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Marine Science at NC State – Educational Outreach


Educational outreach refers to activities that support formal or classroom-based education, as well as informal education that occurs outside the classroom. Communicating the value of research and extension activities to a broad audience is one of our key goals. Communication is made through a variety of means, such as educational materials, social media, newsletters, K-12 activities, information exchanges for the general public, and collaborative activities designed foster community participation.

Marine Science Academy Students Visits CMAST

Over fifty students and teachers visit CMAST every June as part of an annual Marine Science Acadamy, a week-long camp offered by Carteret County Schools. Campers are divided into two groups, with one group visiting the NCSU Seafood Laboratory, and the other group working with the Coastal Fisheries Program.

Activities in the Seafood Lab range from learning about seafood safety and fish freshness to tasting samples of new seafood products such as smoked trout jerky from the NC mountains or blue crab spread.

Students working with the Fisheries Program pulled beach seine nets in Bogue Sound next to CMAST and learned about the life cycles of the shrimp, crab, pinfish, and other animals they collected. The group also had the opportunity to test water salinity, dissolved oxygen, and temperature that they would compare with results obtained from a trip to Cape Lookout.

Marine Mammal Course Held

Nineteen veterinary student attended a weeklong course at CMAST in April 2013. This is part of the selective studies they may choose as they study to become veterinary doctors. During the course, students learn animal care for captive and wild marine mammals. One highlight of the week was a mock whale stranding along the beach behind the CMAST building. The students were exposed to a scenario of what  a stranding entails from contacting the proper authorities, the care of a live stranded animal and its prognosis, to handling any crowds and even fielding questions from the press.

Volunteer Training

A Marine Mammal Stranding Volunteer Training was held in December 2012, at NCSU CMAST. Presentations included an overview of the stranding network, discussion of the challenges of some recent stranding events, and information on sedation and euthanasia. An animal was examined for any evidence of human or fisheries interaction. Also demonstrations were given on how to properly measure and photograph and dead stranded animal.


CMAST volunteers assisted with last year’s Blue Heron Bowl in Morehead City, NC. The Blue Heron Bowl is the regional competition for the National Ocean Sciences Bowl, an academic competition for high schools on topics related to the study of oceans. The Blue Heron Bowl participants compete for college scholarships, research trips, computers, and the chance to attend the national competition.


Shortly after moving into its current facility in 2000, CMAST partnered with Carteret Community College and community volunteers to investigate ways to better protect water quality in Bogue Sound while also controlling shoreline erosion. The result was a system of offshore breakwaters, stone sills, manmade wetlands and coastal marsh that serves as a living laboratory and classroom to more than thirty K-12 and college students each year.


Still in the planning stages, this center would provide housing to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students engaged in CMAST education or research opportunities, as well as to rotating faculty from NC State’s main campus and visiting scholars from around the world. Plans call for the center to be a LEED-certified building, so it will also serve as an example of sustainable coastal building.