The North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve will hold an educational kayak tour of the Masonboro Island Reserve on Saturday, Sept. 21.
Residents and guests can learn about the ecosystem in the Big Bay area of the Masonboro Island Reserve while paddling a kayak through surrounding waters.
The North Carolina Coastal Reserve and National Estuarine Research Reserve are offering a new, free program to educate participants about barrier island ecology and the ecosystem’s plants and animals.
The kayaking trip, departing from Trails End Park, will be held on Saturday, Sept. 21, with registration from 8-8:45 a.m. and the trip beginning at 9 a.m.
“It will be an excellent opportunity to experience Masonboro from a non-motorized boating perspective, which is at a slower pace and closer to the water,” said Marie Davis, environmental educator. “… Participants get the combined benefits of recreation, education and time spent in nature.”
She added the visibility of a large group paddling can help serve as a reminder to other boaters to be aware of the non-motorized community while out on the water.
Those without kayaks will be able to rent a limited number of kayaks from Watersmith Kayaking for $20 with advanced notice by Sept. 18. University of North Carolina Wilmington students can also rent kayaks through Seahawk Adventures.
Kayaking experience is recommended, and there will be two distance options. During the 3.2-mile trip, kayakers will paddle to the Big Bay area and back to Trails End with some time for free exploration until about 10:30 a.m. The 6.2-mile route will take paddlers further north and lasts approximately until noon.
There will be a short talk. Trip leaders will then identify some of the plants and animals that can be seen, probably mostly related to birds.
“It’s a pretty dynamic, changing ecosystem,” Davis said.
Robert Smith, ACA Coastal Kayaking Open Water Instructor, will have a safety chat with participants before launch, explaining the Common Adventure Model, putting participants in charge of their own safety.
“I might have some rustic anecdotal additions,” Smith said. “… It should be a good time.”
Along with Smith and Davis, Hope Sutton, southern sites manager and stewardship coordinator, and Matt Collogan, New Hanover County Environmental Educator, will be guiding the trip.
Participants are required to wear personal floatation devices for the duration.
To pre-register or for more information, contact Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org