By SUSAN WHITE
Posted April 3, 2015
If you’re passionate about the coast — whether for your work, life, play or study — I want to invite you to attend North Carolina’s Coastal Conference on April 14 in Raleigh.
This conference is intended to be a space where the present and the future of the North Carolina coast converge.
Hosted by North Carolina Sea Grant, this University of North Carolina System-sponsored event will speak to your interests and your questions about our state’s coast.
Tom Ross, president of the UNC System, has high ambitions for this meeting. “This conference continues the traditional role that the UNC System has played in bringing together interested stakeholders on priority issues for the coast,” he says. “I anticipate that these discussions will result in additional collaborative efforts to address the needs of North Carolina’s coastal communities. It promises to be an interesting and important day.”
Opportunity and potential: That’s what excites me about this conference. The day will provide the time and space for those representing diverse coastal interests to meet and discuss opportunities, challenges and potentially build collaborations — and it hasn’t happened quite like this before. It’s a first for the UNC System, and a first for me.
This is not your usual conference on coastal issues. Here’s why this is different — and why I think you should join us.
First, you will hear from experts and officials who will discuss issues that are relevant to North Carolina’s coast. We have a gathered a slate of stellar speakers in one place for this event. The secretaries of the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and N.C. Department of Transportation will make remarks, alongside researchers and representatives from government, business and community groups.
Next, speakers will highlight a wide range of topics that are relevant and important to our coastal communities. A plenary discussion and three concurrent sessions will address energy resources, coastal economies, healthy coasts and communities, hazard preparation and response, marine industry development, and coastal infrastructure. If you have to choose between sessions, know that we also will be recording these talks. You can view what you missed online later on.
Further, this is an opportunity for your voice to be heard. The program includes time for you to ask questions of the speakers during the concurrent sessions. Also network with public officials, researchers and other coastal stakeholders during breaks, lunch and at the evening reception.
Lastly, learn about current and emerging issues that are changing — and could change — life along the state’s shores. Come and mingle with the individuals and organizations that focus on these these matters.
Our day session is set for North Carolina State University’s McKimmon Center in Raleigh. In the evening, join us for a reception at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences’ Nature Research Center. Registration is required. Find out more at ncseagrant.ncsu.edu/nc-coastal-conference.
You don’t want to miss this opportunity. I hope to see you there.