The inaugural Carnival to Combat Climate Change at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores was created to provide a space for all ages to discuss the environmental issue.
The free event will be on the aquarium parking lot from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. April 2. Admission to the aquarium is not required to attend.
Representatives from science and conservation organizations from across the state will be on site to discuss climate change and how individuals can help lessen its effects on coastal communities. There will be hands-on activities and carnival games throughout the day and live music from noon to 2 p.m. with Brant Island Strings of Arapahoe.
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, or CELC, Network virtual youth summit she and another aquarium teen volunteer, 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 in a statement. “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.
Whitley said she hopes people who come to the carnival “will learn something new to use in their daily lives and help make the planet cleaner and greener.”
The North American Association for Environmental Education, in partnership with CELC, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and eeBLUE, which is an environmental education organization, awarded the aquarium’s youth program a $4,000 grant through the aquarium’s nonprofit N.C. Aquarium Society for 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.”
There are to be representatives during the event from 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.