River Program

Life on the river at St. Margaret's is where learning comes naturally. Our riverfront campus on the Rappahannock is a science lab, a source of inspiration, recreation, and fun.

In our renowned River Program, girls focus on scientific inquiry, field studies, project-based learning, and service as we explore the diverse environment around us. The curriculum incorporates all aspects of river life, including science, history, culture, and traditions. Students have an opportunity to earn special recognition as they make their way through the program of coursework, outdoor adventures and service learning.

Outdoor activities and adventures, include our popular River Days, and educational trips during Minimester which provide opportunities for team-building, water sports and recreation, physical fitness, camping, service projects, and lots of fun while students learn about science in every day life, develop awareness, and deep appreciation for our natural resources.

Recreational activities involve boating, fishing, skiing, tubing, kayaking, canoeing, paddle boarding, sailing, swimming, and much more.

The river is our classroom. #girlsdoscience

Our River: Respected, Inclusive, Vital, Empowering, Rolls through our past, present and future.


River Studies

In the classroom, river studies is folded into fundamental sciences and offered as electives to upperclass students. Classes are rich in field studies, authentic scientific inquiry, project-based learning, and service.

Our Environmental Issues class presented research at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Students were challenged to identify a problem (real or imaginative), and work through potential solutions over the course of the trimester, heightening critical-thinking, leadership, and team-building skills. Following the presentation, students engaged with enthusiastic female scientists, further building STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) self-efficacy.

Outdoor Adventure

Outdoor Adventures is an after school activity program open to all students and offered during the first and third trimesters. It is also a component of the SMS River Program that promotes an appreciation for the outdoors, helps instill self-confidence in students, and involves service learning. Students can expect to be outdoors and in, on or near the Rappahannock River every day, rain or shine. Some examples of activities include kayaking, learning map and compass skills, hiking in wildlife refuges, water quality monitoring, helping to remove invasive plant species, tracking wildlife with game cameras and bird identification.

Global Sustainability

Our River Program encourages environmental preservation and lifelong stewardship. Campus sustainability, environmental service, and community engagement are the three pillars of our shared vision. Examples of how our girls live as environmental stewards include, testing water quality, building an on-campus rainscape, and recycling.