College of The Albemarle – Elizabeth City (COA) is home to the beautiful Fenwick-Hollowell Wetlands Trail on the Pasquotank River. The trail traverses through the wetlands, an ecologically rich area that provides a habitat for various plant and animal species.
Earlier this year, the COA Foundation applied with the North Carolina Arboretum, an affiliate institution of the University of North Carolina System, for the trail to become an ecoEXPLORE™ (Experiences Promoting Learning Outdoors for Research and Education) HotSpot. The Foundation received approval this spring and is proud to announce this fantastic partnership with the North Carolina Arboretum which will provide additional educational and recreational opportunities on the trail.
The ecoEXPLORE™ HotSpot provides children with endless outdoor adventures on the trail while piquing their curiosity for discovering new things in the wetlands. Our inclusion as a hotspot location includes our trail location at ecoexplore.net. It allows families to take photos of their observations on the trail, uploading them to an online biodiversity database at iNaturalist.org.
The welcome letter from the North Carolina Arboretum’s Education Manager Jonathan Marchal and ecoEXPLORE Coordinator Charles Zimmerman stated, “By hosting an ecoEXPLORE™ HotSpot you are filling an important role in the lives of North Carolina’s children and families. Your HotSpot will provide an opportunity for children to explore the natural world around them while receiving the benefits of time spent in the outdoors within their own communities. Collectively, a statewide network of these family-friendly locations, supported by the resources of The North Carolina Arboretum’s ecoEXPLORE.net website and our regional hubs, promise to bring STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) enrichment within easy reach of students from the mountains to the coast.”
“The COA Foundation is extremely proud of the Fenwick-Hollowell Wetlands Trail,” said Dr. Catherine DeHart, Executive Director. “There is tremendous support for the trail, its recent renovations and maintenance. The trail was under renovation for several years, with the latest section being completed in March 2022. This work would not have been possible without the generous support from Green Saves Green and other community members. The Foundation is pleased to provide the COA family and our community with this amazing natural resource. In addition to our partnership with Kids in Parks, a signature Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation program, we are excited to announce our latest partnership with ecoEXPLORE.”
ecoEXPLORE also partners with local libraries to lend daypacks filled with items for studying nature. Please visit ecoEXPLORE.net to find partnering libraries in our service area.
When visiting the trail, a sign at the main entrance will provide additional information for participating and registering in ecoEXPLORE. To be a part of the network and stay updated on the latest activities, visit ecoEXPLORE.net. You may also visit albemarle.edu/trail for the latest information on the Fenwick-Hollowell Wetlands Trail or to support this wonderful community resource. We will see you on the trail!