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Every summer, the Reserve staff doubles in size as interns and seasonal employees join offices in Beaufort, Kitty Hawk, and Wilmington. Positions are offered directly through the Reserve and the North Carolina Division of Coastal Management, as well as the State of North Carolina Internship Program. Many students also volunteer with the Reserve, with some receiving college credit for their experience. Summer is a busy time for all Reserve sites, so the extra helping hands are appreciated.

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In July, the Coastal Training Program hosted NOAA’s Social Science Basics training for local professionals. The social sciences are a valuable but often overlooked element of coastal zone management. Issues from marsh restoration to flood mitigation all involve critical human elements – knowledge, values, and attitudes – of the people that live, work, and play in these areas.

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The Division of Waste Management’s extensive work to protect the environment and public health can be seen across North Carolina. Several sites along Peace Street in the heart of Raleigh near the Capital Boulevard Corridor are getting a facelift through the division’s environmental work, allowing them to be redeveloped to spur economic development.

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What happens to the black plastic film or mulch that sits on mounds of newly planted produce on North Carolina’s nearly 50,000 farms? A project supported by Waste Reduction Partners, North Carolina State University extension agents, the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission and other partners is pursuing ways to improve the field collection process to prepare this plastic for recycling.

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Some North Carolina communities have found ways to turn trash into treasure – with the help of the department’s Brownfields and Pre-Regulatory (PRLF) Landfill programs. Wilmington is home to the Cape Fear Regional Soccer Complex – a park that houses seven full-size soccer fields on top of the old Flemington Landfill that closed in the late 1970s. The seven existing fields occupy the northern half of a former landfill property and were redeveloped in 2007 by Cape Fear Soccerplex, LLC (CFS) under a North Carolina Brownfields Agreement.

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The term “energy” is normally associated with big power plants and turbines pumping electricity to our homes. But that’s not the case everywhere. At the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro, North Carolina, energy is turned into art. Jackson County Green Energy Park is unique because it gets its energy from an unlikely source: landfill gas, which is given off when organic materials decompose in landfills. The gas is a natural byproduct of decomposition, and it is approximately 50 percent methane and 50 percent carbon dioxide, with a small percentage of other gases.

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Atrium Health, a key provider of healthcare and wellness programs throughout the Carolinas and Georgia, is making strides on energy reduction and energy management. Atrium Health earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year Award two years in a row for 2018 and 2019. Between 2017 and 2018, Atrium Health earned ENERGY STAR certification on 10 facilities, including two of its largest acute care hospitals. Two additional facilities are currently pursuing certification.

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At this year’s Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI) Conference, DEQ Secretary Michael Regan had one message: we’re all environmentalists. From business leaders to students to ESI stewards, environmentalists see that environmental stewardship and economic development go hand-in-hand. “I believe in our shared mission,” said Secretary Regan. “One that suggests we are a network of neighbors, friends, problem-solvers, community and business leaders who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change.”

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