More fun times in the OBX!

It’s a chilly November, but things are heating up here at the Outer Banks field site! We’ve shifted gears to focus on finals for our classes and start our products (the paper and podcast) for our Capstone project. We’re also starting to wrap up our internships!

Last Thursday, we did presentations about our internships, and I really enjoyed hearing about the work everyone’s been doing this semester! There are so many cool and interesting jobs for Environmental Studies majors, and it was great to hear and learn about some of them. It’s definitely made me more confident about graduating and finding a job!

We’ve been doing some fun things recently, too! This past Friday, we took a field trip to O’Neal’s Sea Harvest, which is a seafood wholesale business that includes a restaurant where customers can try the freshly caught seafood. I had a soft crab BLT, and it was delicious! Probably the tastiest thing I ate that week. I also had a chance to try their loaded shrimp baked potato and fried Mahi strips, which were excellent. I think that O’Neal’s may have been my favorite food experience of the semester so far (with the oyster roast at Johanna’s as a close runner-up)! 

Blue crabs waiting to be shipped. Yum!
So many shrimp heads!

We learned a lot about fisheries on the field trip, as well. Sara Mirabilio from the NC Sea Grant showed us around the seafood processing facility and taught us a lot about how fisheries are managed and regulated, as well as some fun facts about seafood! For example, I had no idea that soft crabs are not a separate species of crab, but are actually blue crabs that are harvested after molting, when they are still soft. In addition, they have to be sold live, and are refrigerated so that they stay in a state of stasis before being sold. Sara, thanks so much for showing us around the fish house and teaching us about it!

More fish!

This semester in the Outer Banks has been my favorite in college so far. I feel that I’ve learned much about living on the coast and gained a lot of extremely valuable experiences in the field of Environmental Studies. I’m so thankful to our teachers, internship mentors, CAB, and everyone else who’s worked to make this semester so successful and fun!

Avery’s Semester with Dare County Soil & Water

Hi! I’m Avery and this semester I interned with Dare County’s Soil and Water Conservation District. The District does a lot of important work for Dare County, including providing community assistance programs for low-impact development and agriculture, determining best practices about stormwater management and conservation, and providing educational outreach about conservation for the community. With the help of my excellent mentor Ann, I worked on several outreach projects this semester during my internship! 

The first outreach project we did was at the Secotan farmer’s market. I created a game about ecosystem services (the wheel in the pictures), and Ann and I told customers at the market about the importance of stormwater management, as well as distributed outreach materials. Ann’s son Lewis came with us as well, and I think he had a blast drawing pictures and playing with the other kids at the market!

For my second outreach project, I partnered with Dare County’s 4H program and the Coastal Federation to create a series of three after school programs called Wonderful Wetlands. In the first two sessions, we played games and learned about the water cycle and the ecological importance of wetland ecosystems! So far, there is still one session left (coming up this Wednesday, 11/13!), and we’ll be learning about low-impact development. A big thanks to Paige Fuselier at 4H and Sara Hallas at the Coastal Fed for making these programs possible!

The final project I’ll be working on is creating a few posters for the Soil & Water District, to be used at outreach events in the future. I want to focus on what the District does and the many available community assistance programs, as well as how to apply for them! 

Altogether, this internship was a great experience and it presented many opportunities to give back to the community through education! I’m very thankful to Ann for making the experience so valuable and for teaching me so much!