Reid Wilson, secretary of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (DNCR), was in Dare County September 23-24 to visit half a dozen local sites.
Wilson said that while this is not his first time on the Outer Banks, this trip is the first time since he became director and the visit provided a great opportunity to learn more about some of the history of the region.
Prior to being appointed director by Governor Roy Cooper on January 1, Wilson was the department’s deputy chief secretary, responsible for the agency’s natural resources divisions.
Prior to joining DNCR, Wilson was the Executive Director of the Conservation Trust for North Carolina, a statewide nonprofit organization that advances land conservation and connects people to the outdoors. In addition, he has served as a public affairs consultant to national environmental groups and served for nearly eight years with the United States Environmental Protection Agency as a political member of the Clinton administration.
“We’re the department for all the things people love in North Carolina,” Wilson said. “Much of what we do is also focused on education. “
Expanding educational content for children is just one of five major goals Wilson has set for the department. Other goals include tackling the impact of climate change; strengthen and expand coverage of diversity, inclusion, equity and accessibility; improved economic development for many communities; and the protection of public health.
Wilson went on to say that his department has an important role to play in the discussion of climate change by providing objective and scientific information.
“We need to present the information in a non-confrontational way,” he explained. “We have to explain what it is and what a family can do about it. To focus on the changes, where I’m standing.
“Clean energy is our future,” he added. “Our department has no authority over energy, but we can be a key part of that future.”
On Thursday, September 23, Wilson toured the Atlantic Museum Cemetery, Roanoke Island Festival Park, and the Outer Banks History Center. On Friday, September 24, he was at Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Jennette’s Pier and ended his tour by attending the Surfalorus Film Festival, sponsored by DNCR, at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.
Wilson said he had a large map with pins marking every DNCR site in the state and had visited about half of them so far.
“When we get back to normal it will be great,” Wilson added. “I am amazed at what our sites have done so far during the pandemic. “
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