As part of an ongoing project, Erika Zambello is visiting all National Estuarine Research Reserves in the continental United States. Established by NOAA, the sites work together toward long-term research, education and coastal stewardship.
Paula Gillikin starts up the motor, flips the boat into reverse and pulls out of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserves dock in Beaufort, North Carolina. The boat stretches long and wide, blue life vests with yellow straps tied to the shining metal guard rails, waiting for the group of teachers visiting the area after we pick them up.
We slip easily across the water, a few wispy clouds all that fly between the boat and the bright blue sky. The Rachel Carson Reserve looms in front of us across Taylor’s Creek, sand beaches meeting waving marsh grasses and a low forest canopy beyond. Named for the famous scientist and writer, the reserve encompasses over 2,300 acres, and is composed of multiple islands.
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