CEDAR POINT — The N.C. Coastal Federation is honoring a Croatan High School senior with a 2021 Coastal Stewarship Award.

The federation announced April 1 it’s selected three graduating seniors with outstanding dedication to North Carolina’s coastal environment to honor with the award. Students from the 20 coastal counties were invited to apply and share their accomplishments and activities that make them a great coastal steward. Out of a wide range fantastic applicants, the federation’s award committee selected Anthony Marello of Cedar Point, Cecille Ernst of Kitty Hawk and Meagan Bergstrom of Wilmington.

Mr. Marello is currently a senior at CHS. He has been volunteering with the federation since his freshman year.

“I've always enjoyed being outside and enjoying our coastal beaches and waters,” he said. “Our coast is a defining part of our community, and when given the option to contribute to the community, the coast is where I want to commit my time. It's fulfilling to be able to help preserve our coast and the wildlife it supports. I've had a great experience working with the coastal federation, and I’m grateful for the scholarship and the opportunities that comes with it.”

As of April 1, Mr. Marello has dedicated 30 – 40 hours on oyster restoration projects alone. He’s also spent summers volunteering at the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores giving presentations to the visitors on the wildlife.

Mr. Marello has also participated in various marine debris cleanups on local beaches and in the Croatan National Forest. He plans to major in computer science, with a minor in marine biology or environmental science, while continuing his passion for community service.

Ms. Ernst is a senior at First Flight High School in Kitty Hawk and Ms. Bergstrom has been enrolled in Eugene Ashley High School’s Marine Science Academy for three years.

The coastal federation launched this award program in 2019 with one award and expanded the program last year to include three awards coastwide of $1,000 each. The program was supported by Coastal Stormwater Services, Emerald Isle Realty and private individuals.

NCCF coastal education coordinator Bonnie Mitchell said during a time of “so much upheaval, and while our students are not able to be in school or participate in group activities, we’re so happy to share some good news and honor these students who have really gone the extra mile for the coastal environment. Their dedication and 

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