G. Chris Shank, PhD
As the calendar turns to 2019, it is helpful to take a few moments and consider what the Bald Head Island Conservancy learned about our island in 2018.
First, we learned that Mother Nature is not always gentle. But, we also learned that this beautiful place can handle an incredibly strong punch in the gut. Hurricane Florence downed thousands of trees, flooded our roads and forest, removed sand from our beaches, and swamped our tidal creek with smelly river water. Yet as 2019 begins, floodwaters have receded, water quality in the creek is good, the beaches appear clean, and the island environment is beginning to heal including the precious maritime forest, although this will take time.
Second, and perhaps the most important lesson we learned in 2018, is the resounding affirmation of how much the BHI community of residents and visitors love this island. The efforts of the Village’s emergency crew and residents who worked tirelessly to remove floodwaters and open the wynds after Florence were amazing, as was the camaraderie of homeowners returning to help repair their properties.
Further, in spite of the losses that so many of you suffered due to the storm, whether it was on BHI or at home in other parts of NC, you stepped up and helped the Conservancy exceed its targeted goal for the Annual Fund Campaign. I can’t tell you just how much this means to all of us at the BHI Conservancy!
So, as we ponder these lessons about the resilient spirit of the island’s environment and the incredible commitment of the island community to protect this place, the BHI Conservancy enters 2019 fully energized to pursue our mission of community-based barrier island conservation, education, and preservation.
Happy New Year and can’t wait to see y’all in 2019!