PINE KNOLL SHORES, N.C. — Carnival to Combat Climate Change on April 29 will combine conservation, science, and fun at the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Youth leaders at the Aquarium are hoping the second-ever carnival will once again provide a space for all ages to discuss environmental issues.
This theme for the carnival this year is “Ocean Health.” The event is included with admission or membership and will be held inside the Aquarium 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Leaders in science and conservation from across the state will be stationed at booths, ready to talk about climate change and how individuals can help lessen its effects on coastal communities. Enjoy hands-on activities and carnival games throughout the day.
Kaylee Whitley, one of the Aquarium’s teen volunteers, created the event as part of a community service project requirement for the Coastal Ecosystem Learning Center (CELC) Network virtual youth summit she attended in 2021.
“I was really grateful for the crowd of people that came out to the event last year, and this year we’re going to have even more games, crafts and activities with the same focus,” Whitley said. This year she feels more confident having been through the process of creating an entire event from start to finish.
Whitley has been a volunteer at the Aquarium for fours year and will be heading to college next year but plans to continue the Carnival to Combat Climate Change with Aquarium staff members. “We’re going to continue to make it better each and every year keep by still keeping the same idea as the first event, but making it a bit better each year,” she said.
The North American Association for Environmental Education (NAAEE), in partnership with CELC, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and eeBLUE, awarded the Aquarium’s youth program $4,000 in grant monies through the Aquarium’s nonprofit N.C. Aquarium Society to help implement the first event that was held in 2022.
“Kaylee is an amazing representation of a teen who wants to inspire others to care for and conserve the ocean,” said Aly Mack, Aquarium volunteer coordinator. “We are so impressed by her willingness to educate others about a complicated subject.”
Mack said the carnival this year is the product of months of work and planning, but thanks to last year’s carnival the team was more prepared and knew how they wanted the carnival to run. She plans to continue the carnival and hopes to make it an annual occasion that more organizations will be able to participate in the future.
Whitley hopes that people who come to the carnival will better understand how to help our ocean. “It’s hard to see sometimes how our ocean is impacted because it’s so big, but hopefully this will be a space that will help people understand and learn how the climate effects our ocean.”
Activities and educational resources during the carnival will be provided by Aurora Fossil Museum, Coastal Carolina Riverwatch, National Weather Service, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, North Carolina Conservation Network, North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Native Plant Society, North Carolina Science Festival, North Carolina Science Trail, North Carolina Sea Grant, Possumwood Acres Wildlife Sanctuary, and Triangle Land Conservancy
The Carnival to Combat Climate Change is included with admission or membership. To learn more visit www.bit.ly/CarnivalToCombatClimateChange