Starting in 2010, partners from across the central coast began talking about ways to increase the region’s economic prosperity by building upon, rather than sacrificing, our cherished cultural and natural heritage: an asset-based economic development strategy. The purpose of this website is to record and contribute to that conversation.

The project is coordinated by Karen Amspacher at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center. Project activities Down East are coordinated by cultural anthropologist and Gloucester resident Barbara Garrity-Blake. Project activities on Hatteras Island are coordinated by Susan West, coordinator of Hatteras Connection, a community-based sustainable economic development project committed to working to ensure a future for new generations of watermen on Hatteras Island. Project activities on Ocracoke are coordinated by Robin Payne, executive director of the Ocracoke Foundation.

Research and web support for the project is provided by researchers at the Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, under the direction of Lisa Campbell. During 2010-2011, the Duke team included Gabriel Cumming, who coordinated the Resource Guide and website; Carla Norwood, who provided asset mapping support; Joshua Stoll, research fellow; and graduate students including Drew Bush, Nicole Carlozo, Alex Chen, Luke Fairbanks, and Courtney Pickett.

Funding support generously provided by:

The North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center

Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation

Support for resource guide research provided by:

Community Forestry and Environmental Research Partnerships

“Given the long-term nature of community development, and the fact that measurable results from a particular project may be decades in the making, leaders in small towns must repeatedly make the case for the importance of their efforts. Making the case is important to maintain momentum, invigorate volunteers and donors, convince skeptics and, most importantly, keep the focus on the vision or the goals established in a community’s strategic plan.” (From “Small Town BIG IDEAS – Case Studies in Small Town Community Economic Development” – UNC School of Government and NC Rural Center)

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