UR pontoon excursion during International Education Week

World-class cruise

November 26, 2023

Research & Innovation

A recent University of Richmond pontoon excursion gave visitors from all over the world an up-close view of the James River. Rivers were a central theme of the International Education Week events held at UR in mid-November.

The group of 28 travelers included faculty, staff, alums, visitors from local nonprofits, and sustainability experts visiting from Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Canada, Denmark, Japan, South Africa, Aotearoa New Zealand, and across the U.S. Their travels took them to the Presquile National Wildlife Refuge, Henricus Historical Park, Dutch Gap, and Chesterfield Power Station.

In meeting about global sustainability issues, we felt it was important to interact directly with our local river,” said Todd Lookingbill, professor of geography, environment, & sustainability.

During their travels, they discussed colonial history as they visited Henricus and environmental concerns throughout the day.

“One of the most impactful parts of the trip was boating by the Chesterfield Power Station and making the direct connection between the emissions released here to maintain our lifestyle and their global impact to the other passengers in the boat,” Lookingbill said.

In one of the day’s highlights, the group fished from the boat and shared with each other stories from previous trips. Lookingbill told visitors about the experiential learning model at UR, noting the benefits of place-based, outdoor education in classes like Geography of the James River Watershed.

The river held many revelations for the visitors.

“The proximity of this breathtaking national wildlife refuge to the city is always surprising,” Lookingbill said, noting the contrast of the power station alongside osprey nests and foraging cormorants.

Everyone on Earth is touched by rivers. None more so than our friends who live along the Amazon and its associated waterways," Lookingbill said. "They were energized on the water. All of us were, really.”