Extending the Earth Day Impact

Students at Hill Camp

At NC State, we don’t just celebrate Earth Day, we take on the whole month with a 30 Days, 30 Ways Challenge. In the College of Natural Resources, we extend the month to 365 days and celebrate the Earth year-round. As a world leader in the sustainable use of natural resources, we routinely train outside industry to become better environmental stewards through community outreach and professional services.

Our Extension and Outreach program focuses on six major areas, including geographic information services, paper science and biomaterials, recreation and park planning, regional forestry decision-making, tourism, and wood products.

The program trains more than 30,000 natural resource professionals, landowners, general public and youth about sustainable utilization of forest and other natural resources each year. Through distance education, certificate programs, workshops, short courses, publications, field days and other educational tools, participants learn how to create a sustainable future where the needs of the current generation can be met without jeopardizing the needs of future generations. Outreach specialists in forestry, wood products, recreation and tourism also annually respond to more than 10,000 requests for information and consultation from individuals, communities, state and local governments, and businesses around the world.

“All of this effort is directed at a wise use of our natural resources,” Bob Bardon, Associate Dean of Extension and Engagement, said. “Embedded in many of our programs is the focus on sustainable use of the forest and natural resources. And that wise use of these resources will result in more productive and healthy forest and natural resources.”

Major areas of impact include:

  • Christmas Trees – Promoting economic development through best management practices and sound business skills. Providing research and guidance to more than 2,000 Christmas tree growers across N.C. who harvest more than 19 percent of the nation’s Christmas trees annually.
  • Community Forestry – Improving the health of community forests through better management and policies. Researching the impact of climate change on forests and the impact rural and unplanned development and the encroachment of incompatible land uses have on working lands and the conservation of natural resources and military readiness.
  • Family Forestry – Enhancing natural resource stewardship and improving economic well being through active management.
  • Professional Development – Improving economic well-being and enhancing job skills of natural resource professionals and K-12 Educators.
  • Tourism – Improving the quality of tourism provisions across rural N.C. by helping individuals and communities develop prosperous and enduring tourism enterprises, including developing tourism that conserves natural resources, promotes socio-cultural integrity, and stimulates endogenous economic development.
  • Wood Products – Increasing the competitiveness and profitability of the N.C. wood products industry by improving markets and increasing consumer understanding of products and their proper use. Providing sustainability criteria, economic impacts, industry trends and business entrepreneurship opportunities.
  • Woody Biomass – Developing economic opportunities related to woody biomass-based alternative energy production.
  • Youth Education – Connecting youth with the natural environment through 4-H and Project Learning Tree.

To learn more about our three Extension programs, visit their web pages: