Marine Quest summer camps making waves in environmental education

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Photo Courtesy: Marine Quest

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — If you are looking for a fun and engaging summer camp making waves in environmental education, you may want to consider UNCW’s Marine Quest.

The program has been in existence for over 42 years. Summer programs begin in June and continue through August.

Morgan O’Connell is the research and volunteer coordinator for Marine Quest. She says their camps incorporate UNCW’s marine science faculty and staff.

“We work closely with them to integrate their research into our curriculum, and then provide opportunities for campers to engage in activities that use many of the tools of a marine scientist,” said O’Connell. “It actually allows them to have an authentic marine science experience at a young age.”

Participation in the programs benefit children and teens in a number of ways.

“Starting as young as four years old, students are able to come to Marine Quest, spend time in our big outdoor lab off in the ocean, marsh or beach,” she said. “They get hands-on with the tools of a marine scientist, using all of their senses, smelling marsh mud, exploring squid and discovering things like bioluminescent plankton.”

The summer programs also serve as a pipeline that introduces youth, ages 4-17, to the university.

“We really want them to return year after year, so we’ve worked hard to build a curriculum that builds and develops upon itself,” she said. “We recognize that students develop skills at different ages, so we also ensure our curriculum is age appropriate, meeting the students where they’re at with the skills they’ve learned.”

In addition to junior, intermediate and senior programs, there are also dive programs. For the first time, ocean engineering programs will be offered this summer.

The one, two and three-week programs begin June 12th and continue through August 17th. There are also full and half-day programs available.

“We’re constantly updating our curriculum to reflect current discoveries and marine scientists, who strive to make all of our activities engaging for students and then secure the best instructors we can find, so they can share their passion for the marine environment with our students,” O’Connell said. “We also take time to engage all of our students, so they can learn to be meaningful citizens and help take care of our environment as they grow up because the future is theirs, and we’re hoping to inspire that next generation of marine scientists.”


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