The North Carolina Coastal Federation teamed up with fourth grade students from Bogue Sound Elementary School to create living shoreline models demonstrating their value to the coastal environment. Rachel Bisesi, federation coastal education coordinator, worked with students and art teacher Emily Wikoff to kick off the project and teach the eager students about the importance of living shorelines.

After attending the fourth grade classes and teaching the students about estuaries, marine life and living shorelines, Bisesi and Wikoff introduced the students to the project. In groups of three to five, the fourth graders were to create their own living shoreline models, or assemblages, from everyday materials, such as dirt, rocks, shells and sand.

“I usually work with students in their science classroom, but really enjoyed switching things up and connecting this lesson to art. Art can help reinforce concepts that students are learning about in different subject areas and allows you to reach different types of learners,” said Bisesi.

“It was a great partnership that I hope we can continue for years to come.”

Other teachers at the school incorporated living shoreline and estuary lessons into their fourth grade curriculum as well. Due to the interdisciplinary nature of the project, students were better able to understand how living shorelines could prevent erosion by absorbing more wave energy through science experiments and literature.

“This is unlike any project that we’ve done this school year,” said Wikoff.

“This project is really helping to make a difference where we live and that really elevated it to another level for the students.”

Federation staff selected their top four assemblages and one of them was displayed at the Emerald Isle St. Patrick’s Day Festival.

The top assemblages were created by Aiden Wilson, William Wilkinson, Kiara Teran and Morgan Turbeville from Faith Adamson’s class; Natalie Gomez, Bladen Thompson, Bennett Beaupre and Kelli Faison from Faith Adamson’s class; Bennett Asperin, Maritzel Perez-DeLa Cruz, Cameron Sable and Emma Cannon from Robin Bass’ class; and Luke Padgett, Alex Simonds, Landon Munoz-Rios and Izzy Lamb from Robin Bass’ class.

All four models are now on display at the federation’s headquarters office in Ocean.

Watch this video to learn more about the project: