Ms. Barton’s River Classroom

By Georgia Ackerman

October 3, 2022—Educator Cameron Barton believes everything is connected. A mother and science teacher with deep family roots in coastal north Florida, she walks her talk.  An ardent supporter of Apalachicola Riverkeeper, Cameron is again raising both awareness and funds to help protect and restore the Apalachicola River and Bay. This is her fourth RiverTrek campaign.  Today, I visited Cameron’s sixth grade science class at Maclay School. It was a déjà vu to my first classroom visit in 2017, the year of her first RiverTrek. The Maclay School classroom was buzzing with “river learning.” 

The 6th grade science students clearly worked hard on their research and poster presentations. During the visit, the students each shared highlights of their poster board research project with the class with an opportunity to ask questions.  The topics included in the “River Lessons” unit were as diverse as the species of the Apalachicola River region. A few topics from a long list of items the students covered included: marine species of the eastern Gulf, tupelo and trees of the Apalachicola floodplain, fish species, the ACF Rivers connectivity, oysters, Tates Hell, recreation in the Apalachicola River region, Hurricane Michael, slough restoration and of course, RiverTrek. Here’s a quick video of some of the creative projects shared by students.

What an impactful way to learn about ecology. I found myself wondering, “How can we encourage more classrooms to take on this kind of learning?”

Cameron Barton is paddling again with this year’s RiverTrek team and her students will be figuratively exploring the Apalachicola River Basin as part of our journey. The RiverTrek Team launches on October 12 in Chattahoochee.

Georgia Ackerman is Riverkeeper and Executive Director at Apalachicola Riverkeeper. She’s excited to again kayak the entirety of the Apalachicola River with the RiverTrek team.



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