Coastal North Carolina is comprised of over 4,700 miles of estuarine, sound, and riverine shoreline and ~320 miles of oceanfront shoreline. As a result, the coastal zone of North Carolina is rich in history and plays a significant role in the economic, environmental, and recreational life of the State. Central to the course goals are an examination of the coastal, sound, and estuarine environments of North Carolina and investigation of related management issues through field-immersion.
Students travel over 1,100 miles to a variety of locally important destinations which included state parks, state and national coastal reserve locations, national wildlife refuges, national seashores and privately owned conservation areas. They learn about the complicated nature of science and policy in today’s political climate. Some highlights of the trip include visiting five of the eight lighthouses in North Carolina, kayaking in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, visiting Ocracoke Island, and kayaking to Shackleford Banks and Cape Lookout National Seashore. One of the main takeaways from this entire trip has been learning how different organizations manage similar resources on the North Carolina Coast.
Throughout the week, students meet with current researchers, restoration experts, planners, and other stakeholders who shape the coastal governance landscape. Examining issues through multiple lenses while balancing priorities are part of the unique experiences gained traveling between Outer Banks destinations. Students are not required to have had any camping or paddling experience so valuable opportunities to gain new skills and practice teamwork are present from start to finish.
The MCOP program's mission is to seek creative, scientifically sound solutions to the coastal and ocean governance problems through relevant research, regional engagement, and the education of future leaders committed to advancing the wise stewardship of coastal and ocean resources. The NCCIE course provides the most comprehensive and unique opportunity to connect students with real-world applications of theories discussed in UNCW classrooms. As the course traditions progress, current MCOP cohorts and alumni end up with shared experiences and more opportunities to maintain connections.
By donating to this cause, you are enabling students' participation in a cornerstone experience for Coastal and Ocean Policy, Public Administration, Environmental Studies and other graduate fields of study. Financial contributions help to pay student fees, buy program supplies, and much more. Every gift to our project also counts toward Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW, including the goal of securing 60,000 alumni gifts.
The invaluable experiences and learning outcomes take a considerable amount of planning and your generous donation will assuredly aid a successful and fun program for students. Thank you!
University-related travel is subject to all UNCW travel restrictions and protocols. If students are unable to travel due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19, all funds raised will still be utilized to support the team and any future travel. For the latest information, visit uncw.edu/bestnest.