The Class of 2013 spent several days on the North Carolina coast in March exploring a leadership challenge facing the state – the erosion of the Outer Banks. During the field experience, Park Scholars engaged with politicians, engineers, and researchers to learn about the environmental, economic, political, and cultural issues connected to this coastal problem.
In the process, students gained an understanding of the intricacies associated with effectively solving problems while navigating the interests of stakeholders ranging from homeowners to conservationists. Overall, the situation on the Outer Banks provided Park Scholars with an excellent case study involving policymakers, academics, and local citizens working to tackle a complex issue whose effects will continue to have a significant impact on the people of North Carolina.
The Learning Lab I committee included eight Park Scholars who collaborated with Park Faculty Scholars John Griggs and Juliana Nfah-Abbenyi to prepare for their class experience on the Outer Banks. The group coordinated a series of dialogues with the following individuals:
Bill Birkemeier, Research Hydraulics Engineer and Washington, D.C. Liaison, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Field Research Facility
Jennifer Cox, Interpretation and Education Ranger, Jockey’s Ridge State Park
Billy Edge, Head of the Sustainable Engineering in Coastal Environments Program, University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute, and Professor, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Cliff Ogburn, Town Manager, Town of Nags Head
Margery Overton, Professor, Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering
Stanley Riggs, Distinguished Professor of Geology, East Carolina University
Ray Sturza, Mayor, Town of Kill Devil Hills, and Planning Director, Dare County