ECHS AP Environmental Science Class Partners with the Duke Marine Lab to study Marine Debris

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East Carteret High School’s Advanced Placement Environmental Science Class will be presenting tomorrow on the Marine Debris work they’ve been doing with the Duke Marine Lab this semester.

During the past year, the class has toured the Duke Marine Lab drone facility and received hands-on experience in the operation of “autonomous fixed wing and multicopter” platforms in use for supporting marine science studies and research.

The AP class also had the opportunity to analyze large files of aerial multi-spectral, high-resolution images, and orthomosaics with a focus on marine debris. This opportunity offers valuable skills and experience that also engages them in improving our community environment.

The class also traveled to Carrot Island in Beaufort, also known as the Rachel Carson Reserve, which is a National Estuarine Research Reserve right across Taylor’s Creek from Front Street, to “ground-truth” the data they had analyzed.

To close-the-loop on the work they had been doing at the drone facility, and tracking marine debris from the air, the class visited the same site this past Monday to remove the marine debris that they had analyzed; eight students collected over ten bags of debris in about an hour.  Materials were separated to make sure recyclables were captured.  Since this island is not inhabited, it is clear that the debris is both washing up and also littered by reserve visitors.

The presentation, tomorrow at ECHS, will be the culmination of this marine debris research using drones.  Marine Debris specialists, researchers, removal coordinators, and stakeholders will be present to learn from the students and offer insight on how we move forward to collaborate and continue the effort to study, remove, and reduce marine debris here in North Carolina.

More to come…

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