The North Carolina Coastal Federation welcomed the Outer Banks community to its new office in the Wanchese Marine Industrial Park at its Wanchese Office Grand Opening on Thursday.
At its new location, the federation office is now working alongside commercial fishermen, recreational boat-builders and fishing suppliers — some of the people and businesses that most rely on clean waters. Commercial fishing has long been a part of Wanchese’s heritage.
Erin Fleckenstein, coastal scientist and regional manager at the Wanchese office, said she is most excited about the location of the office because of the opportunities staff will have to partner with its neighbors in the Marine Industrial Park.
“It should foster and enhance our programming and relationships with the people that depend most closely on a clean, healthy and productive coast,” she said. “We also look forward to community events, like our Fish Fry & Shrimp Boil and a rain barrel workshop at the new location, which will help to build the federation’s presence on the Outer Banks.”
Approximately 150 people showed up for a tour of the new office, which is more spacious than the federation’s previous office in Manteo. The new office overlooks Broad Creek, and staff members plan to build a living shoreline and oyster reef demonstration on site. It has an indoor classroom and space outside for education and restoration activities. Many people have been excited about the move.
“The general response to the office has been that it is a good move for the federation. It allows us the space we need for staffing and puts us in more direct contact with the people and industries that depend on clean water,” Fleckenstein said.
The open house featured a tour, a rain garden demonstration, refreshments and description of future plans for the space, which include a dock for water access, low-impact development demonstrations and onsite educational activities.
The office required renovations before the federation could move into the building in August. Support for the renovations came from many donors and sponsors, including the Outer Banks Community Foundation. The federation is thankful for all of the support it has received for the new office. Funds are still needed to support the education and habitat displays, and to complete the dock.
Fleckenstein said the northeast staff has been settling in well so far.
“We’re glad to be in the new space and look forward to seeing the full potential of the space come to reality,” she said.