The Masonboro Island Explorer program (ILX) is a partnership between the North Carolina Coastal Reserve and non-profit The single day program is facilitated by Carolina Ocean Studies and provides an educational science-based field trip open to fifth grade students in North Carolina.

Young students are exploring and learning about the state’s barrier islands through a hands-on educational program supported by volunteers, a local nonprofit, the state, and the generosity of local businesses. 

“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 “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”