Growing a Research and Education Community

The Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Sanctuary is defining conservation success one research project at a time

Photo: Mary Alice Holley

Tucked away on a pristine and undisturbed landscape in the heart of Corolla, the Donal C. O’Brien, Jr. Sanctuary is defining conservation success one research project at a time. Through our efforts to establish a Research and Education Campus at the Sanctuary, we offer this special place to scientists to conduct research on a variety of issues and challenges.

Audubon North Carolina invites researchers from every discipline to explore the Sanctuary and take advantage of this unique resource. The 2,600-acre campus is virtually undisturbed offering a pristine campus in the heart of the Outer Banks for scientists to work, explore and become the visionaries of conservation success in North Carolina and across the nation.

Today, more than 600 species of flora and fauna have been identified and that number continues to grow through continuing surveys. The Sanctuary’s diverse mix of habitats include some globally significant areas and range from upland maritime forest to dune fields to fresh aquatic marsh to salt marsh, and many rare and priority bird species have made a home here.

Protecting and preserving special places like the Sanctuary has never been as important as it is right now. It’s an exciting time to be part of the future of conservation and lead the way for vital environmental protections. The possibilities for achieving the next scientific breakthroughs in the field of conservation are endless – and it starts at the Sanctuary in Corolla.

 From habitat preservation to bird species monitoring to marsh restoration to identifying the effects of climate change, the Sanctuary in Corolla is already supporting many amazing projects.

Now, we invite you to join our growing research community. We offer residential housing to accommodate researchers for short and long-term projects. While staying on-site, you’ll have direct access to our nature trails, impoundments, marsh and maritime forest, and much more.

Residential and nonresidential research is encouraged. Contact Center Director Robbie Fearn with your questions and proposals.

Research Conducted at the Sanctuary

Research Application for Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary in Corolla
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Research Application for Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary in Corolla

Learn more about how to apply to conduct research at the Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary in Corolla.

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A Win-Win for Research and Conservation
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

A Win-Win for Research and Conservation

Mark Stanback, PhD, Davidson College Professor of Biology chose the Sanctuary for his latest monitoring project. Learn how he's compiling data from Tree Swallow nest boxes.

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Research Shows Massive Black Rail Population Decline
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Research Shows Massive Black Rail Population Decline

The Audubon Sanctuary served as a site for researchers to measure the health of Black Rail populations and examine potential strongholds along the coast.

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Other News About the Sanctuary

A Secluded Outer Banks Experience
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

A Secluded Outer Banks Experience

The Sanctuary in Corolla recently hosted students from the University of North Carolina’s Coastal Studies Institute Outer Banks Field Site Program.

A Win-Win for Research and Conservation
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

A Win-Win for Research and Conservation

Mark Stanback, PhD, Davidson College Professor of Biology chose the Sanctuary for his latest monitoring project. Learn how he's compiling data from Tree Swallow nest boxes.

Aerial Views of Pine Island
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Aerial Views of Pine Island

Chip Hemingway, an architect working on the Master Site Plan for the Sanctuary, has been able to blend his two passions: to create both art and architecture.

Stroll Through the Upgraded Nature Trail
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Stroll Through the Upgraded Nature Trail

This winter, work will be done to make the Sanctuary Nature Trail in Corolla more accessible and informative.

Exploring Nature and History in the Outer Banks
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Exploring Nature and History in the Outer Banks

The Sanctuary staff was excited to partner with Wings Over Water to offer festival goers an intimate nature experience through guided tours.

Spring Break for Good
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Spring Break for Good

Twenty-four student volunteers flocked to the Outer Banks as part of the University of Akron’s 2015 Alternative Spring Break Trip.

Phase 1 of the Future Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary and Audubon Center
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Phase 1 of the Future Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary and Audubon Center

The birds and wildlife have been here for centuries and now ambitious planning at the Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Corolla will bring researchers from across the country to unlock its conservation secrets.

Conservation Inspires Art and Education
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Conservation Inspires Art and Education

Inspired by the region’s famed waterfowl and long-standing tradition of hunting with wooden decoys, Hitnes created a large-scale mural on the Sanctuary’s boathouse.

Audubon Sanctuary Public Education Programs Summer 2015
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Audubon Sanctuary Public Education Programs Summer 2015

This summer, the Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary and Audubon Center in Corolla invites visitors to enjoy the birds and wildlife by land and by water with daily programs and events open to the public.

Spring Creeps Slowly onto the Outer Banks
Donal C. O'Brien, Jr. Sanctuary And Audubon Center In Corolla

Spring Creeps Slowly onto the Outer Banks

Audubon North Carolina’s Donal C. O’Brien Jr. Sanctuary Director Robbie Fearn celebrates the early signs of spring on the Outer Banks.

How you can help, right now