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Driving Innovation in Energy & the Environment

Environment and Natural Resources



College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Biological and
Agricultural Engineering

Extension Biological and Agricultural Engineering provides engineering support for environmental concerns and production agriculture. Capabilities in environmental control for livestock facilities and farm machinery have been updated. However, many specialists' programming has changed to reduce emphasis on developed technology being provided by the private sector to new or changing needs. For example, work on energy conservation now focuses on post harvest management, which has been identified as the most important agricultural need in North Carolina. Traditional irrigation activities have become part of the overall total water management program. The safety program has expanded to include health, occupational and environmental concerns. The livestock environmental systems program is now complemented by expanding programming on non-point source control, urban runoff, total watershed management, basin-wide planning, ground water quality, drinking water safety and solid waste management.

The departmental 4-H electric program enjoys very high participation throughout North Carolina, and a recent successful expansion has been the one-week summer camp entitled, "Sc i-Tech Adventures Camp." Projects with low participation or outside specialist's expertise are being replaced by more timely environmental quality projects.

The timeliness and quality of these dynamic programs in Extension Biological and Agricultural Engineering is verified by the excellent complementary grant and contract funding received. This funding extends capabilities to evaluate and demonstrate new technologies that can be incorporated into the overall Extension technology transfer program.

The goal of Extension Biological and Agricultural Engineering is to continue to address new engineering and environmental needs for the State of North Carolina in a timely and quality manner.

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Department of Soil Science

Septic systems or decentralized wastewater treatment systems, land use development, erosion and sediment control, land application of bio solids and animal waste, tillage and soil management, and crop nutrient recommendations are just part of the mission of Soil Science extension.

Training Opportunities. We also provide hands-on training for farmers, septic system practitioners, environmental health specialists, engineers, and many other diverse audiences in such topics as nutrient management planning, soils as a natural resource, erosion and sediment control, and septic system operation and maintenance.

The Soil Science 4-H program is aligned with Crop and Horticultural Sciences so that children learn how soils and plants interact in ecosystem relationships.

College of Natural Resources

The College of Natural Resources offers a wide range of Extension, Outreach and Continuing Education programs for professionals, policymakers and community leaders working to ensure the sustainability of North Carolina’s unique natural resources. This commitment supports three of North Carolina’s top five industries – forest products, paper manufacturing and tourism.

Industrial Extension Service

IES is the recognized leader and change agent for the sustainability and advancement of North Carolina industry. NC companies can achieve energy conservation through assessments, on-site surveys, and workshops offered by IES. Through in-plant assessments, surveys and technical assistance as well as continuing education offered by IES, NC companies identify and solve environmental problems and comply with governmental regulations.

Natural Resource Economic Development Outreach Program – Forestry

An outreach specialist works with communities in North Carolina's rural/urban interface. Working primarily in the areas of green infrastructure and urban forestry, the outreach specialist assists private and public interests to develop tree and other natural covers to enhance community values and create economic activity. The program provides solutions to the pressures of urbanization for limited resource citizens, local officials and businesses, NGOs, etc. through:

  • Working Land Conservation Agreements s
  • Alternative Enterprises
  • Green Space Strategies
  • Management Options for Urban-Rural Interface by working with:
    • County Natural Resource Agencies
    • Economic Developers
    • Forestry and Natural Resource Associations (NCFA, AMUC)
    • Land Trusts and Conservation Organizations (CTNC)
    • NC A & T University
    • Agritourism Office
    • Allied Business Associations
    • NC Farm Bureau
    • NC Woodlands
    • American Farmland Trust
    • Other

Natural Resource Economic Development Outreach Program – Tourism

A tourism outreach specialist works with the rural tourism and recreation sector in North Central and North Western North Carolina to promote economic and community development through sustainable natural resource management and utilization. Regional Importance of Tourism:

  • $14.2 billion spent on tourism in NC (+7.3% over 2004)
  • Directly supports 185,000+ NC jobs
  • Tourism contributes over $2.3B in tax revenue
  • Generates $747M in state and $461M in local tax revenue
  • NC is eighth in visitor volume in the U.S.
  • Offers NC small businesses (e.g., farms, crafts, music) the opportunity to supplement revenue while diversifying
  • Tourism allows NC regions and communities to showcase their natural, cultural, and recreational resources

Natural Resource Economic Development Outreach Program - Wood Products

An outreach specialist works with the small wood products manufacturing sector in Western North Carolina to promote economic development through sustainable natural resource management and utilization. Working with wood products, manufacturers can grow sales, profitability and employment.

  • Many large furniture plants have closed since 2000, putting thousands out of work
  • In many communities these employers paid the best wages and benefits in the area
  • Associated employment was also negatively affected
  • New opportunities are becoming available to start and grow existing wood product businesses
  • Manufacturers of a wide range furniture, wooden components, cabinets, moldings and doors are targets for this work

NC Solar Center

The North Carolina Solar Center serves as a clearinghouse for solar and other renewable energy programs, information, research, technical assistance and training for the citizens of North Carolina and beyond.

North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Environment

North Carolina's quality of life and its economy depend on a strong natural resource base. To help the public understand complex issues related to environmental quality and to meet changing environmental regulations, North Carolina Cooperative Extension offers a range of educational programs covering water quality, waste management, wildlife management, collaborative problem-solving and more.

See also: forest resources

North Carolina Sea Grant Extension Program

Through research, education and outreach programs, North Carolina Sea Grant works with individuals, groups, government agencies and businesses to develop an understanding of the state's coastal environment and promote the sustainable use of marine resources. Sea Grant staff collaborate with researchers and citizens to develop cutting-edge solutions to a variety of coastal concerns, such as lingering effects of hurricanes or the need for new seafood technology.

Recreation Resources Service

Provides technical support to local units of government responsible for planning and managing recreation facilities and programs. The Recreation Resources Service (RRS) is a partnership between the North Carolina Division of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at NC State University. RRS staff located both in Raleigh and regionally assist local units of government plan and deliver recreation services across the state. Examples of technical services include:

  • assisting with establishing new departments
  • organizing and training advisory boards
  • training in benefits-based programming
  • consultation and professional training in playground safety
  • assistance with preparation of grant applications
  • workshops on various topics.


An innovative project linking scientists, teachers and students, SCI-LINK is a model project for translating the results of current scientific research into teaching content and practices. It offers workshops in air and water quality topics including acid rain, ozone, carbon dioxide, global warming and global environmental change.

Water Resource Research Institute

Identify and support research needed to help solve water quality and water resources problems in NC. To formulate a research program responsive to state water resources problems, the Institute works closely with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and other agencies.