Environmental organizations around the country recently celebrated National Estuaries Week. The North Carolina Coastal Federation hosted several events from Manteo to Wrightsville Beach to celebrate our spectacular coastal waters and wetlands. In the wake of a Nor’easter and with hurricane Joaquin looming, staff and steadfast volunteers from each region braved the elements to showcase the wonders of the N.C. coast and the work we do to keep our estuaries clean and healthy.
Day at the Docks, Hatteras
Before the weather turned sour, federation staff started off Estuaries Week by participating in the Day at the Docks community event in Hatteras Village. The event brought together locals and visitors alike to learn about the history and heritage of Hatteras. A variety of organizations hosted educational booths, along with live music, storytelling, and other family-friendly entertainment. Over 100 people stopped by the federation’s booth to learn more about how they can protect wetlands and improve water quality.
AmeriCorps members Amanda Miller and Zachary Lee, with the help of volunteers, led tours at our living shoreline project at Durant’s Point. This site is only accessible by boat and offers a unique opportunity to see and explore a thriving living shoreline on Pamlico Sound, the second largest estuary in the United States. During the tours, the participants helped make a difference by picking up marine debris. A total of 12 buckets of trash ranging from plastic bottles to fishing gear, were removed from the site!
Fish Fry, Shrimp Boil – Manteo
Fry and Shrimp Boil fundraiser in Manteo. Through the generosity of Bayliss Boatworks we were able to change to an indoor venue last minute and accommodate all 200 people who attended the event. Troy Outland, a local commercial fisherman, kindly donated 200 pounds of locally harvested flounder and Full Circle Crab Company generously donated 150 pounds of shrimp. These items and all the fixings were cooked to perfection thanks to business partner Café Lachine and were thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Swim the Loop – Wrightsville Beach
In the southeast, the 4th Annual Swim the Loop, hosted by Without Limits featured a swim around Harbor Island near Wrightsville Beach that benefited the federation. The event raised awareness of water quality and the need to keep swimming waters clean and safe. Over 200 people braved the rain, wind, and super tides to swim the 1.3 mile sprint or 3.5 mile loop. The top three overall males and females from each age group were given awards at the end of the race. A portion of event proceeds were donated to the federation to support our efforts to reduce stormwater runoff into our coastal waters.
Cycling for the Coast – Bogue Banks
As swimmers were diving into the Intracoastal Waterway in Wrightsville Beach, cyclists in Atlantic Beach were gearing up to begin their 20, 40, or 80K rides down Bogue Banks for the 5th Cycling for the Coast event. Despite the threat of rain and high winds, 85 enthusiastic cyclists made it out to Fort Macon State Park to face whatever Mother Nature had in store. Those who rode had a bit of respite from the storm, as the rain held off until the last cyclists were returning. After the ride, participants and volunteers met at the Idle Hour for a celebratory lunch and a Natty Greene’s beer.
This year’s event was dedicated to the late Jack Cleaves, who was an avid cyclist and federation volunteer. Proceeds from this event will be used to fund habitat restoration and education programs in the central region.
The federation would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our loyal volunteers and our dedicated attendees who braved the unpleasant weather to make our National Estuaries Week celebrations successful. We are also extremely grateful for the support we received from our sponsors and our incredible community members. It is for you that we protect coastal waters, and it is only with you that we succeed.