Education and Outreach

Now more than ever, children and adults need to understand how the environment in which they live, play and work functions and realize their role in the system. Individuals have become so disconnected from the environment and the natural resources that sustain them that they don’t know where their food or drinking water comes from. The health of the environment and these resources is inseparable from our well-being and economic prosperity. Environmental education is a lifelong process for the learner and is the key to teaching present and future generations about our unique resources and why it is important to conserve and become stewards of them.

NHSWCD offers, at no cost to county residents, environmental educational programs for all ages. Our qualified staff is available to bring programs to pre-K through college classrooms, to civic or scouting groups, to business professionals as well as Home Owners Associations. Each visit and presentation is tailored to meet the groups’ needs. To make a successful event for your group, we limit most group presentations to 25 people, but we accommodate groups as large as 300+ with our field day events. This is a great way to see an entire grade level at a single school. Our annual education contest was recently featured on Time Warner Cable News. Click here to view the video news clip.

To schedule a program, please contact us several weeks in advance of your desired date and be prepared with the following details:

  • total number of people/students (per class)
  • have several days and times you are available to have us present
  • topics you would specifically like us to address
  • Are you interested in a “field day” event where we cover 3 or more topics in one day? (This normally is held outdoors and requires chaperones).

You can also check our calendar of events to help with scheduling. Please be aware that Fall and Spring dates fill up quickly!

At NHSWCD, we address many local environmental topics and concerns. Click on the links below to learn more about the following EE topics:

storm drain markingWater quality is critically important to our own quality of life. Over the past several decades, New Hanover County has experienced a decline in water quality related to human activities. One of the chronic threats to our local water quality is fecal coliform bacteria, which is commonly found in pet waste. Picking up pet waste is one way to ensure our waterways stay clean for future generations of humans and wildlife.

You probably know that the catch basins and storm drains that run along our streets and road curbs collect rain water. When rain water collects and runs over the ground and into the storm drains and culverts, it becomes stormwater. As stormwater flows across the streets and landscape, it collects oil, grease, debris and other pollutants. Stormwater then flows directly into the nearest stream, creek, or lake, and in our community can flow directly to the Intracoastal Waterway and Atlantic ocean.

Stormwater does NOT go to a treatment plant to be cleaned! This is a common misconception and many residents pour oil, paint, cigarette butts, yard waste, medicine and other chemical pollutants into the storm drains because they think it gets cleaned before finding its way to the Cape Fear River or the Intracoastal Waterway. However, that is not the case.

You can help protect our waterways through spreading the word, installing rain barrels, or by becoming involved in our volunteer opportunities or those of our many partner organizations. If you are interested in a presentation about stormwater or actively helping us spread the word about water quality, district staff are happy to provide a Stormwater 101 presentation to your community or local organization and lead volunteer groups in storm drain marking. Contact us for more information.

Please clink on the links below to learn how you can play a major role in protecting your local water quality. Help protect out waterways by reporting stormwater pollution! Call 910.341.1020 or report online.

For more information about City of Wilmington Stormwater Services programs please visit: www.wilmingtonnc.gov/stormwater

Visit our Stormwater Solutions page to learn more!

Pet Waste Information:
In partnership with the City of Wilmington Stormwater Services, NHSWCD is happy to provide information about the City of Wilmington Pet Waste Ordinance. Please visit the following links for more information.

Shortnose Sturgeon Information:
In partnership with the City of Wilmington Stormwater Services, NHSWCD is happy to provide information about the endangered shortnose sturgeon. Please visit the following links for more information.

Operation Medicine Drop:
Is your medicine cabinet crowded with leftover medicines? That’s a dangerous situation! If you keep drugs around, they could fall into the wrong hands. But if you flush them down the toilet, they pollute our river and ocean. Then everyone is taking your medicine… wildlife included! The solution: Operation Medicine Drop, also called Operation Medicine Cabinet. Operation Medicine Cabinet is a coalition of NC agencies and nonprofit organizations that holds Operation Medicine Drop prescription drug take-back events across NC to encourage the public to safely dispose of unused and unwanted medication. By providing safe and secure ways for people to get rid of unwanted prescriptions and over-the-counter medications, Operation Medicine Drop helps prevent accidental poisonings and drug abuse while protecting our waters. North Carolina holds its biannual Operation Medicine Drop the 4th week of March to coincide with Poison Prevention Week.

See our Volunteer page for many more annual events that NHSWCD is involved in such as; Keep America Beautiful’s Big Sweep and Tree Fest or our annual Earth Day celebration.

Enviroscape: The Enviroscape program is an interactive model of a watershed that enables students to visually learn about stormwater runoff, water pollution, water quality, watersheds, and personal stewardship. NHSWCD Staff brings all of the activity materials to the classroom.

Click here for more information on the ENVIROSCAPE

Envirothon: Envirothon is a team based competition tailored for middle and high school students. The competition focuses on developing natural resource knowledge and real world application. Competitions take place at the regional and state level. If your child’s school is interested in forming a team, please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

Click here for more information and videos of the Coastal Envirothon and State Envirothon

Please click the links below to find out about these other exciting contests:

Our annual education contest was recently featured on Time Warner Cable News. View the video news coverage here.

Environmental Field Days: District staff are happy to provide environmental field days to New Hanover County residents. Field days can be tailored to fit your academic goals. Most field days consist of a half day program with multiple stations including, but not limited to, forestry, water quality, wildlife and soils.

field daysTeacher Workshops: NHSWCD offers teacher workshops each summer. NHSWCD Staff are trained facilitators for a variety of programs including wetland ecology and agriculture and natural resource management. The aim of workshops is to help teachers stay abreast of new environmental topics as well as providing curriculum guides.

Listen to what participants from the June 2011 Workshop, simple ecoLogical, had to say about our program:

– “Dru went the extra mile to help me enroll and feel welcome.”

– “This has been the best workshop I’ve attended in 7 years of teaching experience. Please continue!”

– “I love your program and hope it continues! It keeps us informed about what you offer and the guest speakers keep us excited about bringing new ideas to our classroom.”

– “I look forward to your workshops!”

– “This workshop provides useful information for teachers of any grade level and any subject – even though the subject is based in environmental science. The instructors are helpful and willingly make the course meet your needs. You receive materials that can be used in the classroom and are encouraged to think in ways that are appropriate to your needs. I’ve taken a lot of workshops offered by other institutions and anything offered by the SWCA is always heads above anything else.”

teacher workshopHave we been to your school?

schoolmap

If you are interested in learning more about our K-12 programs please contact us.

Soil and Water Conservation: 230 Government Center Drive, Suite 100 • Wilmington, NC 28403 • Phone 910-798-7130