St. Margaret's – a river school, not just a school on the river
The overarching goal of the River Program is to render St. Margaret's as a river school, where the Rappahannock – as a still pristine icon of the great outdoors and natural environments in need of our protection – is central to our identity and culture.
Director of the River Program, Kevin Goff, has found creative ways to integrate the river into our science curriculum, afternoon activity time slot, Minimester program, and students’ free time. He explains that the program is to serve as a vehicle for advancing our mission to help young women grow in intellect, creativity, physical wellness, individual and collaborative initiative, and social concern. Simply put, it's a lens into the larger world.
The river is my classroom. #girlsdoscience
In the classroom, river studies is folded into all fundamental sciences and offered as electives to upperclassmen. Classes are rich in field studies, authentic scientific inquiry, project-based learning, and service.
Just last year, students in Environmental Issues were given the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to present research at VIMS (Virginia Institute of Marine Science). The class was challenged to identify a problem (real or imaginative) and to work through potential solutions over the course of the trimester, heightening students’ critical-thinking, leadership, and team-building skills. Following the presentation, students had engaging interactions with several enthusiastic young female scientists, further building STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) self-efficacy in girls’ education – one of many ultimate goals.
The River Program offers activities and adventures galore for the outdoor enthusiast: afternoon and weekend activities through SOAK (Scottie Outdoor Adventure Krew), award-winning River Days, and educational trips during Minimester. Students participate in team-building exercises, water sports and recreation, physical fitness, camping, and service projects in an effort to develop an appreciation for the outdoors and become lifelong stewards of its preservation – all while having a blast!
Our River Program encourages lifelong stewardship and preservation. Campus sustainability, environmental service, and community engagement are the three pillars of this shared vision. Very specific but impactful examples of how our girls live as environmental stewards include testing water quality, building an on-campus rainscape retrofit, and recycling.
Students, faculty, and community partners came together to break ground for the school's first rainscape retrofit.