Students from across the Commonwealth will spend about three week on the James River -- learning.

They started Saturday at the beginning of the river in Iron Gate. Thirty-six students and nine teachers from Virginia high schools will take part in the James River Expedition. It's a 340 mile trip down the James and will be broken into three parts.

The trip serves is a "floating classroom" aboard canoes, rafts and work boats. They'll receive hands-on lessons in river conservation and stewardship. 

"The whole program is designed for the students to have a hands-on approach, a naturalistic approach to learning about the history of the James River and the importance of the James River," one of the teachers told us.

The expedition costs $50,000. It's sponsored by Dominion Resources and Dominion Virginia Power.