Family Programs

Programs for all ages

The Coastal Studies Institute encourages lifelong learning. Our family programs are made for all ages and cover a variety of topics including coastal landscaping and gardening, art and science, beachcombing, and estuarine exploration. CSI’s programs are often in coordination with ECU’s Lifelong Learning Program.

One example of our offerings is “We in Wetlands“. Families join CSI scientists and educators for an active, engaging, and occasionally messy science adventure on the Croatan Sound. The program covers estuarine and food web basics while exploring the ecological relationships that surround us. Families will team up to pull seine nets, identify organisms and objects, reenact a food web, and have a great time learning together in this interactive, fun program. This is a hands-on, boat-based educational program in the Croatan Sound designed for family members age 6 and up to participate in together. 

The Coastal Studies Institute also offers a variety of summer camps each year for children  9-15 years of age.

At this time we are unable to host in-person programs. To adapt to changing guidelines due to COVID-19, we have published a series of videos called “Kitchen Science” on our Youtube Channel. Each of these one-minute videos covers a different topic and provides explanation and direction for a fun, at-home science experiment using items you are likely to already have!

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.


Based at the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI), the North Carolina Renewable Ocean Energy Program (NCROEP) advances inter-disciplinary marine energy solutions across UNC System partner colleges of engineering at NC State University, UNC Charlotte, and NC A&T 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 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.


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.