Top: Instructor Jane Radack of COS speaks
with students about the marsh at Masonboro
Island in 2015. Above: A student gets a close
look at a horseshoe crab molt in the vast tidal
flats of Shackleford Banks.
Cecelski has been working with many of the same charter boat captains
for years, helping ensure the safety of students as well as consistency and
security. Having multiple locations is another strategy for minimizing risk
the company uses successfully.
From Harkers Island in Carteret County, the company provides educa-tional
tours to Cape Lookout, the Core Banks, and Shackleford Banks.
Tours of Masonboro Island depart out of Carolina Beach. A three-mile
offshore fishing trip uses Calabash in Brunswick County as its home base,
and an estuary quest takes place at Fort Fisher lagoon. There’s also a Gulf
Stream Nature Excursion and a Pier into the Ocean program held at the
Kure Beach Pier.
To make the most of the COVID-19 downtime, Cecelski and the team
— which includes his wife, Sandie, a retired teacher who started the Marine
Science Academy at Ashley High School — have been developing new
projects, refining existing systems and planning for the future.
“We’ve been working on developing some online complements to the
boating trips, along with some educational resources for the students to
use before, during and after our programs,” Cecelski says. “While I think
the field trips have a huge motivational power, because they are naturally
engaging, the students might not often remember a lot about it. We’re
hoping that the resources we are currently working on will allow the experi-ence
to resonate with the students long after it’s over.”
If there is a bright spot, it is that teachers and administrators are going to
have more time to plan for fall trips.
CAROLINA OCEAN STUDIES RICHARD JOHNSON