ABOUT ISLAND EXPLORERS
ILX is a science-based hands-on field trip for New Hanover county fifth-graders. Our goal is to create an opportunity for students to learn first-hand what a precious resource Masonboro Island is to our community. We believe this program will create the next generation of North Carolina coastal stewards.
We developed the ILX program education component through a partnership with the NC Coastal Reserve, Carolina Ocean Studies and New Hanover County Schools. The curriculum is fully integrated into the fifth-grade science objectives.
We launched the first Island Explorer trips in the fall of 2013 with 50 students from Wrightsville Beach Elementary. Since then, the program has grown to almost 2000 students from every eligible school in New Hanover county.
- 4500+ FIFTH-GRADERS SINCE 2013
- TARGETS TITLE I SCHOOLS
- 115 VOLUNTEERS EACH SEMESTER
- 21 SCHOOLS EACH YEAR
Each trip features three learning labs on Masonboro Island: the ocean-front, the saltwater marsh and the inland tidal pools. Three instructors from Carolina Ocean Studies lead a different group of students through each ecosystem - and each station has its own hands-on activity.
On the living shore segment, instructors demonstrate wind and weather predictions before sending the kids on a scavenger hunt along the shoreline to collect items like seaweed, driftwood, feathers and other items that wash up on the shore. Students receive a complete rundown of the island's ecosystem a tthe salt marsh before going on a hunt for periwinkle snails.
At the third station, the kids learn about water quality, tides and turbidity. Plus, each one gets to experience "old school" crabbing with a hand-line and net - the highlight of the trip.
“We are excited to see the positive influence the ILX program is having on area 5th grade students. An understanding of environmental stewardship and personal accountability about our sensitive marine areas will become increasingly important as our local population continues to grow,” said Tom Hackler, president of Masonboro.org. “This program would not be possible without an outstanding relationships between the North Carolina Coastal Reserve, New Hanover County Schools, Carolina Ocean Studies, and the numerous supporters and volunteers of Masonboro.org.”
YOU CAN HELP
We are looking for volunteers for this semester! We need six to eight adult volunteers for each trip. Check-In starts at 9:30am on the day of the trip and you'll be back on the mainland by 12:30pm. You'll receive a free ILX tee and parking pass for the day. Transportation is provided with the students and your job is to assist the COS instructors, participate in the hands-on activities and watch Masonboro come alive for the kids!