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BIO 480 : Spring 2014

Field studies in biology

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Day 04 | Tuesday, March 4, 2014

This morning we awoke to a layer of ice on the ground and a wintery chill in the air. Due to the odd weather, our trip to the Coastal Studies Institute (CSI) was delayed until later in the morning. In the meantime, we visited the US Fish and Wildlife visitor’s center where we received an excellent impromptu lesson on the recovery effort for the endangered red wolves in coastal North Carolina. We received a broad range of details about the wolves, from their similarity to coyotes to the collars used for tracking. Our guide was also able to give us some insight and advise about finding our desired career path as young aspiring scientists. After rummaging through the gift shop, we departed for CSI.

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Upon arrival, we were greeted by Robert McLenden, a talented landscape architect at CSI. He began by giving us an in depth look at the LEED certification process that CSI went through during its planning and construction. They included many “green” features, including showers for cyclists, non-toxic paints, and storm water infiltration areas. They also had some struggles due to their location on a barrier island such as no public transportation and importing materials from far away. Robert finished the talk with some challenges and strategies in dealing with storm water runoff.

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Next came a tour of the beautiful CSI facility, located right beside the sound. Along the way, we met a couple of professors and scientists working on a plethora of topics including maritime history, ocean energy research, and marine geology. The faculty were extremely welcoming, telling us about their research as well as about their appealing summer and fall semester long courses. By the end of the visit we had all worked up an appetite and we traveled to downtown Manteo to enjoy a warm soup or sandwich at Poor Richard’s.

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Stomachs full, we took a short drive to Roanoke Island Festival Park. A tour guide led us around the grounds where we got a realistic look at Native American structures and got to learn a few Algonquin words. After the tour, we had fun dressing up in colonial style clothing and investigating the newly renovated, hands-on exhibits in the museum. Then we walked out to the dock and boarded the Elizabeth II, a full-scale replica of the original merchant ship. We inspected the ship from bow to stern and got a sense of life as a sailor and passenger.

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Finally, we walked to the rest of the grounds and were intercepted by a couple of “early settlers” willing to show us their camp. We tried out the carpenter’s tools, saw a blacksmith’s workshop, and played nine pin, a game similar to bowling that was used to pass the time. We headed back to the Friends of the Elizabeth II to gather for dinner and discuss all the great things we learned and experienced despite the weather!

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