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Students dig maritime studies

By Staff
Chamber program receives support from the community
By KEVIN SCOTT CUTLER
Lifestyles &Features Editor
More than 600 eighth-graders, representing each of Beaufort County’s schools, are converging on the North Carolina Estuarium this week to take part in Maritime Education Days.
The fourth-annual event, which began Tuesday and continues through Thursday, is sponsored by the Education Division of the Washington-Beaufort County Chamber of Commerce.
Students from Bath Elementary, Beaufort County Ed Tech Center, Chocowinity Middle, P.S. Jones Middle, Northeast Elementary and S.W. Snowden schools are invited to participate in the event, which offers five different learning stations this year. Two stations are held in the Estuarium, while others are provided by PCS Phosphate, Pamlico Sail &Power Squadron and the boating and fishing industry. That industry was represented Tuesday morning by Richie Gerard with East Side Bait &Tackle. There is also musical entertainment with a maritime flair provided by Worth Mason of Beaufort and Bill Murrill of Morehead City.
One of the most popular activities is digging through the PCS Phosphate reject pile, rich with sharks’ teeth and other fossils.
Another entertaining — not to mention educational — activity is the scavenger hunt, Crumpler said. Each student is given a list of things to find among the Estuarium’s exhibits, along with assignments tied to each item. The list includes the blue crab exhibit, the watershed map of the Tar-Pamlico estuary and the facility’s collection of duck decoys.
The event is a hit with teachers as well as students, according to Crumpler.
Each participant receives a gift bag provided by the Estuarium, PCS Phosphate and the power squadron, according to Crumpler. PCS Phosphate contributes a shark’s tooth to each bag, insuring that no student leaves the fossil pile empty-handed.
The community plays a part in making the event a success year after year, Crumpler said.
Maritime Education Days is one of Crumpler’s big projects each year.