Hayley’s semester with The North Carolina Coastal Federation!

Hello, I’m Hayley and for the past few months I’ve been interning with the North Carolina Coastal Federation. I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the staff of the Coastal Federation, but worked more closely with my mentor Leslie Vegas. Leslie Vegas works on the Ocean Friendly Establishments project and this was my primary project that I worked on with my time at my internship. When I first got to my internship, I learned about the different plant-based plastics. I got to see all of the products within the eco-products brand and was also educated about the downsides to plant-based plastics. This led me to one of my first projects in my internship. I made an infographic that outlined the differences between plant-based plastics and PET plastics, which is one of the most common forms of plastic. 

The infographic outlined the differences in production, environmental health and disposal. The purpose of this infographic is to be distributed and shown to restaurants and businesses that are being recruited to join the Ocean Friendly Establishments program in order to educate them on plastics. I also wrote a small paper about the differences between these plastics in order to emphasize that plant-based plastics can also be harmful to the environment, and that instead of searching for alternatives, it is more environmentally friendly to reduce plastic consumption overall. 

Another task I completed was creating infographics that communicated the harmful impacts of different single-use plastics. The three I completed were plastic bags, plastic straws and styrofoam. These are also intended to be shown to businesses to communicate the harms of plastics, in order to encourage a reduction in their business. Not only did I complete infographics for the Ocean Friendly Establishments program, I also went with Leslie to visit two locations for the program. One place we went was Jack Browns which is a burger restaurant near the beach. We delivered to them their certification and checked that they met the standards. We also went to Moms sweet shop to deliver to them paperwork to join the program. 

In addition to working on the OFE project, I also worked some on the NC Oyster Trail, and researched oyster trails in other states in order to learn about what we can do similarly in North Carolina. Additionally, I made a newsletter about plastics at my time at my internship. 

Overall, I learned so much from my time with the NC Coastal Federation and I would like to thank Leslie for being a wonderful mentor and providing me with experience. 

Another week in paradise!

This past week was a pretty typical week, but that does not mean that we did not make it a fun one! This Monday we had our internships, and I am interning at the Coastal Federation this semester. On Mondays, we start off our day by attending the weekly staff meeting. At our meetings, we go around saying what we accomplished last week, and what we are looking forward to working on in the coming week. After our meeting, Leslie and I met about a graphic I made last week on plastics. She told me about other graphics she wanted me to do and also edits I could make on my current graphic. After my day of internship, I got to stay at the Coastal Federation because our CAB meeting was there this week! We set up stations upstairs and downstairs and split up between them. Each station represented our three different questions that we are addressing in our capstone project. After getting our delicious Buddha Bowls, I went to my respective station. I was the water quality station, which was responsible for talking about how we took water quality samples and showing them an example of a sample that we took. We had a water quality sample from our first sampling day, and we showed them what it looked like under the black light, and how to tell the total colony-forming bacteria. They gave us some really good feedback and it was a very helpful (and yummy) meeting.

The photo above shows Emma at our CAB meeting. The rest of the week was pretty typical, we went to class on Tuesday and learned a lot of new and interesting things, and Wednesday was our internships again. On Thursday, we had a guest speaker to our class, Terri Kirby Hathaway. She taught us about sand and all the different types and shapes. She even showed us fossilized ghost crabs! After class that day we made a group dinner, breakfast for dinner! I was responsible for making the veggie sausage for all of us vegetarians. Below is a picture of the finished product! We had sausage, eggs, pancakes, hash browns, fruit salad and roasted vegetables. We are going to try and make it a tradition to do a themed group dinner every Thursday. Although this week contained no fancy field trips, it was still amazing to have another week bonding with some really cool people and learning from great professors!