• #LeadILM2020 Learns of Environmental Issues Affecting Greater Wilmington

    #LeadILM2020 Learns of Environmental Issues Affecting Greater Wilmington

    Last Tuesday the Leadership Wilmington class learned of environmental issues impacting our community from experts including, Kay Lynn Plummer-Hernadez and Kemp Burdette from Cape Fear River Watch, Lindsey Hallock from Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and Jennifer Adams from Corning, Inc. The session also included a quick tour of the Emergency Management Center (EMC) led by classmate Steven Still, Director Emergency Management and 911 for New Hanover County.

    Kay Lynn kicked off our morning with an eco-tour of Greenfield Lake. Every classmate chose to forgo the walking tour option and experience the eco-tour on a mix of paddle boats, kayaks and canoes. The tour provided a wealth of information and a renewed appreciation for Greenfield Lake. 

    At Cape Fear River Watch we learned about the Cape Fear Watershed, the largest river basin in North Carolina, from Riverkeeper Kemp Burdette. Because of the varied environments attributed to the Cape Fear River, Southeastern North Carolina has the highest level of biodiversity on the east coast from the Florida-Georgia border to Maine. Unfortunately, it’s also a microcosm of many global environmental issues, including climate change and sea level rise.

    Classmate Steven Still led the class through an exercise at the Emergency Management Center allowing each classmate to act as emergency management personnel responding to an incoming hurricane. Steven also reviewed lessons learned and statistics from the 2018 hurricane season, including the need to prevent post event injuries and build a business emergency operations center in partnership with the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce.

    Unfortunately, we were unable to tour the 911 Center as planned but we learned that the 911 Center responds to an average of 1,500 calls per day, equating to a call every minute of every day 365 days per year.

    Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA) and Corning, Inc. presented on their local sustainability efforts. For CFPUA this included a vulnerability study by the Environmental Protection Agency and recommended adaptation strategies for water and wastewater systems to minimize the impact of rising sea levels. CFPUA maintains 898 miles of gravity sewer lines in their system, 24 of which are over 100 years old. Their Find It, Fix It program inspects 42 miles of sewer mains per year, repairing or replacing areas before damage occurs.
    Jennifer Adams, Facilities & Maintenance Department Head at Corning, Inc., and a Leadership Wilmington alumna, shared with us Corning’s efforts to be a local and global leader in sustainability. Their sustainability programming has led to over 150 million gallons of water saved and 2.3 million metric tons of greenhouse gases avoided. In fact, both of Corning’s North Carolina-based plants, in Wilmington and Hickory, have received the prestigious North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality’s Environmental Steward Award.

    We rounded out the afternoon by learning about our individual strengths from the Clifton StrengthsFinder. Lauren McGhee with Human Capital Solutions facilitated the exercise. The class’ strengths are diverse with an almost even distribution of participants in each of the four themes of strengths – Executing, Strategic Thinking, Relationship Building and Influencing. Our class even holds the five most rare strengths in the world – Command, Discipline, Self-Assurance, Significance, and Context.

    This group of diverse strengths will make for yet another successful Work on Wilmington on April 25, 2020! Details on the 2020 Work on Wilmington will be updated on the website shortly. Please contact me at lewis@wilmingtonchamber.org if you’re interested in sponsoring or volunteering at Work on Wilmington. I’ll connect you directly with the classmate(s) responsible.