The undeveloped islands of Cape Lookout National Seashore offer pristine examples of barrier island ecology while the historic lighthouse and villages provide a glimpse into the lives of the people who have called these islands home. On your own or led by a ranger, field trips to the park can be an excellent way to connect classes to these subjects. However, the remote nature of the park means that class trips require advanced planning.
Explore the diverse ecosystems that Cape Lookout has to offer. Students will discover the adaptations of plants and animals that help them survive in a place where change is constant. This program can take place almost anywhere in the park.
Walk in the footsteps of lighthouse keepers, examine barrier island and inlet geology, get a birds-eye-view of the island's habitat zones, or identify the effects of storms and other weather events. The climb to the top of the Cape Lookout lighthouse can be used as part of a self-guided or ranger-guided fieldtrip. When used in support of an education curriculum, school groups may be eligible for an Academic Fee Waiver for lighthouse tickets.
In the shadow of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse we will look into why this part of the coast received the nickname “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. Through an interactive discussion students will address the hazards ships faced navigating off our coast and how aids to navigation helped. To get a first-hand view what life was like at Cape Lookout Lighthouse we will read from the diary of Keeper Gillikan, who keep the light from 1923-1925.
The students will gain a greater understanding of sea turtles and some of the reasons they are endangered with an interactive discussion using props and visual aids at the Keeper’s Quarters. From there we will head the beach to determine what makes a good nesting location for a sea turtle and look closer at the life of a sea turtle hatching.
On this guided hiking tour, students will learn about the biology, social structure, and management of the wild horses of Shackleford Banks. The horses roam far and wide so we'll be walking to find them. Be prepared to walk through deep sand, wade in salt water (in the marsh and /or from boat to shore), wade in fresh water (in rain puddles), and climb steep dune hills.