Making A Difference
Recognize. Care. Protect.
The North Carolina Aquariums and Jennette’s Pier are dedicated to animals in our care and in the wild. We recognize the challenges threatening animals locally and globally. We are committed to learning more and taking action through research, fieldwork, education, and the daily efforts of our team members.
Current initiatives focus on threatened and endangered species including the Carolina gopher frog, sand tiger sharks and sea turtles. In addition, as an accredited-member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and a partner in SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction, we work diligently to keep the most vulnerable animals from disappearing and protect them for future generations.
Learn about the animals we're helping.
All sea turtle species are endangered or threatened. Five of the seven total species are found in North Carolina. Find out what we're doing for rescue, rehabilitation and release.
The endangered Carolina gopher frog can be found in only six populations in southeastern North Carolina. Find out about a long-term, raise and release initiative to help the species.
Sharks play a vital role in keeping the ocean healthy, yet their populations are threatened worldwide. Learn more about our conservation and research efforts to save sand tiger sharks.
conservation Studies. field research.
The crystal skipper is a unique butterfly found only along a 30-mile stretch of North Carolina’s barrier islands, from Bear Island to Fort Macon. Crystal skippers rely on a common dune grass, seaside little bluestem. This host plant provides the only place for female skippers to lay eggs. Once the eggs hatch, the caterpillars exclusively feed on the grass. The Aquariums and other conservation leaders have been planting small patches of bluestem to support crystal skippers and help maintain connectivity between protected areas.
Crystal Skipper Article
Unfortunately, there is not much data about the current status of the diamondback terrapin population in the state. To help gather more information, the North Carolina Coastal Reserve & National Estuarine Research Reserve is working with the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to help estimate the number of terrapins in our area through a paddling survey. The Aquariums have participated int the paddling surveys.
2018 Project Field Notes | 2011 Project Field Notes
“Living shorelines” is a term used to define a number of shoreline protection alternatives that allow for natural coastal processes to remain through the strategic placement of plants, stone, sand fill, and other structural and organic materials. The Aquariums have partnered with several conservation leaders to build living shorelines at the Aquarium sites as well as planting living shorelines at sites across the coast.
NOAA: What is a Living Shoreline | Living Shorelines Academy | NC. Coastal Federation Living Shorelines
The Marine Mammal Stranding Network of the Central Coast of North Carolina is supported with funding from the John H. Prescott Foundation, the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries, and the North Carolina State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology. A team of dedicated staff and volunteers from local, state and federal conservation leaders, including the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, respond to all marine mammal strandings that occur along central coastal North Carolina.
The Outer Banks Marine Mammal Stranding Network is also made up of local, state and federal conservation leaders, including Jennette's Pier, and is dedicated to responding to stranded, entangled or injured marine mammals from the Virginia North Carolina state line to Ocracoke, covering more than 130 miles of coastline and receiving 60 percent of North Carolina's strandings annually.
The University of North Carolina Wilmington Marine Mammal Stranding Program responds to strandings along the southeastern coast of North Carolina. The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher assists the team of dedicated staff, faculty and students on an as-needed basis.
Marine Mammal Stranding Network of the North Carolina Central Coast | Outer Banks Marine Mammal Stranding Network | UNCW Marine Mammal Stranding Program
Our partners at the University of North Carolina's Coastal Studies Institute (UNC-CSI) collaborate with researchers from around the world to study the feasibility of creating renewable energy from the power of the ocean. To understand the nearshore environment these scientists continuously observe ocean and atmospheric conditions with highly specialized instruments deployed from the end of Jennette's Pier. Technology allows us to immediately share the information through the Current Conditions Page.
Current Conditions Page
In June 2018, two North American river otter pups orphaned after their mother was hit by a car are recovering as state agencies help rehabilitate them before reintroducing them to the wild. The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (NCWRC), the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island and North Carolina Zoo partnered to help ensure the best possible outcome for the young otters.
River Otter Conservation Article
John O. Fussell III conducted a survey of the Natural Communities of the Roosevelt Natural Area surrounding the aquarium, in 1974. The research included surveys of vascular plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals, as well as vegetation mapping. In his report Mr. Fussell also identified both rare and invasive species within the Natural Area. The 2017 proposed conservation grant will be a follow-on study that builds on earlier work and will document changes. This will be an especially valuable study because it will be conducted by the original researcher with intimate knowledge of the land, habitats, flora and fauna of the site.
Project Scope and Application