The North Carolina Coastal Federation has been recognized with an Outstanding Stewardship Award, the highest award given by the Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Award Program, for their innovative approach to the preservation and renovation of the Fred and Alice Stanback Coastal Education Center in Wrightsville Beach.

In 2014, the historic 1948 Palmgren-O’Quinn beach cottage was donated and transported from Harbor Island to its current location in Wrightsville Beach’s Historic Square. There the Coastal Federation and a host of partners went to work integrating the building into its new community and renovating the cottage into an eco-friendly office and community education center.

“Preserving and protecting the history of this old cottage as a slice of our coastal heritage made sense for us as an organization whose mission it is to restore and protect the coast,” said Todd Miller, executive director of the Coastal Federation.

In addition to preserving a cottage slated for demolition, the building received a number of interior updates to make it more environmentally friendly with updated LED lighting, low-flow toilets, and increased natural lighting throughout. In addition, the grounds around the center were greatly enhanced with native plant rain gardens and rain barrels; rerouting of downspouts into the rain gardens; adding a cistern and pervious pavement that will help to control polluted stormwater runoff. The addition of an underground water retention trench, pollinator garden and exterior photocell- activated night lighting further aid in minimizing the environmental impact of the building.

“We made every effort possible to ensure the renovations would have a positive effect on the surrounding environment and continue to improve the neighborhood’s environmental health and educate the public with several additional stormwater reduction projects around the Loop (,” added Miller.

The Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Award Program honors residential, commercial and public development projects in Brunswick, Pender, and New Hanover counties that demonstrate outstanding environmental stewardship through the protection, conservation, improvement, and awareness of our natural resources.

The Lower Cape Fear Stewardship Development Coalition is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that encourages and recognizes outstanding development that protects, conserves, improves, and provides awareness of our natural resources in the Lower Cape Fear region.