NC Coastal Federation connects students to coastal science with free learning kits

Boys & Girls Club staff receive learning kits from the N.C. Coastal Federation recently. (Ava Bryant photo)

BEAUFORT — With some students returning to school and extra curricular activities, the N.C. Coastal Federation is ready to provide kits to help them learn about coastal science.

The NCCF delivered 40 science, technology, engineering, arts and math-based learning kits late last month to the Beaufort Boys & Girls Club, Smyrna Elementary and Down East Middle School. NCCF coastal education coordinator Rachel Bisesi, who came up with the idea for the kits, said in an email to the News-Times the kits were free for the students.

“The kits were funded by (a) Wal-Mart Community Grant,” Ms. Bisesi said, “and provide fun coastal science activities for students to do at home.”

The kits contain supplies for a variety of coastal science activities, like an activities guide, which lays out science exercises involving oysters, estuaries and living shorelines, water quality and marine debris and litter.

“We also made sure the kits had everything the students would possibly need to do the activities,” Ms. Bisesi said, “including crayons children’s scissors, tape, etc.”

She said she created the kits because she wanted a way to continue educating about coastal sciences with student groups the federation works with, even if they’re not able to meet with them in person.

“I also wanted to create something that wouldn’t necessarily involve more screen time for the students,” she said. “We love virtual learning, but I wanted to create something that students without reliable internet or computer access could still use.”

Ms. Bisesi sais she and NCCF Kenan Fellow teacher Erin Strohschein worked together to create the kits and find activities that would work well.

“Erin is an art teacher at Havelock Middle School,” Ms. Bisesi said. “A student intern from UNCW (the University of North Carolina at Wilmington), Karley Eason, also assisted.”

According to Ms. Bisesi, the federation partners frequently with the Boys & Girls Club and the Smyrna Elementary and Down East Middle School.

NC Coastal Federation connects students to coastal science with free learning kits

Learning kits from the N.C. Coastal Federation sit lined up recently for students to receive them. (Rachel Bisesi photo)

“We hope the kits will provide a way for students to continue learning about coastal science and encourage them to learn more about coastal stewardship,” she said. “We partnered with Ava Bryant and Germann Bostic, who are the directors at the Beaufort Boys & Girls Club, and then Joe Brake, the school counselor at Smyrna Elementary and Down East Middle School. They’re all wonderful to work with and we definitely wouldn’t have been able to get these kits out to the students without their support.”

“This past week was our first week re-opening our doors since the mandated shut down in March,” Boys & Girls Club of the Coastal Plain Regional Vice President Dre’ Nix said. “The donation of these kits to our Beaufort Teen Center and our Beaufort Elementary School site is representative of the great partnership that has been fostered with the NCCF over the years. The NCCF staff and club volunteers has played a vital role in our programming, teaching our members about the coastal area they call home.”

Ms. Nix said having the kits will assist the club staff in “continuing the fun and educational tradition of the program established by the NCCF staff at each club.”

“These kits will be distributed in the coming weeks to members,” she said, “and I anticipate they would be very well received by the members; they’re familiar with the projects and NCCF staff have never failed to impress or excite them about learning about the coastal area.”

Ms. Nix said relationships and collaborations like the one between the club and the coastal federation “enhances and elevates the BGC programming and reinforces the importance of community partnerships.”

“We appreciate the support and the commitment of the N.C. Coastal Federation,” she said.


Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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