In October, students from Appalachian State University and Roanoke College visited the North Carolina Coastal Federation’s Wanchese office for cleanups on an adopted 2-mile stretch of N.C. 345.
Sara Hallas, coastal education coordinator for the Wanchese office, as well as Reilly Kelly, Wanchese AmeriCorps member, led these two programs.
The first group to visit was from Appalachian on Oct. 14. Twelve students spent the whole day cleaning up the highway. The group helped remove 32 bags of trash and recyclables while learning about the impact of marine debris and other restoration efforts in the region.
Appalachian has a partnership with Nags Head Nature Conservancy. Michael Catania, who was a member of the Appalachian group, said the conservancy put the group in contact with the federation.
“Locals would stop by and thank us for helping out and cleaning the road. It was a tremendous effort from everyone and truly an amazing experience for everyone involved,” Catania said. “It also gave us an even better, more well-rounded understanding of the importance of conservation in the Outer Banks. The Nags Head Woods Preserve and the Coastal Federation really taught us just how important seemingly small tasks are to the health and vitality of such significant habitats.”
Later that week, Kelly and Hallas led a group of seven volunteers from Roanoke College. This group collected six bags of trash and recyclables on the highway.
In addition to cleaning up the highway, the group from Roanoke College also did rain garden maintenance at the Wanchese and Manteo offices.
“We are so grateful to the college students that want to help clean up the coast,” Hallas said. “The federation hosts student groups year-round and we hope this work inspires other students to spend their time with us.”
For more information about volunteering, please visit nccoast.org/volunteer.