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Environmental Conservation Programs



The staff and volunteers of the North Carolina Aquariums are actively involved in a number of environmental and ecological programs dedicated to the conservation and preservation of our environment.




Big Sweep

The Big Sweep, the nation's largest statewide waterway cleanup, focuses public attention on the problem of trash in our coastal and inland waterways. Each fall, volunteers working from more than 300 sites (including the three North Carolina Aquariums) pick up more than 100 tons of litter along the coast and throughout the water systems of the state.

North Carolina Big Sweep

North Carolina Big Sweep

Plastic bags, monofilament fishing line, tires, even refrigerators are pulled from our beaches, rivers, and other aquatic habitats. The cleanup is as much a search for information as it is for litter. UNC Sea Grant analyzes the data pertaining to the cleanup to determine where the trash comes from so educational efforts can be better targeted. If you're interested in becoming involved in the next Big Sweep, call their hotline at 1-800-27SWEEP.


Earth Day

Each year the North Carolina Aquariums observe Earth Day in April by offering special programs or workshops dedicated to the preservation and conservation of our planet's resources.


The North Carolina Aquariums help coordinate many conservation opportunities throughout the year. Check the interactive events calendar at each aquarium for more information.

Planting a tree at the NC Aquarium

planting a tree at the North Carolina Aquarium