Science Club Serves Over Spring Break
Five biology students from the Chowan University Science Club participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip to the Outer Banks this March. The students were accompanied by Dr. Bo Dame, Assistant Professor of Biology & Physical Sciences.
The students stayed at the historic Pine Island Lodge on the northern Outer Banks, part of the Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Audubon Sanctuary and Center in Corolla. The Sanctuary encompasses approximately 3000 acres and protects a variety of critical coastal habitats including maritime forest and relic dunes, permanent and ephemeral ponds, marshes, creeks and open water. The sanctuary is an internationally significant site for migrating birds, particularly waterfowl, and provides refuge for a host of other species.More information on the Audubon Sanctuary can be found at http://pineisland.audubon.org.
“I wanted to help the Audubon group. They are renovating the old hunting lodge, a garage and some small buildings they also have on the land so that interns and other people who are helping can stay at their site,” offered sophomore volunteer Charles Blackburn of Wingate, NC. “They are about protecting many species of birds including waterfowl, and when more interns can stay at the site, they can help maintain the upkeep of bird count, help bring in more money to keep the Audubon going, and help make more internships available.”
Students assisted Audubon staff at Pine Island with site maintenance, debris pick-up and removal, and clearing vegetation.
“It was a good accomplishment because we all worked together as a team,” said Blackburn, who majors in Environmental Biology. “When we started working, we all figured out a system. We had cleaned the garage by the end of the day and the owners were quite ecstatic. It felt good to help, knowing that Audubon helps with protecting the birds and knowing that they want to have more room for more internship opportunities.”
Students also assisted staff of the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve. The students worked at the Currituck Banks site just north of Corolla which encompasses approximately 1000 acres and protects important habitat from the ocean beach to the marshes in Currituck Sound. More information can be found at www.nccoastalreserve.net/web/crp/currituck-banks.
“The student’s main task was to help establish a rain garden which will provide a storm water management system for the site’s parking facility,” explained Professor Dame. “They also assisted with invasive plant species removal, and debris pick-up and removal.”
The trip was not just work for the students. They also got to visit the various coastal habitats, including a ride along the beach in the 4-wheel drive area north of Corolla, and learned about the processes that create and shape the Outer Banks. And, of course, there was time for some fun in the sun and sand!