Monday, November 29, 2010

That’s a Wrap: Green Style

This holiday season the presents are flowing and the gift wrapping days are near, this year instead of using regular wrapping paper, try these new green ideas!

~ For a shiny look to your gifts try using recycled aluminum foil. Recycled aluminum foil gives your gift a nice green touch, yet still leaves your gift wrapping looking sleek and beautiful. To add an extra flare, tie hemp or recycled yarn around the package!

~Reusable gift bags or shopping bags are an excellent gift wrapping alternative that helps save the environment and you time! Reusable bags can be found at any store and are generally cheaper than wrapping paper. Reusable bags have also become extra stylish, you can now find bags in all different shapes and colors, try finding a bag in the shape of a present!

~One unconventional and modern way to wrap your gifts that not only makes you look awesome, but also helps protect the environment is using old city or topographical maps. Maps are large enough to use as wrapping paper and add extra pizzazz to your gift. Your friends will love this new age and environmentally friendly way to wrap your presents.

~If you plan to top your presents with a beautiful bow this year, try instead a compact florescent light bulb. Give the gift of a reduced carbon footprint and a lower electric bill by tying in a sustainable light bulb!

~Another way to top your gifts without using a bow is to use Mother Nature’s little presents, such as feathers, autumn colored leaves, or shells. Make your holiday gift stand out by placing a natural item on the outside as a present garnish!

~Instead of wrapping your present, use a present to enclose your gifts! Use a mixing bowl or mixer as a gift container to fill with cookbooks and kitchen utensils. Fill a locally painted flower pot with seeds and gardening tools for your friend who loves to garden. Stuff a hiking backpack with items such as reusable water bottles and socks for your family members that love the great outdoors!

~Newspaper may get a bad reputation as being cheap, but this year change the way people look at newspaper wrapping paper by adding images from magazines, comics, your favorite children’s book, or antique books. Not only will this wrapping paper be a friend to the environment, it is sure to get rave reviews from your family and friends!

~If you decide to use wrapping paper, make sure to recycle the paper afterwards at your local recycling center. Make sure to remove the tape from the paper before recycling and check to see if the center accepts wrapping paper.

This holiday put a smile on your friends and family’s faces as well as Mother Nature’s face by using alternative ways to wrap your gifts!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Today is the Day America Recycles!

Today, November 15 is America Recycles Day, a small step that can have lasting effects by making recycling work in your community. America Recycles Day is the only national recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States. This day is recognized as a day to inform, educate, and get your community motivated to start recycling! Since 1997 America Recycles Day has been promoting the organization of events to promote recycling, as well as spreading the word about the benefits of recycling. So in honor of America Recycles Day; organize an event or group recycling program in your community, teach a neighbor about the benefits of recycling, and make sure to take the pledge; the pledge to spread the word about saving our environment one recycling container at a time!

The America Recycles Day pledge can be found at:

Here are a few places to recycle: public recycling at the Moose Lodge, located at 4610 Carolina Beach Rd., Wrightsville Beach Recycling Center, located at 321 Causeway Dr., or contact Green Coast Recycling- at 910-471-7747 for pickup.

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Art of Real Life

“A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.” This quote by artist William Dobell expresses perfectly the work of art that muralist Scott Nurkin has created at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

For three weeks beginning in October, Nurkin has taken an unnoticed wall on the outside of the Aquarium and turned it into a breathtaking masterpiece. A mural along the conservatory wall in the Aquarium’s garden features a marsh theme, including a blue heron wading in the water and pelicans flying overhead. This masterpiece allows visitors to take a walk through a treasured habitat without actually stepping foot in a marsh. Soon the mural will set the mood for children to play in the natural playground that will be located in front of the artwork.

Nurkin, who was trained in classical painting at the Lorenzo di Medici School in Florence, Italy, credits his talents to Michael Brown, a Chapel Hill muralist whom Nurkin interned with for four years after graduating from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio painting and drawing. Nurkin says he has been painting and drawing since he can remember, and has always known art would be a major aspect of his life. In 2004 Nurkin created his company, Nurkin Arts, which provides several areas of art-related services, including murals.

Nurkin credits the environment surrounding the Aquarium as his inspiration for the awe-inspiring mural. Nurkin’s largest muse came after his visit to the salt marsh near the Aquarium. He says, “If the temperature and timing is right, everything in the mural could literally be found within a five mile radius of the Aquarium.”

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Aquarium Director Plans Retirement

After a varied career in state government which began in 1979, Donna Moffitt is relinquishing the helm as director of the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher on December 31. Following tenures in various government departments and divisions including Office of Marine Affairs, Division of Community Assistance and Division of Coastal Management, she joined the Aquarium family in 2004. Interestingly, when the North Carolina Aquariums shifted from Marine Resource Centers to Aquariums in 1986, she was integral in creating the original administrative rules.

Since 2004, Moffitt has weathered everything from new exhibit construction to hurricanes. The Exotic Aquatics gallery, which opened in 2005, brought unusual species like cuttlefish, lionfish and sea snakes from around the world to the Aquarium for the first time. In 2009, the Aquarium’s lobby underwent a major expansion with improved visitor access and a waterfall feature. Luna, a rare albino alligator, also made her home at the Aquarium that year. Under her leadership, Aquarium attendance soared from 403,000 to 445,000, a 10% increase over just six years.

“It has been a pleasure for me to have been director for seven years and to see tangible evidence of how much we’ve accomplished together. This staff does more with less than anywhere I’ve worked. I am excited about what the future holds for the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, particularly the Aquarium Pier in Carolina Beach,” Moffitt said about her tenure at the Aquarium.

Throughout her career, Moffitt was recognized with numerous awards. She was nominated for the Governor’s Award of Excellence in 1991 and awarded the 1997 Director’s Award of Appreciation. In 2009, the General Federation of Women's Clubs of North Carolina awarded her with a Women of Achievement Award and she was recognized as the April 2009 Aquarium Director of the Month by the Zoo and Aquarium Visitor website.

Moffitt holds a Bachelor’s degree in environmental design and a master’s in landscape architecture from North Carolina State University. She went on to earn her juris doctorate from the School of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was also a Loeb Fellow in Advanced Environmental Studies at Harvard University.

In her retirement, Moffitt plans to travel more with her husband Tom. She will continue to serve the community as an appointee to the New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors. “My ultimate goal is have lots of time for myself after being in the work force 40 years,” she said with a laugh.

“Donna Moffitt has provided exemplary leadership for the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Her vision and ability to energize staff have moved the Aquarium to a world class facility. Donna’s talents will be missed,” NC Aquariums Division Director David Griffin said.

The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is a major tourist attraction on the Cape Fear Coast. The other two North Carolina Aquariums are at Pine Knoll Shores along the Crystal Coast, and on Roanoke Island near the Outer Banks. Together, the three rank among the state’s most-visited attractions each year.