After ten bustling weeks of coastal science summer camps, the classrooms and teaching labs at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) remain abuzz as CSI welcomes students to the UNC Chapel Hill Institute for the Environment Outer Banks Field Site (OBXFS) from August to December. Undergraduate students participating in the OBXFS spend their fall semester fully immersed in the coastal environment and community by taking a range of place-based courses, traveling for field experiences, completing individual internships with local organizations, and working together on a Capstone research project that addresses a real-world problem or management challenge of interest to the local area.
OBX Field Site students take 17 credit hours that include Coastal Resource Economics and Policy, Ecological Processes in Environmental Systems, Seminar on Coastal History and Culture, and Sustainable Coastal Management. Additionally, the group will take several multi-day trips to the Outer Banks’ north and south beaches and the Inner Banks to expose students to different natural and human communities of the area. This year, Dr. Lindsay Dubbs, OBXFS Co-Director, is excited to announce a partnership with CSI Education and Outreach that will bring in expert speakers for student workshops and public lectures. These lectures will be part of the CSI “Science on the Sound” lecture series and are scheduled for September 12, October 10, and November 6, 2018.
The interdisciplinary nature of courses, field and lab work, and the students’ customized internships in the community are designed to demonstrate how natural and social sciences can be helpful in environmental decision making. Ultimately, the semester’s work prepares students for their final Capstone: the application of field and course experience to a real-world problem. This year’s OBXFS class will work with the Town of Nags Head to evaluate relationships between local water quality and quantity, climate-driven changes, and wastewater management on the Outer Banks.
The OBXFS class of 2018 will present their Capstone work at CSI on December 13, 2018 at 2:00 PM and community members are welcome and encouraged to attend. The students will also be writing weekly blog posts providing insight to their individual internships and overall experience, which can be followed on the OBXFS website.
Local Organizations hosting 2018 OBXFS Interns:
- Outer Banks Center for Dolphin Research
- The Nature Conservancy – Nags Head Woods
- The North Carolina Coastal Federation
- The Dare County District Attorney’s Office
- The OBX Can Stand
- Max Radio of the Outer Banks
- Quible and Associates PC
- Outer Banks Center for Wildlife Education
- North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve
- The Town of Manteo
- The Town of Nags Head
- Dare County Soil and Water Conservation District