The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Partnership (APNEP) announced grant awards today for two projects that will advance environmental engagement and stewardship in the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine region, which encompasses part of eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia.
An independent review committee of environmental education and outreach professionals selected the projects through a competitive evaluation and ranking process. The selected projects support APNEP’s mission to identify, protect, and restore the significant resources of the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system, and specifically address multiple actions in the partnership’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. In addition, both projects support implementation of APNEP’s Memorandum of Understanding with Virginia to collaboratively address environmental issues in the shared river basins between the two states that flow into Albemarle Sound. Details about each project follow:
The Friends of North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences was awarded funds to support the Museum in continuing their “Shad in the Classroom” program. The program engages students in hands-on learning about American Shad and North Carolina’s river basins. It is also designed to foster an appreciation and understanding of the natural world, as well as to inspire the next generation of biologists and conservationists. The program will train teachers to facilitate classroom learning about water quality, American Shad ecology, riverine and coastal ecosystems, and careers in science. The project will also consist of workshops for teachers and field experiences for students.
The Friends of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to support the Museum. All Friends activities serve the broader goal of helping the Museum illuminate the natural world and inspire its conservation. The project will be led by Museum staff in partnership with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, North Carolina State University, and other partners.
Lynhaven River Now (LRNow) will create a resource guide and lesson plans for educators in southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina to increase knowledge about the unique history and natural resources of the region and connections of the shared waterways between the two states. There is a lack of resources geared towards the “Southern Watersheds” in Virginia Beach and the Pasquotank River Basin in North Carolina, and Virginia educators are often unaware that their waterways drain into Albemarle Sound and not the Chesapeake Bay. The project will increase knowledge of the connections to the Albemarle-Pamlico estuarine system and the shared waterways between the two states. The program will also consist of two unique, immersive teacher training experiences in the southern watersheds of Virginia Beach that flow into North Carolina’s Pasquotank River Basin and the Albemarle Sound.
LRNow is an environmental organization working across the city of Virginia Beach to remove pollutants from the waterways, educate and engage the population of the city, and restore and conserve riparian buffers, forested land, and oyster reefs. The project will be completed in partnership with False Cape State Park, Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, and various university researchers and environmental educators from Virginia and North Carolina.
“The estuaries of the Albemarle-Pamlico region are a national treasure” said Dr. Bill Crowell, the Director of APNEP. “We are very pleased to support these partners working to promote stewardship of the watersheds that flow into Albemarle-Pamlico sounds, including our shared waterways with Virginia.”
APNEP is one of 28 National Estuary Programs funded by the Environmental Protection Agency and is hosted by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality in collaboration with the Commonwealth of Virginia. APNEP has supported over 90 education and outreach projects, including over 40 outdoor education and conservation initiatives, since 2002. More information regarding engagement and stewardship in the AP Sounds region can be found here: https://apnep.nc.gov/our-work/outreach-and-engagement