Albany - - Some southwest Georgia school teachers are learning some important lessons by getting dirty. It's part of a state grant that allows teachers to explore the Flint River from beginning to end.
Donna Sponberger is a 5th grade science teacher in Dalton. This activity couldn't be more beneficial. She's brought her camera to capture the moments. "Hopefully I wont lose it in the water," she said.
She is one of 19 teachers from southwest Georgia participating in a week-long lesson on the environment. They're learning about everything from animals to plants, to water quality issues.
"All of us play a role in that. It's not one group of people that's causing water concerns - it's all of us," says group facilitator Lynn Larsen.
And what a better way to learn that than to experience it first-hand. With a little direction, the teachers boarded their canoes, ready to explore the Flint River.
This isn't just a field day for teachers. State leaders want this program to translate into lessons teachers can incorporate in the classroom.
"The dirtier they get, the more they learn," says Ed Davis. He works for the Board of Regents. The group funds this activity to help improve the quality of Georgia's teachers.
"So you immerse teachers in their content and then they learn the content by getting dirty, getting dirty in their content," he says.
Sponberger doesn't mind it. Although this may be fun, she's already thinking of her students.
"I'll take back all I can and make it as real as I can - show them the pictures and photos I'm taking and try to re-live it for them," she says.
Because she's guarding her camera as she paddles up and down the Flint River.
Georgia gets $2,000,000 a year to fund programs like this. The Board of Regents gets over 100 applications from groups requesting funding. Only half of them actually get it.