K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

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Sediment salt marshes
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 6
Figure 4 shows salt marshes growing inside the mouth of Bogue Inlet on sediment that has settled out of flooding tides. Areas of open water separate these marshes, but there is clearly more marsh than open water this close to the inlet. How these plants got...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Extensive salt marsh
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 7
Figure 5 is a view looking towards the mainland from the high dunes on Bear Island. It shows the extensive salt marsh that has developed on intertidal sands and mud west of Bogue Inlet. These are the marshes you could see in the right-hand background of figure...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect
A “virtual field trip” up the White Oak River in southeastern North Carolina, with discussion of how local ecology changes along the way due to decreasing salinity.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Salt marsh cord grass & black needle rush plants (1)
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 9
Figure 7 shows us where the salt marshes are located in this high-salinity section of the White Oak estuary. Marshes develop mostly along the banks of tributary creeks. Here, you see the creek's mouth facing into the main portion of the estuary and the marshes...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Evidence of rising sea level: Coastal erosion and plant community changes
A Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” that examines the causes and effects of changes in sea level, both short-term (as a result of storms) and long-term (as a result of climate change).
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Marshes of Masonboro
In Small sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks, page 8
Figure 6 shows that most of the marshes on the landward side of Masonboro are doing quite well. They are lush and healthy and extend more than a mile landward of the berm. Note that in this location there are a few patches of maritime shrub plants. These suggest...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Salt marshes
In Wetlands of the coastal plains, page 15
The single most important ecological feature of salt marshes along coastal rivers is their immersion/exposure cycle. The lower the marsh, the longer the surface is immersed in tidal waters. Low marshes in North Carolina are dominated by smooth cordgrass (
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Intertidal sand flat salt marsh plants
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 5
Figure 3 shows a place where salt marsh plants have just become established on an intertidal sand flat. This is a relatively rare occurrence, because most marshes increase in size as a result of vegetative reproduction in which roots and similar underground...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
How does decreasing salinity affect blackwater rivers?
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 2
All rivers that reach the sea have ocean water at their seaward ends, and freshwater at their sources. A trip up a river takes you along a gradient of salt concentration from near 3.5 percent (the average salinity, or salt content, of seawater) to zero. There...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Small sand volume barrier islands: Environmental processes and development risks
This Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” explores the nature and structure of barrier islands with small sand volume, on which built structures are highly susceptible to damage from hurricanes.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
From freshwater to salt marsh
In Wetlands of the coastal plains, page 14
Our boat drifts slowly downstream past swamp forests and freshwater marshes. (My boat of choice for this part of the trip has no motor because I am in no hurry to get past the wildflowers, birds, and abundant wildlife that decorate the lower extremities of...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Wetlands of the coastal plains
This Carolina Environmental Diversity Explorations “virtual field trip” explores the various wetlands of North Carolina's coastal plain and the plant communities found there.
Format: slideshow (multiple pages)
Tidal freshwater marsh
In Wetlands of the coastal plains, page 9
Figure 8 shows a tidal freshwater marsh. The dominant plant here is sawgrass, the same species that occurs abundantly in the Everglades. Here it is growing along a blackwater river in front of a swamp forest. The area illustrated here is close enough to the...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Zeke's Island North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve
Part of the North Carolina National Estuarine Research Reserve, Zeke's Island has interpreter led field trips which focus on the importance of estuaries to the North Carolina coast.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
Sawgrass fronts blackwater swamp forest (1)
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 15
Figure 13 is a view of a tidal freshwater section of the river where freshwater marsh dominated by sawgrass fronts a typical blackwater swamp forest. This is about 12 miles from the sea and does not get salt water very often at all. The log in the foreground...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Sunset over Currituck Sound in Corolla, NC
Sunset over Currituck Sound in Corolla, NC
The sun sets over Currituck Sound in Corolla, North Carolina. The marshes are also visible in this photo.
Format: image/photograph
Eastern 4-H Environmental Education Center
Located a few miles outside Columbia, North Carolina, the center provides programming dealing with ecology, ecosystems, and animals and their habitats to area school groups.
Format: article/field trip opportunity
The Intracoastal Waterway
In Cape Fear estuaries: From river to sea, page 12
We have reached the sea and the end of the Cape Fear River estuary. Looking south, we can see the curve of the southernmost cusp of the North Carolina coast. The inlet in the distance is the Lockwood Folly River. The Intracoastal Waterway follows the coastline,...
By Steve Keith.
Sawgrass fronts blackwater swamp forest (2)
In A blackwater river from sea to source: The White Oak River transect, page 16
Figure 14 is the bank of the White Oak opposite that shown in figure 13. The swamp forest community shown in the background of figure 13 is growing right to the edge of the water here. Note the large loblolly pines in the right foreground and some bald cypress...
By Dirk Frankenberg.
Bulrushes
Bulrushes
Photograph of dark green bulrushes (Scirpus atrovirens). Bulrushes are aquatic grass-like plants that grow in marshes or wetlands. They have cylindrical, usually hollow, stems. The species Scirpus atrovirens is...
Format: image/photograph