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

June 14, 2012

Central Park School for Children Visits Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge

Aaron Sebens teaches at the Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina. This public charter school is child-centered, project-based, and has an integrated-arts curriculum. For the second year, he has packed up his passion for the environment, along with his traveling guitar, and brought his fourth-grade students to the Outer Banks to camp and visit places like Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. On a recent visit to the refuge, the students learned about sea turtles, birds and participated in a photography scavenger hunt on the North Pond Trail. Hurricane Irene destroyed a large chunk of the bulkhead adjacent to the Trail when the Pamlico Sound rushed east and into the pond in August of 2011. This made it impossible for staff to control the flow of salt water into the impoundment. Because of this, much of the vegetation necessary for waterfowl and other birds died due to the salt intrusion.

According to a letter sent by Aaron, “My students were sad to see how the impoundment had been hurt by Irene and they wondered what would happen to all the birds on the Atlantic Flyway that usually stopped there.” When the students returned to their school after the trip to the refuge, they decided they wanted to do something to help, “specifically to raise money to help repair the impoundment.” In their art class, the students carved stamps of the birds they were studying and then printed the design onto cards. The students then sold the cards at the school. Of the check for $365 sent along with a set of cards, Aaron wrote, “We are really happy to be able to send one dollar for each species of birds at Pea Island!”

We at the refuge are really happy, too; Not only because of the donation to help with our project, but also because of the inspirational attitude of the students. Aaron’s words give credence to why we do what we do in environmental education at our refuges. He writes, “Developing a new generation of stewards is one of the most important and pressing needs of our time.”

A sample of the cards the students created. Photo Credit: USFWS.

With their blue goose beanie babies in hand, teacher Aaron Sebens and his students prepare to “migrate” from Pea Island NWR to the next stop on their field trip. Photo Credit: USFWS.