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Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge Debuts Virtual Visit


April 13, 2005

Bonnie Strawser, 252-473-1131 ext. 230
Jim Rothschild, 404-679-7291


People from around the nation will be able to take a virtual tour of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge in coastal North Carolina . On Monday, April 18th, Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge will broadcast its first eFieldTrip- the first virtual visit to the refuge- over the Internet. Over 1,100 students have registered for the trip already, including classrooms from 29 states and 2 Canadian Provinces.

"School children and others from all over the country will be able to see Pea Island and learn about the sea turtle conservation efforts currently underway at the Refuge," said Wildlife Interpretive Specialist Ann Marie Salewski. "What is really special is that students who would never have the opportunity to visit the ocean will be able to see the beauty of Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge, while learning about the important role refuges play in wildlife conservation."

The eFieldTrip has several components. Students participate in a Virtual Visit, an interactive tour of the refuge- through pictures, video, and written description. During their refuge visit, they will keep journals of their experiences, emotions, and impressions. The week following the eFieldTrip premier date, the students will have the opportunity to ask questions about the refuge, sea turtles, or wildlife conservation in general. Wildlife Interpretive Specialists Ann Marie Salewski and Susie Ahlfeld will answer questions from students who live as far away as Hawaii . On April 28th, the refuge staff will conduct a live web chat from 1 p.m. until 2 p.m. They will take questions and comments from students live over the Internet. The extended time frame gives the greatest number of students the opportunity to participate in the virtual visit and interact with refuge staff.

The virtual visit is open to everyone at no cost. Participants may sign up for the eFieldTrip by visiting <> and registering. Teachers and students are especially encouraged to participate.

"The images that have been donated for this project are absolutely incredible," said Salewski. "This virtual visit will be an exciting way to visit the refuge, even if you've already been here!"

The eFieldTrip will be accessible on-line through June 30, 2005 . If you have any questions about the eFieldTrip, please contact Salewski at 252-987-1118. Educational programs are also available year round both at Pea Island and Alligator River National Wildlife Refuges, as well as for special groups throughout eastern North Carolina on request. Visit our web sites: <>and <>.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the principal federal agency responsible for conserving, protecting and enhancing fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. The Service manages the 95-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which encompasses 545 national wildlife refuges, thousands of small wetlands and other special management areas. It also operates 69 national fish hatcheries, 63 Fish and Wildlife Management offices and 81 ecological services field stations. The agency enforces federal wildlife laws, administers the Endangered Species Act, manages migratory bird populations, restores nationally significant fisheries, conserves and restores wildlife habitat such as wetlands, and helps foreign governments with their conservation efforts. It also oversees the Federal Assistance program, which distributes hundreds of millions of dollars in excise taxes on fishing and hunting equipment to state fish and wildlife agencies.

© Courtesy of Jeff Rotman /
A loggerhead hatchling relaxes on a coral reef after a hard journey to the Gulf Stream.
© Courtesy of Jeff Rotman /
  photo credit:  Suzanne R Livingstone, University of Glasgow, Darwin Initiative Project
A nest of leatherback sea turtles "boils" to the surface.
Photo credit: Suzanne R Livingstone, University of Glasgow, Darwin Initiative Project


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Phone: 404/679-7289 Fax: 404/679-7286

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