Marine CSI: Coastal Science Investigations was founded by Kimberly Belfer, Director of Education, in 2014, with collaborations with and assistance from Regina Borriello and Kasie Regnier. Regina brought her expertise as a high school biology teacher and Kasie brought her experience as an informal educator to adapt our resources for publication. Our four educator resources are available for purchase here. Our outreach program, Watershed Walkabout: Cape Fear was developed from these resources, with an emphasis on the Cape Fear River basin and salt marsh-tidal creek ecosystem. The mission of this program is to bring inexpensive, interactive, and inquiry-basd lessons to schools in the southeastern region of North Carolina.
Marine CSI: Coastal Science Investigations is designed to assist both formal and informal educators with resources to teach marine science concepts, local ecology, and marine conservation to K-12th grade students. The intention of the resource guides is to provide supplemental lessons for science curricula and on-site programming. Each lesson has been correlated to the Next Generation Science Standards.
With the success of these self-published resources, we saw a need for teacher training in marine and environmental science. We developed educator training modules and presented them to local, regional, and national conferences, including the Mid-Atlantic Marine Educators Association (MAMEA), the National Marine Educators Association (NMEA), and Environmental Educators of North Carolina (EENC).
In 2018, Marine CSI: Coastal Science Investigations (also known as Marine CSI) was incorporated as a for-profit business in New Hanover County, NC. Our outreach program, Watershed Walkabout: Cape Fear, is a branded program. We have since self-published two more resources during the pandemic for children ages 6+ called the Explore Your Watershed series.
Our Director of Education/Owner:
Kimberly Belfer is a certified Environmental Educator in NC and has received certificates in Project WET, Project WILD, Project Aquatic WILD, Wonders of Wetlands, and Project Learning Tree. She received her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology (minor in Environmental Studies) from Stockton University (NJ). From there, she had her first taste of marine science education at the NJ Sea Grant Consortium (formerly Marine Sciences Consortium).
She continued her education and received a Master's degree in Conservation Biology from James Cook University (Townsville, Australia), where she got to dive the Great Barrier Reef. Since then, she has dedicated her career to being an informal and outreach educator and program coordinator, working for various organizations and facilities, including UNCW MarineQuest, NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, and Museum of Coastal Carolina.
It is through her lifelong journey with informal education where she has found those "teachable moments" and that has spread to her volunteer work at the Pleasure Island Sea Turtle Project for twelve years. Even with a nine-year hiatus from NC, she still found ways to vacation and teach about turtles on the beach during the summer nesting season. When she finally returned to Wilmington, a place that has never left her heart, as the owner and Director of Education for Marine CSI, her goal was to bring her expertise and knowledge of informal education to the Cape Fear region.
Besides volunteering, in her spare time, Kimberly is a published author of historical fiction. She has written novellas and novels on many different time periods and enjoys the research that goes into each one. Currently, she has six published books and is working on her next novel for publication. She also spends as much time as possible on the beach, collecting shells for her "shell box" she started as an educator with the NJ Sea Grant Consortium.