Anna-Gray’s Semester at Island Farm

Hi! I’m Anna-Gray, a junior at UNC, and I had my internship this semester with Island Farm. Island Farm is a site under the Outer Banks Conservationists, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people of the Outer Banks’ rich history while also working to conserve and preserve historical sites and land in OBX. (Check them out:!! My wonderful mentor is Ladd Bayliss, Island Farm’s director. Island Farm and Ladd were the perfect matches for my future interests and goals. Speaking of goals, my goals for the semester at Island Farm were to make an organizational plan of what gets planted at the farm, and to create different activities for NC Schools for when students visit!

My first project was to create agricultural and organizational plans for the farm. I did this by making different charts that had crop information and logging information that included what, when and where crops were grown on the farm. This project was fun for me because everything had to be historically accurate for the site time period (1847), and I got to explore my interest in sustainable agriculture. This project was like dipping my toe in the pool of agriculture and now I am ready to jump in!

The second project I worked on was to help create lesson plans for when students come to visit the site! I am still currently working on this project as I put the final touches on lessons for different grade levels, all while making sure what we teach them matches up with the NC Public School Systems curriculum. I  enjoyed this project because I got to tap into my creative side to make fun, engaging, and interesting activities to help students learn about life in Manteo in 1847.

I have had so much fun at Island Farm! My favorite part of the internship was my “farm-time”. Farm-time happened every morning on internship days and was the time I spent on the farm planting crops and helping out where needed. I would be surrounded by over a dozen squawking chickens while I got to get my hands dirty planting different crops and completing other farm chores. I also enjoyed feeding Roxy the cow. Roxy’s favorite snack to munch on was sweet potatoes grown from the farm. (Also, I once had to clean out Roxy’s bed and bathroom area!)


Overall, my days were filled with farm-fresh eggs, Alphie the farm cat, and lots of fresh and interesting history. Island Farm is a place where I got to explore some of my main interests and a place where I got to disconnect from the world and reconnect with the Earth. Thank you to all the teachers, Corey, and Ladd for making this such a positive experience!





Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (Dredge Material)

This semester I’ve been interning with the northeast office of the North Carolina Coastal Federation! The nonprofit works to accomplish its five goals of improving coastal resiliency through grant-based projects. I have been working with Michael Flynn, NCCF’s coastal advocate on my project studying beneficial use of dredge material.

Beautiful view from the office.

Every Monday morning, we have a group staff meeting where everyone updates each other on what they have been working on and what they plan to work on in the coming week. There, I get to learn a little more about the work that each of the other staff members are focusing on.

My project was looking at an overview of beneficial use of dredge material to create a paper and presentation. I began by looking at the policies of dredging and disposal of the waste product and from there moved to databasing all the available disposal sites in North Carolina. I then did a literature review and annotated bibliography of all the relevant studies looking at beneficial use. I also spoke with some people involved with pilot projects to learn more about the types of beneficial use projects currently being implemented.

Right before beginning to write the paper, Michael and I spoke to some industry professionals about the possibility of an area on Hatteras Island that could use dredge material beneficially. I was able to include this in my paper in hopes that Dare County can use my information to make a case for the implementation of the project.

I learned a lot about this up-and-coming topic in the environmental world! There is so much that can come out of dredge material and as a coastal state with a lot of dredging activity, dredge material is a wonderful resource.

Connor’s Semester at Quible and Associates, P.C.

My name is Connor Badgett, and I’m a senior at UNC Chapel Hill majoring in Environmental Science. My internship this semester was with Quible & Associates, P.C., an environmental consulting firm in Powells Point, NC. President of Quible, Warren Eadus, was my mentor this semester and he had me dabble in many of their projects to get an understanding of the variety of work they do.

The firm does environmental assessments, as well as engineering work, to determine if an area can be developed for any number of purposes. One such project I worked on multiple times was to assess an area of the Neuse River Estuary to see if it is suitable for a marina.

To do this, we monitored water quality parameters like turbidity, chlorophyll-a content, and dissolved oxygen. A certain dissolved oxygen content needs to be maintained for the health of the environment, so monitoring helps to establish a baseline. The marina needs to be dredged so larger boats can enter, so we also collected cores of the sediment to determine how dredging would be done and what could be done with the resulting dredge spoils.

On the left, you can see how we collected the cores. We used a long aluminum rod and vibrated it into the ground using a machine called a vibracore. The resultant core is pictured on the right. We split the cores and determined soil types using a Munsell soil color chart and estimates of texture by feel. On the right, you can see different layers of soil. The black area represents a fire. Further down, you can see remnants of an ancient seabed called marl. Collecting this material allowed us to determine that the dredge spoils will not usable for other purposes. For this project, we also collected long-term weather data using a weather station, some of which I logged into a spreadsheet for future use. The marina is still in the permitting process, but our work will help decide if this location is viable.

Warren also wanted me to do Hazwoper training, a shortening for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response. The training covers a multitude of topics about how to handle many types of hazardous waste, and how to avoid work-related injuries and other potentially dangerous work conditions. This will be beneficial to have for my own personal safety and is something I can add to my resume.

I really enjoyed working with Quible and their excellent staff. The internship allowed me to see many different types of projects, acquire field experience, and see how an environmental consulting firm office operates. There was a good mix of field and office experience. In the field, I did things like take notes, assist with set up and collection of samples and information, and perform tasks like bailing wells and driving vibracores into the ground. In the office, I assisted with data entry and analysis, and did my Hazwoper training.

I would recommend this internship to any student interested in doing environmental consulting work who likes doing both data analysis in the office and collection in the field. Just to warn you, it is a 45-minute drive but it’s well worth it!


Halloween in OBX

This October 31st aka the best day of spooky season I got to experience Halloween in the Outer Banks. My biggest revelation of this night was that Manteo really knows how to throw a party! We put on our costumes, drove downtown and walked around the Halloween-themed street fair that had been set up. We went on a hay ride, ate cotton candy and listened to some cool tunes. Overall, a fun night complete with lots and lots of candy (: ‘tis the spooky season

The last couple weeks we have been continuing our data collection for the capstone, including interviews with property owners, researchers, public officials and septic professionals. I got the opportunity to sample water during a rare rainy day in OBX. I can’t say it was the best day I’ve had here, but I enjoyed getting experience sampling water and working with my awesome team. We even got some B roll to use in the podcast.

This past Monday evening was our CAB meeting, which was at Johanna’s where we had an oyster roast, ate some BOMB vegetarian chili, and presented to the board about our research. Although I’m a vegetarian, I decided to try the oysters, in part because I had never shucked an oyster and wanted to have the experience so I could brag to my friends later. I shucked about five oysters, which was a huge accomplishment and something I may put on my resume later. (:

Halloween in downtown Manteo

Overall my last few months in the Outer Banks have been some of the most memorable times I’ve had. Although I am from North Carolina, I did not grow up in a small town, and finally getting the chance to live in a small community has really opened my eyes to the unique experience of living in a town like Manteo. I can honestly say one of the things I will miss most about Manteo, and about Roanoke Island, is the sense of community people have and something I’ve come to recognize myself. In towns like Chapel Hill, people and faces tend to blend together and it can be hard to recognize any sense of place. But on Roanoke Island there’s a feeling of comfort and security in the knowledge that everyone here has ties to their community and their neighbors, and makes an effort to help make Roanoke Island feel even more like home.