While there has been little to celebrate in these first months of 2020, there is one fantastic milestone just around the corner. This upcoming Wednesday, April 22, will mark the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Earth Day was established in 1970 when 20 million Americans participated in demonstrations throughout the nation to call for a healthy, sustainable environment, and by 1990 Earth Day had spread across the globe. Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, is full of history and has continued to bring people together over the years. This year, however, Earth Day will prove to be different.

With the new, temporary norms of social distancing and isolation brought on by Covid-19, people are unable to gather in celebration of Mother Earth as they once did. Fortunately, these new dynamics have not discouraged environmental educators on the Outer Banks. Seven organizations planning to participate in Earth Fair OBX VIII have banded together to bring life to Earth Day in a new way this year. The NC Coastal FederationCoastal Studies InstituteJennette’s PierNC Aquarium on Roanoke IslandJockey’s Ridge State ParkOuter Banks Forever, and Nags Head Woods Preserve will collectively post Earth Day content across each of their social media platforms for 50 days to celebrate the 50 years since its establishment. These groups are involved with a larger entity known as the Coastal Environmental Educators Network. This network has organized and hosted an Outer Banks Earth Day event each year since 2012.

A variety of topics will be featured for this virtual “event” including ethical angling, marine debris, reusables, recycling, green cleaning, water quality, living shorelines, coastal landscapes, prescribed burning, native species, and the benefits of enjoying nature. The Earth Day posts will begin April 20th and will conclude with World Oceans Day on June 8th. Each of the seven partners encourage others to follow along, share posts, and even participate by using the hashtags #EarthFairOBX and #NCEarthDay50.

Led by East Carolina University (ECU), The Coastal Studies Institute is a multi-institutional research and educational partnership of the UNC System including North Carolina State University, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC Wilmington, and Elizabeth City State University.


ECU’s Integrated Coastal Programs (ECU ICP) is a leader in coastal and marine research, education, and engagement.   ECU ICP includes the Coastal Studies Institute, ECU’s Department of Coastal Studies, and ECU Diving and Water Safety.


The ECU Outer Banks campus is home to the Coastal Studies Institute.
Located on Roanoke Island along the banks of the second largest estuary
in the United States, this coastal campus spans 213 acres of marshes, scrub wetlands, forested wetlands, and estuarine ecosystems.




The faculty and staff at the Coastal Studies Institute come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines, as well as departments and organizations including ECU Department of Biology, ECU Department of Coastal Studies, NC Sea Grant, the North Carolina Renewable Energy Program, and the UNC Institute for the Environment.


Tour the ECU Outer Banks Campus and learn about the research, education, and engagement projects of CSI and ECU Integrated Coastal Programs through our 360 virtual tour.


Contact Us

Contact Info

The Coastal Studies Institute
850 NC 345
Wanchese, NC 27981



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