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Aaron Sebens and his fourth grade class at Central Park School for Children in Durham, took their lessons on energy and the environment to the next level, by launching a crowd-funding campaign to add solar electricity to his classroom. “It went viral and we ended up raising enough money to take our classroom completely off the grid,” Sebens said. “The U.S. Department of Energy made a video about the project  and then-President Barack Obama tweeted about it.”

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Pocosins are naturally-occurring freshwater evergreen shrub wetlands of the southeastern coastal plains with deep, acidic, sandy, peat soils. Pocosins are formed by the accumulation of organic matter, resembling black muck, that is built up over thousands of years in the unique conditions that exist on these wetlands. Several inches to several feet of organic matter can be built up under the correct conditions, making these lands a carbon sink for North Carolina. While pocosins are referred to as wetlands, they are not completely covered in water and support a large mix of wildlife.

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DEQ Secretary Regan was at Fort Caswell on Wednesday to congratulate Tara Whicker for completing the department’s Environmental Education Certification Program and to learn more about Caswell’s educational programming. Whicker is the coastal education assistant coordinator with the Environmental Stewardship Program at Fort Caswell. She helps facilitate field trips and teach K-12 students about coastal ecology and marine biology in a non-formal, outdoor setting.

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“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.” ― Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!  

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Elizabeth Werner, a hydrogeologist in the Solid Waste Section, has been selected as the 2018 Division of Waste Management’s Employee of the Year for her unparalleled dedication to public service, exemplary scientific experience and knows-no-bounds enthusiasm for serving the state of North Carolina. “She embodies everything that the Department of Environmental Quality stands for,” stated her nominator.

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Melodi Deaver, administrative specialist in the Hazardous Waste Section’s Compliance Branch, is one of three finalists for the Division of Waste Management’s Employee of the Year Award, the recipients of which are nominated by fellow colleagues who have gone above-and-beyond in their service to the public and the regulated community, while striving to showcase the mission of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

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The US Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule, revising the guidelines for greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. After careful review, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) has requested the EPA abandon the proposed rule-making, and replace it with a rule that achieves meaningful emission reductions.  In comments submitted to the EPA this week, DEQ outlines key concerns with this proposal.

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