Every year college groups come from near and far to the Coastal Federation to use their spring break leave for a good cause. Many colleges and universities offer Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trips for students to work and serve a community nonprofit as an alternative to traveling to a traditional spring break destination.
The schools make the arrangements at various destinations; both in-state and out of state, for the students to spend their week off from classes doing volunteer work. While part of the process to help protect the N.C. coast and develop experience, it is also about developing relationships.
Ithaca College students spent a week in Manteo logging 517 volunteer hours maintaining rain gardens, cleaning debris from wetlands and preparing resources for the busy summer ahead. “Partnering with the North Carolina Coast Federation was truly an eye opening experience. It made our group realize the need, not just for coastal communities, but communities around the world to promote environmental sustainability and protection,” noted student group leader, Marlowe Padilla. The experience provides useful knowledge that student’s can apply in various aspects of their lives as well as invaluable help to the small northeast staff. “We hope to educate others and support one another to give the Coastal Federation and other advocacy groups the attention they deserve,” added Padilla.
One of the Coastal Federation’s longest ASB partners is with East Carolina University (ECU) who has sent students to work with the central staff for the past eight years. This spring, ECU students worked alongside third graders at local elementary schools, bagged recycled oyster shells, and assisted in soil sampling at a stormwater management site.
In addition, the central office also hosted a group from The Ohio State University. In their second year with the Coastal Federation, the Buck-I-SERV groups helped build a living shoreline, maintained a school rain garden and completed trail maintenance at the North River Wetland Preserve.
“Before spending my spring break working with the Coastal Federation, I was unaware of the importance of coastal conservation, I learned the importance of taking care of our coasts to improve the health of the ocean, which has a far reaching impact on our day to day lives. I also formed meaningful relationships with my fellow group members, who were complete strangers leading up to spring break,” noted Mitch Albyn, The Ohio State University.
In the southeast office a group of students from the service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega at James Madison University bagged oyster shells, planted marsh grasses, and worked around the grounds of the Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center. “This trip was one of the best weeks of my life. It impacted to me in so many ways, but I think the biggest thing I took away from it was hope for the future of our beautiful earth,” said Jane, a student volunteer from James Madison.
These student groups generously gave their time and the Coastal Federation is grateful for their efforts in helping to improve the N.C. coast. Visit our Facebook and Instagram accounts (@nccoastalfed) to see more photos and videos of this year’s groups in action.