Today, Governor Roy Cooper, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) Secretary Elizabeth S. Biser and North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) Secretary Reid Wilson celebrated Earth Day by participating in a stream clean-up at Chavis Park in Raleigh.
“North Carolina has a phenomenal network of parks and public lands for communities across the state to enjoy,” Governor Cooper said. “As we celebrate Earth Day, it is important for us to renew our commitment to protecting our environment for generations to come.”
“Protecting our natural resources is our priority at DEQ every day, not just on Earth Day,” said NCDEQ Secretary Biser. “We are investing in our communities, in small ways like today’s clean-up effort, and in larger ways through strategic infrastructure funding to support the environmental and economic health of North Carolinians.”
“This Earth Day, we’re highlighting the importance of access to parks, trails, and greenways,” said NCDNCR Secretary Wilson. “Outdoor recreation improves physical and mental health, enhances quality of life, and connects us with nature, which is the goal of our Parks and Trails for Health (PATH) initiative.”
NCDEQ is the lead stewardship agency for the protection of North Carolina’s environmental resources. NCDEQ’s theme for Earth Day 2022 is: Invest in Our Planet, Invest in Our Future. NCDEQ is sponsoring several statewide volunteer opportunities, including the NCDOT Statewide Litter Sweep, the Great American Cleanup and volunteer opportunities in our state parks, museums and libraries.
NCDNCR oversees the state’s resources for the arts, history, libraries and nature, and the department is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a state cabinet-level agency this year. DNCR’s initiative, Parks and Trails for Health (PATH) is designed to encourage physical activity in North Carolina’s parks, greenways and other outdoor spaces. PATH connects people to nature by promoting physical activity, fostering an appreciation for parks and natural areas and promoting diverse experiences and voices in the outdoors.
John Chavis Memorial Park, a public park in Southeast Raleigh, was dedicated in 1938 and named after John Chavis, an early 19th-century free black preacher and teacher. In 2016, the park was added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The stream that runs through Chavis Park is a NCDEQ stream restoration project. Completed in 2002, the project restructured the stream to reduce erosion, remove invasive vegetation, plant native vegetation and improve overall water quality. NCDEQ’s stewardship program has maintained the stream under an easement since 2016.
In January 2022, Governor Cooper signed Executive Order 246, which lays out the next steps in transitioning North Carolina to a clean energy economy and achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions while creating economic opportunities across the state, especially in underserved communities.
Governor Cooper has proclaimed this week as National Volunteer Week to celebrate the important work volunteers do across the state and encourage more North Carolinians to volunteer. There are many opportunities for people to mark the week.