W Floating Classroom makes QC Debut

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It was a one of a kind field trip on the Mississippi River for about three dozen local middle schoolers.

"Normally I would be in the classroom, but today we took a field trip here, and we're talking about pollution, and the Mississippi River," says Orion Middle Schooler Keiffer McCaw.

"This is a big day, it’s been about three years we've been waiting and wanting to something like this," says Orion Middle School teacher Jennifer Dean.

These kids are getting a firsthand look at the national renowned Living Lands and Waters garbage barge.

They're spending the day examining the river, and learning about how fragile our environment is.

"If you pollute stuff into the water it's going to go back to where you drink, which I never really realized that," says Orion Middle Schooler Sarah Sletten.

These students are some of the first to take advantage of this brand new 1.4 million dollar floating classroom.

"The old barge we had wasn't ADA accessible, it wasn't safe, there was trip hazards, it was kinda like a shack, it was falling apart," says Jaymie Schuldt of Living Lands and Waters.

The floating classroom is custom-built and just a few months old. It's completely self-sufficient. Its solar-powered, has its own water supply, and seats up to 50 people.

For the students nothing stands out more than the location, which helps drive the instructor's message home.

"It's a lot more fun being on a barge, and looking out and seeing water, it's a lot better than being in a classroom," says Sletten.

"These people are making a difference, cleaning up helping to stop the pollution," adds McCaw.

"This opportunity teaches them much more than science or social studies it teaches them life skills. The bigger thing we're trying to get here is how to be great adults," says Dean.