Are you ready for OBX? (Recommend You Try These Things)

Living a new place can be both overwhelming and exciting! Here’s how you can make the best out of your time while in the Outer Banks.


The first thing you should do is decorate your space. It’ll make you feel at home and can also be your sanctuary for when you need some alone time. If you’re missing something or want something new for your space, then you should thrift! There’s sooo many items that you can thrift and can find some awesome antique on the island too!



Don’t feel too pressured, but here’s a quote to abide by. “The warmer the island, the more tourists and more places are open.” As soon as the tourist season is over, there’ll be less places open. Therefore, you’ll want to get going quick to visit the fun-summer places, but no worries.. there are things to do during the winter months too..

Late Summer Activities

  • Ocean.. ocean.. OCEAN
  • Jet Skiing

Fall – Winter Activities


Dust off your heavy coats! The Polar Vortex has fractured?!

What is a Polar Vortex?
Unfortunately, it’s not a new teleportation device that’ll ship us all to Mars. According to the National Weather Service, a polar vortex is a “large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles.” The term vortex actually refers to the counterclockwise flow of the air. This rotation purposefully keeps the colder air near the poles.

(Also, the vortex is high in the atmosphere, just doing its thing… swirling around.)
(Note: This process has always existed. Take-out your bingo card for things school didn’t teach you.)

What does the fractured, Polar Vortex look like?
We’ve all seen the news filled with articles on the record-breaking temperatures sweeping the nation, but what are the scientists saying? Judah Cohen, a researcher at Atmospheric and Environmental Research in Boston, and polar vortex expert, exclaimed “I think we’re seeing the impacts already… the first order impact [of a vortex split] is that you slow the west to east flow [of air] and add more of a north-south component,” or a weakening of the jet streams. (Washington Post) Jet Streams are the strong west to eastward winds that contain the arctic air at the poles. The weakening of the jet streams means that we’ll see less convection, or energy transfer of molecules. This means seasons will continue to vary and become sporadic globally.

In shorter words, the Southern U.S. (and other places) is going to continue to get smacked with COLD-ARTIC AIR as the atmosphere continues to warm.

Can we fix our polar vortex?
According to the big wigs (scientist), the current assumption is that the polar vortex is broken due to the arctic sea-ice loss. We’ve heard of this phenomena as a result of Earth’s atmosphere warming, or global warming. Therefore, climate change cannot simply be explained as things are getting hotter. It should be explained that the atmosphere is going through unusual changes due to the increased levels of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels. This is why we’re seeing issues relating to harsher conditions (extreme hot or cold) because the entire ecosystem (air, water, plants, humans , animals, etc.) is connected to each other.

What are effects of the polar vortex or climate change that I care the most about?

For one, I live in the south and North Carolina is a huge growing state. I’m very into growing and eating fresh foods. The foundation to growing food and being able to supplement our growing population is having nutrient-rich soil at optimal levels. With climate change, there’s an increase in CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), which leads to the warming of the Earth. In order to decrease the global carbon budget decomposers within the soil must be taken into consideration because they’re aiding plants ability to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. Decomposers are controlled by a hierarchy of three different components: climate > quality of dead plant material > soil organisms (bacteria, bugs, worms, etc). (Aerts) Decomposition is extremely temperature sensitive, therefore, when it’s colder we’re going to see significantly less decomposition as compared to warmer climates. Additionally, researchers have found that when there’s less snow due to the rising temperatures then there will be less nitrogen retention.  In the future, there will be an increase N2O (nitrogen oxide) and CO2 (carbon dioxide) leaving the snow. Snow is a critical component for maintaining the nutrients within the soil. Snow prevents the soil from freezing and provides the ground with moisture. If the climate continues to become warmer, we’ll see a decrease in seasonality which can stress the temperature sensitives microbes that live within the soil leading to deaths. (Reynolds) Still, more research has to be done in order to fully understand these systems.The changes in soil composition affecting the landscape is can be determined by vegetation response as well as soil moisture and temperature. Unfortunately, it’ll take at least two decades for researchers to be able to fully determine the responses present in ecosystems because the current negative and positive feedback to climate change are minimal.

Hopefully, this gave a fresh look on climate change as it pertains to the extreme cold. Take some time to think about the changes you’ve witness in your environment.

Work Cited

Aerts, R. “The Freezer Defrosting: Global Warming and Litter Decomposition Rates in Cold Biomes.” Journal of Ecology, vol. 94, no. 4, 2006, pp. 713–724., doi:10.1111/j.1365-2745.2006.01142.x.

Reynolds, Lorien L., et al. “Soil Respiration Response to Climate Change in Pacific Northwest Prairies Is Mediated by a Regional Mediterranean Climate Gradient.” Global Change Biology, vol. 21, no. 1, 2014, pp. 487–500., doi:10.1111/gcb.12732.

US Department of Commerce, and Noaa. “What Is the Polar Vortex?” National Weather Service, NOAA’s National Weather Service, 27 Mar. 2018,

Washington Post, and Washington Post. “The Polar Vortex Has Fractured, and the Eastern   U.S. Faces a…” West Central Tribune, 16 Jan. 2019,

ENEC 324 and ENEC 489

Environmental + Entreprenurship = ??

Have you ever wondered wanted to go down a pathway where entrepreneurship meets environmentalism? Well look no further, this blog post is for you!

My name is Danesha Byron. I’m a senior at UNC studying Environmental Science, Geology and Anthropology. If I had my way, I’d say I study plants, water, and people. In the future, I’ve recently began to dream of opening my own recycling company where materials would be processed. I remember explaining to Corey Adams at the Coastal Studies Institute that I wanted to learn more about how trash is processed and how business/marketing is intertwined in this web. With this, I was able to obtain a valuable internship working with Herb Council at CanStandOBX. Herb Council is a former Wake County Commissioner and current marketing ambassador for the CanStand. His long-life love for protecting all environmental spaces is what made this internship enjoyable. The life lessons I learned while apart of this company will be carried forever.

Some of the fun things that I had the opportunity to do was meet politicians at the Town of Nags Head. I attempted to understand recycling systems as well as gain support for local municipalities to purchase the CanStand. I wasn’t able to gain support for purchasing, but I did learn a lot from these encounters.(See Local Government Section) Also, I was able to shoot, plan, and edit a video with the help of CSI staff and my friend from UNC.

I’d love to share some of the top things I learned while being apart of my internship:

Local Government
The waste management industry relies heavily on the local government to set ordinances and partnerships to ensure residents are receiving resources. Also, these resources are paid for through taxes if individuals live within the district. There’s small amount of funding for different initiatives, therefore, solving environmental issues around the barrier island quickly becomes limited. The most interesting thing that I’ve learned is that every local government runs differently. Although, Nags Head is less than 10 minutes away from Kill Devil Hills, the local municipalities aren’t ran the same way, yet face the same issue. I sat for hours reading through Nags Head policies to figure out how projects such as sanitation and the septic tank initiative were funded for. I truly believe these are facts that every citizen should know and ask questions about.

In the words of Herb Council, “you have to love what you’re doing and be self-motivated. Because there’s no one tell you what to do and how to make your money.” To be a business owner, you have to have a morning routine that starts your day off, such as prayer or even meditation. As we’ve all been told throughout our lives, practice makes perfect. Repetition, partnerships, and learning from your mistakes is what it takes to be successful in the business world.

By the end of the internship, I realized that the recycling industry was not for me. I’d rather focus on reducing plastic waste because there’s no where for the recycling products to go to. There’s not many businesses that are accepting plastic wastes, therefore, the chances of plastic waste ending up in landfills are high. Now, I have new goals. My first goal is to learn more about water quality and sanitation issues that affects natural ecosystems and humans. My second goal is to seek getting into politics. I always seen politics as something that I could never be into because they’re slow and I never see many people that look like me. After speaking to politicians, I’ve come to realize that people like me are needed that have backgrounds in various fields that can solve everyday issues.

There’s so many ways to combine entrepreneurship, politics, and the environment on the Outer Banks. The options for internships are endless and there’s so much room to grow. By the end of the internship, I was able to read policies and determine the inflow and outflow of funds from the Town of Nags Head. Then, formulate questions to ask local politicians to see which issues they cared the most about. Each town has cares that are highest on their lists and they’re willing to collaborate on long-term projects. Don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Hopefully, this post aids you in your journey. I often ask these questions: What are you willing to spend your life doing? What challenges have you faced that steered you along this pathway or changed your pathway? Are you willing to try something that’s out of your element?