Award-winning social worker learns new lessons as a hurricane survivor herself

Ashley Jackson, a social worker on Hatteras Island with the Dare  County Department of Health & Human Services, was named the Dare County Employee of the Year for 2016 for her continual efforts after Hurricane Matthew – even when her own home was flooded with 10 inches of water.

She was presented the award at the January 3, 2017 meeting of the Dare County Board of Commissioners and was recognized for her outstanding service to those she serves. 
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The Night Sky:  Look for the Orion nebula in January

As January starts, the constellation Orion will be visible near the eastern horizon as the skies get dark.  This is a good opportunity to look for M42, the Orion Nebula, with your naked eye.  At magnitude +4, it’s pretty easy to see on a clear winter’s night.  The nebula will appear as a fuzzy area around the second star in the sword of Orion. 
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'Drift' seeds find their way to our beaches from afar

Living on the ocean, we have an extra joy -- it's not just island plants that provide us seeds.  It is the ocean itself.  To obtain these seeds, you walk the beach.  The best place to find these seeds is in the wrack at the high-water mark, where you will see the seaweed or trash that has been deposited after the tides recede. 
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New resource for learning about living shorelines is now online

Restore America’s Estuaries and the North Carolina Coastal Federation have developed a website as a resource where anyone can learn more about living shorelines, get training on how to build them and ask questions of experts in the field.

Living shorelines are an alternative to other, hardened management methods, such as seawalls and bulkheads, which have been shown to cause erosion farther down the shoreline and to disrupt estuarine ecosystems.  Read more  

Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men:  Helping storm victims for the long-term

Hatteras Island is nearing the two-month mark after Hurricane Matthew, and some of the assistance available has started to dwindle – or will be disappearing soon. But even then the Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men will still be hard at work ensuring that local folks can receive the help they need.
“After the storm, we are considered the last resort,” says the group's director Dennis Carroll. “We’re here long-term, so generally we let FEMA, the Salvation Army, and the other agencies come and do their work, and we assist with the urgent situations."  Read more

Study aims to answer question of how much tourism is too much

Imagine data could be plugged into a computer to show exactly how much human presence and interaction the delicate ecology of a popular coastal area could handle before being severely affected.

Would it help with managing national seashores or state parks along the coast? 
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Rolling back the red wolf recovery effort

As the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service’s red wolf recovery program here marked its 25th anniversary in 2012, it was basking in nationwide accolades as a groundbreaking conservation success. Just four years later, it is teetering on the edge of failure, a turn of fate fanned by politics, mistaken identity and public ill will. 
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Conflicts and ill will threaten red wolf recovery

Back in the 1990s and 2000s, photographs of adorable newborn wolf pups that were being introduced to their new, wild mothers filled pages of newspapers and magazines, along with glowing articles about red wolf management successes.

That was before complaints about wolves attacking livestock, family pets and game animals or just lurking around private property became frequent at public meetings, and before some scientific studies stirred doubts about whether red wolves were more coyote than wolf. It was before mailboxes of politicians and bureaucrats were inundated with constituents’ impassioned objections to the wolves. 
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Hatteras couple are recovering from two rounds of soundside flooding -- just weeks apart

Jan Willis has a lot of experience when it comes to hurricanes. She moved to Hatteras Island in the middle of a hurricane in 1971 to be the new kindergarten teacher at the Cape Hatteras School. She also encountered her future husband, Eugene Willis, a Hatteras native, during the same storm soon after she arrived.

Since they settled in their charming Hatteras home in 1988, they have weathered a number of storms, but nothing like the one-two punch they have taken from Hermine and Matthew this fall.
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