North Carolina Year of the Science Trail 2023

The basic concept for the North Carolina Science Trail was developed many years ago, but it wasn’t until 2021 that a working group of individuals across North Carolina were brought together to explore the feasibility of an idea that held some real magic. The North Carolina Science Trail currently has over 100 Trail Partners working together to bring exceptional science education resources to the residents and visitors of our state.

Thank you to our 2024 Partners and Sponsors

Time Line of Developmemt

Idea Proposed

NC Science Trail concept proposed within the North Carolina Science Network member organizations, but not adopted.

Scientific Reaction Begins
Pilot Project
  • The NC General Assembly passed a bill that declared 2023 in North Carolina to be the "Year of the Trail".
  • Secretary Reid Wilson of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, rekindled the Science Trail concept and suggested establishing a working group to gauge feasibility.
  • The working group explored the Science Trail concept and established a proposal for bringing the NC Science Trail to life.
Critical Mass
Trail Collaboration Begins
  • In Situ Explorers, a NC non-profit, proposed to manage the NC Science Trail, carrying it forward with the working groups' outlined goals.
  • NC Science Trail funded by the NCDNCR
  • Plans made for 30 initial trail sites as a Pilot Project.
  • NC Science Network contributed funds to the project doubling inaugural Trail Partners.
  • Website development and data collection began.
Official Launch
Science and the NC Year of the Trail
  • Preparations for Launch of NC Science Trail in conjunction with NC Science Festival and the NC Year of the Trail
  • April 2023: Official NC Science Trail Launch with 18+ events across the state.
  • Summer 2023: New Funding allows the NC Science Trail to bring in the remainder of the NC State Parks as partners and begin investigating additional partners for the fall.
  • Fall 2023: Partnership with the NC Department of Commerce and their nine official NC Welcome Centers begins with the installation of the first NC Science Trail partner display in the Welcome Center at Roanoke Rapids, I-95N.
Science and Year of the Bear
  • NC Science Trail expands rapidly, growing to 100 partners by May 2024.
  • Spring 2024: Welcome Center displays are installed in the remainder of the Welcome Centers around the state.
  • Summer 2024: 100th Partner Celebration in Wilson, NC