N.C. Aquarium Hosts Carnival to Combat Climate Change
Teens’ community service project aims to bring awareness to environmental issues
Pine Knoll Shores, N.C. — The Carnival to Combat Climate Change on April 2 will combine conservation, science, and fun during the first-ever event at N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. Youth leaders at the Aquarium are hoping the carnival will provide a space for all ages to discuss environmental issues.
The free event will be held outside in the Aquarium parking lot 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. Brant Island Strings of Arapahoe will play live music from noon to 2 p.m.
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 and another Aquarium teen, Kaitlyn Riggs, attended in 2021.
"We wanted to host a carnival about climate change to provide the public with fun and exciting ways to learn about a topic that some might find uninteresting at first glance,” Whitley said. “I’m so grateful to have so many environmentally-based organizations from around the state coming to support this carnival and help teach about climate change and ways to combat it,” 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 event.
“The NAAEE and CELC grants are a great opportunity for our teen programs at the Aquarium to be recognized, and 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 is the product of many months of work. She said while this is the Aquarium’s first year hosting the event, she hopes it will become an annual occasion and more organizations will be able to participate in the future.
Whitley hopes that people who come to the carnival “will learn something new to use in their daily lives and help make the planet cleaner and greener.”
Activities and educational resources during the carnival will be provided by the North Carolina Zoo, North Carolina Conservation Network, Surfrider Foundation, Bald Head Island Conservancy, North Carolina Coastal Land Trust, Carolina Wetlands Association, North Carolina Aquarium Green Team, Possumwood Acres, Aurora Fossil Museum, Master Gardeners of Carteret County, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island, North Carolina Coastal Federation, North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association, and the Outer Banks Wildlife Shelter (OWLS).
The Carnival to Combat Climate Change is a free event. Admission to the Aquarium is not required to attend. To learn more visit www.bit.ly/CarnivalToCombatClimateChange