Reaching New Audiences Through Touch Tank Tuesday

The power of all people of diverse backgrounds coming together can make transformational differences in our communities. In a healthy estuarine ecosystem, there is a wide diversity of plants and animals that all play an important role in maintaining that balance. So is true in the people that work to protect and restore our coast.

Making environmental education accessible to underserved and marginalized communities helps to prevent future environmental injustices. One of the ways we worked towards diversity, equity, and inclusion this summer was through our Touch Tank Tuesday program.

Bonnie Mitchell, Coastal Education Coordinator relayed, “The most rewarding aspect of this program was educating and engaging with the students and participants that joined us from Voyage & DC Virgo, Lake Forest Academy, Young Scientist Academy, and Empower Wilmington. We are honored to have been able to work with these great organizations that go above and beyond to serve our untapped youth.”

We are already eager for next summer’s Touch Tank Tuesday programs to begin and are looking forward to finding even more ways to reach new groups and organizations.

A Recap of the 2022 Pelican Awards and Taste of the Coast

It’s hard to believe but this year’s Pelican Awards and Taste of the Coast has already come and gone, but what a night August 6th was!

We are beyond grateful for everyone that was able to join us in this year’s special celebration. We not only had the chance to honor our very deserving coastal stewards with Pelican Awards but we also commemorated the Coastal Federation’s 40th anniversary.

Northeast Winners: Angie Wills, Cyndy Holda, Ivy Cage | Central Winners: City of Jacksonville Stormwater Division,
Mary-Margaret McKinny, Beaufort, Havelock, Morehead City (Sunshine Lady) Boys & Girls Clubs of the Coastal Plain |
Southeast Winners: Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol Unit, Jason & Beverly Simas, Shuckin’ Shack Oyster Bar, Surf City, Davis Canal Marsh Cleaners of Oak Island | Coastwide Winners: Susan Hill, North Carolina Department of Transportation Hydraulics Unit, Don Ensley

The evening was full of amazing local oysters from 8 area growers, a wonderful silent auction, and a raffle. Thank you to all who attended, and we hope you’ll take the time to take a look at our winners whose contributions to our organization and most importantly our coast are invaluable. We hope you all had as amazing of a time as we did, but if we missed you at this year’s big event we hope you’ll take a minute to fill out this survey

Field Trips to Cape Lookout National Seashore

The summer is flying by and our educators have been hard at work taking many different groups of students out for educational field trips.

In our central region, Coastal Educator Rachel Bisesi recently had the chance to take two groups of teens from local Boys and Girls Clubs out to Cape Lookout National Seashore.

The Beaufort and Morehead City Club teens joined us in late July, and the New Bern Club teens joined us for the trip in early August!

These students had the opportunity to learn about the different dynamics of barrier islands and the habitats on those islands. They also learned about marine debris, living shorelines, oysters, and our estuaries.

They even got to visit the lighthouse museum, put their feet in the sand on the ocean side of the island and explore the estuary. Another part of their trip has these students doing a lesson on biological sampling using a simple net for some catch-and-release fun. Our team loves getting to host these different field trips and providing this important environmental education!

The Town of Surf City and the Coastal Federation Team-Up

Recently the Town of Surf City along with the Sandbar Oyster Company and the Coastal Federation came together to build a 200-foot living shoreline at Soundside Park in Surf City.

We are thrilled to see additional communities choosing an environmentally friendly way of stabilizing their shorelines from erosion, while also creating habitats for oysters, and other creatures to thrive. Funding for this project came from state appropriations from the North Carolina General Assembly.

Installing Living Shoreline at Surf City, NC with NC Coastal Federation, the City of Surf City and Sand Bar Oyster Co. Photo by Alan Cradick, August 15, 2022.
Installing Living Shoreline at Surf City, NC with NC Coastal Federation, the City of Surf City and Sand Bar Oyster Co. Photo by Alan Cradick, August 15, 2022.

Tracy Skrabal, Coastal Scientist with the Federation explained the significance of this project. “The Surf City Living Shoreline Project reflects the support of the NC General Assembly in furthering the coastwide adoption of living shoreline techniques. Partnerships and projects such as these provide successful, cost-effective alternatives to traditional hardening approaches such as bulkheads. It is a true win-win for our communities and the health of our estuaries.”

Look Back on Saving Important Areas from Landfills

The Federation led a campaign that resulted in the passage of the Solid Waste Management Act of 2007. The bill nixed several mega-landfills that were planned for the coast in low-income and minority rural communities. It also established new environmental protections to safeguard surface waters and wetlands.

The bill established new environmental protections to safeguard surface waters and wetlands. Landfill opponent and Federation board member Veronica Carter said in a 2007 WWAY interview that, “Sims Hugo Neu pulled out voluntarily. There’s absolutely nothing preventing them from deciding to come back if a moratorium or bill is not in place to stop them.”  Noting the importance of the Act.