The Athens-based river advocacy organization Georgia River Network is putting a new twist on the time-honored back-to-school “what I did on my summer vacation” essay tradition. 

GRN is giving Georgia educators the chance to write their own summer vacation story by participating in Paddle Georgia 2024, a 7-day, 107-mile journey down the Altamaha River through the Paddle Georgia Educator’s Scholarship program. Along the way these educators will receive training in environmental education curriculum and Georgia Adopt-A-Stream water monitoring. 

“The goal is to give teachers a hands-on wilderness journey and environmental education experiences that they can share with their students when they return to the classroom later in the year,” said Paddle Georgia Coordinator, Joe Cook. “Past participants have incorporated what they’ve learned into lesson plans and even established Adopt-A-Stream programs at local schools.” 

GRN is providing up to eight scholarships valued at $455 for Georgia educators to participate in what is considered the country’s largest week-long canoe/kayak camping adventure. 

The journey begins June 15 on the Oconee River near Lumber City and ends June 22, at the historic coastal town of Darien along the Altamaha River. 

Interested educators can view information about the trip at garivers.org/paddle-georgia and apply for a scholarship online here. All scholarship applications must be received by April 15. Winners of the scholarships will be announced by April 20.  

Paddle Georgia is an annual week-long, canoe and kayak journey that takes place on a different Georgia river each year. In the event’s first 18 years, Georgia River Network has guided more than 6,000 people down 18 Georgia rivers and generated more than $700,000 for river protection. More than 80 Georgia educators have participated in the scholarship program.