Last spring in the northeast office, a Duke student showed up on our doorstep. Her name was Dia Hitt and she wanted to know if she could do a project with us for her Community Based Management class. The goal of the class was to pick an organization that the student was interested in learning more about and Dia, who lives in Manteo and has a background in marine biology and coastal issues, picked the Manteo office of the North Carolina Coastal Federation. For three months, Dia dug into the organization’s background, mission, methods and staff. She attended events, advisory meetings, volunteered at oyster roasts, and most of all she learned how to engage local communities in conservation efforts. The results of this project and the recommendations that came out of it were presented to the federation’s northeast staff in December. The organization’s dedication, use of local knowledge on projects, and empowerment of local communities were some of the highlights of the report.

Now, Dia has approached us again for help on her Master’s project, a stakeholder analysis (coastal resident survey) of people’s knowledge, perceptions and opinions of terminal groins. As the federation is actively engaged in this topic, she is asking for help in distributing her survey throughout the coastal region. Her goal is to reach as many coastal residents as possible so that the results are a true representation of the public’s views. Policy on this topic is changing daily and it’s important for your voices to be included in the dialogue. With the federation’s stance of opposing harden structures these survey results will help shape necessary planning and outreach efforts moving forward.

The target audience is residents that live in Currituck, Carteret, Dare, Pender, New Hanover, Brunswick, Onslow, Hyde and Pamlico counties. Dia’s project results will be made available to the Coastal Federation as well as policymakers, other non-governmental organizations and anyone else who is interested, including non-coastal residents.

The survey will be open through December. Please complete the survey at your earliest convenience.