Students from Down East Middle School and the Boys & Girls Club in Beaufort enjoyed outdoor activities and coastal education at Coastal Discovery Camp, which lasted from June 27 to June 29 in the Down East area of Carteret County. This camp was held in partnership between the North Carolina Coastal Federation and the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center.

The three-day camp invited kids from Down East to explore and enjoy all of the natural wonders of the area they call home. Students learned about keeping the coast healthy through fun, hands-on activities.

On Monday, the students learned about the federation’s 6,000-acre wetland restoration preserve at North River Farms. They enjoyed an afternoon on the water when they went kayaking in Cedar Island.


The campers were excited to meet the friendly dog and even used the opportunity to take a photo with him. Also pictured is Diana Yeames, federation volunteer, second from left and Teresa Everett, fourth from left, who is the education coordinator for the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum.

The day turned out to be even more exciting than anyone imagined when the group picked up a new camper — a dog that was found wandering in the road. After checking that the dog had tags and was friendly, the group brought him on the bus. They located the dog’s owner, who met them at the waterfowl museum on Harkers Island.

On Tuesday, the group participated in a macroinvertebrate pond study with a teacher from Down East Middle School.

“He got all these little macroinvertebrates from the pond, and had them in containers and they learned about how these animals can be indicators for water quality,” said Rachel Bisesi, education coordinator for the federation.

The group also had the opportunity to learn more about living shorelines. They learned that living shorelines reduce shoreline erosion while maintaining the natural functions and habitats of the shoreline. In addition to this, they used dip nets to search for critters in a salt marsh near the Cape Lookout National Seashore museum. 

On Wednesday, the group climbed the Cape Lookout Lighthouse and learned about barrier islands. The group enjoyed all of the outdoor activities that the camp had to offer, but Bisesi said they were especially excited to kayak and climb the lighthouse. She said working with the kids in the region was very rewarding experience.

“Throughout the camp, we had a great time exploring coastal habitats and learning more about what makes the Down East area so special,” Bisesi said. “Even though the camp was specifically for students who live Down East, some of them had never been to the sites we visited, and it was really rewarding to be able to provide them with those experiences and encourage a love of the environment surrounding them.”

Coastal Discovery Camp would not have been possible without the support of Walmart Neighborhood Market, Croatan Group of the North Carolina Sierra Club, Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP), Carteret-Craven Electric Cooperative and the Carlson Family Foundation. Thank you to all of our sponsors for giving kids the opportunity to learn more about Down East!

For more information about educational opportunities in your area, please visit our event calendar or visit

Check out some highlights from the week by clicking on the pictures below!