Whether it’s hands-on in a classroom, on an informational cruise, presenting to a community group or mentoring an intern our educators are in the field helping bring the science of the coast to life. Here are just a few of the ways we are helping to develop knowledge of our coastal environment and an appreciation for the need to preserve these vital habitats.

For more information on any of these programs, please contact one of our educators below.


Our hands-on classroom programs are designed to support your school district’s science curriculum. Whether you’re studying coastal habitats, water quality or wildlife, our presentations will enrich learning and inspire stewardship.

Our current curriculum features lessons on:

In the Community
education in the field

Earthwise Farm

This small community farm started by the federation is dedicated to helping people learn how to grow food while protecting the coastal waters.


The YouthBuild program is run by River City Community Development Corporation and provides economically disadvantaged youth with education and employment skills through opportunities for meaningful work in their communities.

The federation provides training to YouthBuild participants on low-impact development techniques and enhancements to their campus rain garden.

Teaching the Teachers

Our educators occasionally conduct professional development trainings for formal K-12 classroom teachers. Public school teacher training programs serve as opportunities for enriched learning and reinforcement of crucial lessons. The federation’s educators are experts in teaching about watersheds and the importance of the estuary through hands-on techniques.

Education Beyond the Schools

Each year, we host several workshops, summits or trainings geared toward adults. Many of these workshops focus on better educating the community about coastal resources and how to protect them. Some are geared toward community members, while others offer specific information and training useful to engineers, contractors, land surveyors and other professions. Each summer, the Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center hosts a speaker series, and in the past, Coastal Review Online has hosted a training session for journalists covering coastal issues.


Service Projects

The federation welcomes many high school students and college groups each year. They help us with our restoration, education and other projects and we help them with community service credits, senior projects and alternative spring breaks. The net result makes the coast a better place.


Join the Coastal Advocacy Institute this summer!

This is a hands-on, fully immersive program. You will dive headfirst into local, state and national policy, restoration and education issues in which the federation engages.

Meet Our Educators
Rachel Bisesi

Coastal Education Coordinator

Rachel, from Pine Level, North Carolina, joined the federation in 2013 after volunteering for several years. She holds a Master of Science in coastal marine and wetland studies from Coastal Carolina University and a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Previously, Rachel worked as an educator in multiple coastal education centers, as a marine research technician and as a state park naturalist. Her background lies in linking coastal environments with education and outreach.

Sara Hallas

Coastal Education Coordinator

Before joining the federation in 2008, Sara worked as a special activities instructor at the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island. She holds a Bachelor of Science in biology along with a minor in dance from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. Sara leads outreach programs from the northeast office and has organized a network of local environmental educators. She’s a certified Environmental Educator in North Carolina and was recently awarded a Conservation Communicator Award. When she’s not working to protect the coast, Sara stays active in the community teaching dance and physical fitness.

Ted Wilgis

Coastal Education Coordinator

Ted joined the federation in 1997, coming from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, where he managed and developed education programs around the Bay and a watershed planning initiative for the Nanticoke River. He leads the education program in the federation’s southeast office, and he designs and implements oyster habitat restoration, living shoreline and stormwater reduction projects. Previously, he served as the Cape Fear Coastkeeper® for five years and as the federation’s education director. Ted holds a Bachelor of Arts in zoology from Connecticut College and a Coast Guard captain’s license, and he is currently enrolled in the marine biology graduate program at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.