Ayden man, ECU honored for coastal preservation efforts
The Daily Reflector
Monday, July 30, 2018
An Ayden resident and a program that matches ECU students with volunteer opportunities were recognized on Saturday for contributions that preserve the state’s coast.
The North Carolina Coastal Federation honored Tom Turner and the East Carolina University Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement during its 2018 Pelican Awards and Taste of the Coast event at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City.
The annual event recognizes the people, community associations and government agencies that contributed to the protection and restoration of the coast, said Todd Miller, executive director of the federation.
“We are blessed to have such dedicated volunteers and community groups to enable our work,” Miller said. “These winners are part of the social fabric of our coast, and their help is essential if our coast is to be protected and restored.”
Turner received the “Exceptional Volunteer Contributions to Our Coast” award, according to a news release.
During the 10 years he has volunteered with the federation, Turner has spent more 280 hours helping with restoration projects. That time doesn’t include his 90-minute commute to the coast.
“The Coastal Federation does vital work preserving our coast and environment,” Turner said. “It has been my pleasure to be able to help on some of the projects and to meet and work with some great people, both staff and fellow volunteers.
“I am honored to receive a Pelican Award, especially for something I really enjoyed doing,” Turner said.
Turner has planted thousands of native plants and salt marsh grasses, built several oyster reefs and assisted with many coastal cleanups, according to the release.
The East Carolina University Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement Alternative Break Experiences is an annual program that allows ECU students to volunteer with the federation during their spring break. The center received an award for “Fostering Successful Partnerships that Protect and Restore the Coast.”
Throughout the nine-year partnership with the program, the students have helped with shoreline cleanups, office and trail upkeep, salt marsh grass and tree plantings, oyster shell bagging and oyster reef construction.
“Our participants who go on this experience leave with the confidence of knowing that one person can make a bigger impact than they imagined on their first day. We are honored to receive this Pelican Award, for the work that the Coastal Federation does helps our participants understand that their small actions of volunteering can secure the future of the coast for years to come,” said Lauren Howard, the center’s assistant director.
The federation also honored the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce Leadership Carteret Program with an award for “Outstanding Business and Community Leadership and Collaboration.”
The chamber program is an annual 10-week program that allows members to visit local businesses and organizations to learn about them and the impact that they are making on the county.
Participants joined the federation in bagging oyster shells for shoreline preservation.
The North Carolina Coastal Federation is a nonprofit membership organization that provides for clean coastal waters and habitats, advocates to protect the coast and teaches people about the coast and what they can do to protect it.