An Environmental Education Grant
Through EPA for FFMS 8th Grade Science
EPA Grant Funds Local Groups for FFMS 8th Grade Science
The NC Coastal Federation teamed up with Jockey's Ridge State Park and First Flight Middle School 8th grade science thanks to funding support from an environmental education grant from the EPA.
On November 14th FFMS 8th grade students and teachers braved the chilly temperatures and ventured out to Jockey's Ridge for a day of exploring their watershed. They learned how to identify beach combing finds with Terri Kirby Hathaway from NC Sea Grant, they got to feel animal skins and furs from native mammals and learned why these animals depend on this habitat for survival from Kelly Ondek from the Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education. Mike and Kalina, interns from the Nature Conservancy at Nags Head Woods challenged the students on animal adaptations, including the importance of camouflage. They contemplated how the dune formed at Jockey's Ridge and learned about geological changes from Patrick Gamman, with the National Park Service. The students hiked the dune with Jockey's Ridge State Park ranger, Justin Barnes, and learned that the park was established in 1975 by a very dedicated environmental activist. 
The students explored an established marsh restoration project with staff from the federation's Manteo office where they learned how to identify native grasses with Erin Fleckenstein, water quality impacts from Sara Hallas, and discovered new juvenile species with Ladd Bayliss.  The students also got to meet commercial fisherman Dewey Hemilright and got to see shark jaws, a swordfish bill, commercial grade fishing hooks and bait, and more. Captain Dewey set up a display of oysters from the restoration project to show how much aquatic habitat the oysters create. After opening a bag of oyster shells from the water students discovered many different organisms from mud crabs, fish, and even an eel!
Also assisting with the field trip were Rhana Paris from the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island and Jennifer McNinch with the Friends of Jockey's Ridge State Park.