I’m excited to start the new year with this winter issue of CoastLines. With every New Year comes new plans, expectations, and, of course, New Year’s resolutions - some personal, others focused more on the professional side. Yes, I’d like to lose 10 pounds, spend more time with family and friends, get in the water more, and maybe learn to play guitar. I certainly will get to some of those, but maybe not all (I’ve been talking about learning the guitar for years). It’s important to set goals and think about areas of growth. I spent some of the holiday break doing just that for our organization.
Integrated Coastal Programs (ICP) had a great 2019 - a year of growth for ECU’s Coastal Enterprise. The addition of five new tenure-track and two fixed-term faculty located full-time at the Coastal Campus has more than doubled our faculty in ICP and at the coast! This is an incredible move forward, but we aren’t going to rest on our laurels – it’s a brand-new year! If 2019 was our year of faculty growth, then 2020 will be the year to begin undergraduate and graduate student growth at the coast.
As this newsletter goes “to press”, we are welcoming the first ECU undergraduates to the Outer Banks Campus for the entire spring semester with a full load of coastal-focused experiential courses and the opportunity for independent research and internships. Partnering with several departments across campus, we have been able to create an interdisciplinary curriculum as part of the Undergraduate Semester Experience at the Coast. It has been a big push to make it happen and a product of great teamwork across ECU. This new programming is essentially creating a new living-learning community on the OBX, providing a unique educational experience for students that emphasizes collaboration, experiential learning, and problem solving. I am excited to see more young faces on the Outer Banks Campus and plan to work with many of you to begin growing the program.
We are currently developing new and innovative ways to expand student education at the coast. We want students to think about how they can “Put the COAST in their Curriculum” - giving them the chance to link their disciplinary interests with the transdisciplinary challenges that face our coastal systems. This includes expanding course offerings at the Outer Banks Campus, whether it is just a course-focused field trip, development of new courses that use our coastal assets, research or internships completed at the coast, or incorporation of the new Semester Experience at the Coast into current degree programs. There are many exciting choices and a great chance for new undergraduate programming across ECU. Spread the word about all the great educational opportunities at ECU’s Outer Banks Campus!
It’s a brand-new year, heck, it’s a new decade, and we have already set sail! This pirate ship is headed toward greatness. Climb aboard and be a part of the excitement as we expand opportunities for our students, staff, and faculty!
Happy New Year!
Sid’s research centers on coastal hazards and coastal adaptation – how people adapt to hazards on the coastline. Recently, he has been focused on ecosystem-based adaptation – understanding how wetlands like marshes and mangroves or oyster reefs and coral reefs can be used to help prevent flooding and damage to people and property. “The objective is to work with the conservation side of the coin as well as the flood risk and adaptation side of the coin to see if there’s a sweet spot where coastlines can be preserved, and risk to people can be reduced,” he explains.
The main challenge lies in keeping our natural coastlines and ecosystems in place while also keeping our coastal communities safe. “It involves solving two problems at the same time. In addressing the interactions between coastal engineering, ecology, and morphology, the goal is to generate non-conventional solutions which eventually become mainstream practice.”
“A large part of what makes my research rewarding,” he says, “is the interest from policy makers and people who make management decisions.” He finds it gratifying to have the opportunity to apply his work to the management process, contributing to the protection and viability of sustainable resources.
Enter CSI research scientist and NCROEP Associate Director, Dr. Lindsay Dubbs, and UNC-Chapel Hill graduate student, Claire Johnson. Their team of scientists, students, interns and volunteer researchers is part of an ongoing study specifically interested in examining nutrient cycling and primary productivity within Sargassum and surrounding communities. They hope to better understand just how much nitrogen is being added to the environment by the epiphytic and planktonic communities associated with the Gulf Stream’s Sargassum patches. Their work involves a series of measurements and experimental procedures conducted in the field, lab, and through geospatial analysis.
2020 Summer Camps at The Coastal Studies Institute
REGISTRATION OPENS MARCH 1st, 2020!
Do you have a student who loves science and the coast? Enroll them in CSI's 2020 Summer Camps! The Coastal Studies Institute is offering eleven summer camp experiences for students 9-16 years old. These day camps combine STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) concepts with fun, hands-on activities to keep campers engaged and actively learning while having a great summer experience. Students will snorkel, kayak, collect species data by seining, trawling and hook-and-line fishing, study plankton in the lab, engineer ocean exploring equipment, and experience many other fun educational activities. Camp begins at 9:00 am and ends at 3:30 at the Coastal Studies Institute on the ECU Outer Banks Campus. CSI’s 2020 Summer Camp registration opens March 1st, 2020. For more information, and how to register, please visit the link below.