Alligator River/Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge
P. O. Box 1969
Manteo, North Carolina 27954

Contact: Bonnie Strawser - 252-473-1131

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News Release

May 16, 2007

Perquimans Senior Gets Her Hands Dirty on local Refuges

Photo credit: Scott Lanier
Perquimans senior Starla Newton and Wildlife Interpretive Specialist Ann Marie Chapman discuss refuge management techniques at Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge.

Although she grew up in Perquimans County, Starla Newton has always been a beach-lover who has spent many summers with extended family on Hatteras Island. Earlier this year, when her senior class was assigned a research paper and investigative project, Starla didn’t hesitate to choose her topic. She chose beach erosion and coastal development and has learned a lot in the process. Part of her assignment was a research paper; the other part was an on-the-job- a shadowing/mentoring component. She chose to spend her shadowing time on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge.

On Monday, April 23rd, Starla started her showing by helping with a regularly scheduled clean up of litter from Oregon Inlet parking area on the north end of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. While there, Starla got a first-hand look at the impact human that use can have on a natural area. “Oregon Inlet is one of the most heavily-used areas on the Refuge,” explained Wildlife Interpretive Specialist Ann Marie Chapman. “Volunteers like Starla are essential for helping the Refuge staff to keep it looking its best!”

The second day of her shadowing assignment, Starla met Specialist Chapman at Alligator River Refuge to see some of the Refuge’s operations and maintenance in action. She saw Refuge staff mowing and disking fields in preparation for spring plant growth and other staff cleaning drainage canals deep in the Refuge. “Big thanks to Ann Marie and Refuge staff who showed me the various types of work that conservation professionals do every day,” said Starla. “It gives me an idea of what I want to do!”

Starla also learned about the intern program on Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges. Student interns can live and work on the Refuges, while gaining invaluable career experience. To learn more about the Refuges, read the Refuge newsletter, or get information about the intern program, visit or call Specialist Chapman at 252-987-1118.