by Danielle Herman and Caroline Lamb

Rain gardenCAPE CARTERET — Two Russians stood in the bed of trailer filled with oyster shells, shoveling the shells into buckets. Others stood by, ready to carry the heavy buckets, two at a time, down the steep slope and through the mud to the newly restored salt marsh outside of Cape Carteret Presbyterian Church.

It was a typical June afternoon in this small community in western Carteret County: hot, humid, heavy clouds hanging in the air with the threat of rain — the type of afternoon that keeps local residents locked indoors with the air conditioning.

But the Russians, who are part of an environmental group called Environmental Watch on the North Caucasus, or EWNC, in Krasnodar Krai near the Black Sea, were undaunted by the heat, bringing down bucket after bucket of shells to the tidal creek until they had used all the shells in the trailer. As they worked, two took off their shirts to cool down and others rolled up their sleeves. But no one ever slowed down.

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