ECU symposium to address biodiversity, climate change

The East Carolina University Center for Biodiversity will host a two-day symposium on the effect of climate change on biodiversity in the southeastern U.S. March 14-15 in Room 307, Science and Technology Building.

Events on Friday, March 14  begin at 8:30 a.m. and run through 5:30 p.m. Saturday’s events will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at noon.

Twelve scientists in the field of biodiversity and climate change will present at the symposium, including Dr. Terry Root of Stanford University, a 2007 recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on the International Panel on Climate Change. Root will lead a discussion on “Changing Climate: Changing Species,” on March 14.

Other lecture topics will include future climates for the southeastern U.S.; the responses of forests, waterways, insects, avian migration and food webs to climate change; and the short-term and long-term concerns associated with climate change.

“Our planet is currently in the midst of two very dramatic global changes – the loss of its biodiversity and a rapid change in its climate,” said Dr. David R. Chalcraft, director of the Center for Biodiversity and associate professor of biology.

“The goals of the symposium are to advance our collective understanding of how biodiversity is responding to climate change in the southeastern US, and more broadly, to provide a general framework that could guide researchers, managers and policy makers.”

“It is imperative that we understand the consequences of climate change on biodiversity if we wish to better conserve our remaining biological resources,” said Chalcraft.

More than 90 participants from various institutions across the Southeast, including universities, community colleges, state and federal agencies, private companies and politicians will attend the two-day event. All are welcome to attend the free, public lectures. A full schedule and registration information is located online at

The symposium is sponsored by the Thomas Harriot College of Arts and Sciences Center for Biodiversity. Support is provided by the Harriot College of Arts and Sciences, the Department of Biology, Academic Affairs, private donors and the Southeast Climate Science Center.

For additional information, contact Chalcraft at 252-328-2797 or Individuals requesting accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) should call 252-737-1016 (voice/TTY) at least 48 hours prior to the events.


Avenarius to speak present ‘local voices’

East Carolina University anthropology professor Christine Avenarius will present “In their own words: Local voices on the Outer Banks economy and the environment,” at 6 p.m. March 6 at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Wanchese, N.C.

Avenarius will present an analysis of community voices she collected over the summer months of 2013 with a team of five graduate students from ECU’s sustainable tourism and anthropology programs. They listened to 208 Dare County residents and their suggestions for suitable measures for coastal management and the long-term health of the local economy.

The project Restarting the Dialogue About Coastal Management Policies: Understanding Perceptions of Environmental Change Among Residents of the Outer and Inner Banks is funded by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and will continue its conversations with local residents in Inner Banks counties surrounding the Albemarle sound over the summer months of 2014.

This community engagement project was inspired by the 2012 North Carolina state moratorium on adopting a rate of sea level rise for regulation purposes that revealed a seemingly widespread divergence in perceptions of environmental change among local stakeholders and scientists.

Avenarius became interested to learn what local residents of the Outer and Inner Banks have noticed about their natural environment, what language they use to identify continuity and change, how they explain and reason about their observations, and what suggestions they have for local policy development and resource allocation.

Conversations with a quota sample of 208 participants from different age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds each lasted about 75 minutes and included open ended questions, pile sort and sentence completion tasks.



Civil rights activist to speak at ECU

Civil Rights activist Julian Bond will return to East Carolina University this month to deliver the Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History as part of the 2013-14 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. As pictured above, Bond also appeared at ECU in September 1970. (Photo courtesy of ECU Archives)

Civil Rights activist Julian Bond will return to East Carolina University this month to deliver the Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History as part of the 2013-14 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. As pictured above, seated at left, Bond also appeared at ECU in September 1970. (Photo courtesy of ECU Archives)

Julian Bond, civil rights activist and professor emeritus of the Corcoran Department of History at the University of Virginia, will deliver the Lawrence F. Brewster Lecture in History at East Carolina University.

Julian Bond

Julian Bond

Bond will discuss “Civil Rights, Then and Now,” at 7 p.m. Jan. 28 in ECU’s Wright Auditorium. The presentation is part of the 2013-14 Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series. A question and answer session will immediately follow the presentation.

Bond is distinguished professor in residence in the Department of Government at the American University in Washington, D.C., He is also known as an activist in the civil rights, economic justice and peace movements. In 1960, he helped organize the Atlanta University Center Committee on Appeal for Human Rights, which directed several years of non-violent protests, and by 1962, won integration of Atlanta’s movie theaters, lunch counters and parks.

He served for two decades in the Georgia House and Georgia Senate, drafting more than 60 bills that became law. In 1968, Bond became the first African American to be nominated for the vice presidency of the United States.

He has received the American Civil Liberties Union Bill of Rights Awards from Massachusetts and Georgia, and was named one of America’s Top 200 Leaders by Time magazine. He holds 25 honorary degrees.

Dr. John A. Tucker, director of the Voyages of Discovery Lecture Series, said that Bond’s lecture honors Greenville physicians Dr. Andrew Best, Dr. Fred Irons, Dr. Malene Irons, Dr. Ray Minges and Dr. Earl Trevathan for their contributions to the social health of ECU and the Greenville community. “These physicians led the movement to desegregate Pitt County Memorial Hospital, now Vidant, in the early 1960s,” Tucker said.

To make a contribution to the series, or for additional information, contact Tucker at 252-328-1028, or via email at Additional information is also available at



ECU professor’s book on state politics draws interest

Dr. Tom Eamon

Dr. Tom Eamon

A new book on North Carolina politics by East Carolina University political science professor Dr. Thomas Eamon has triggered significant media interest.

Eamon will speak this week on WUNC’s “The State of Things.” He will also join George Olson for segments to run during Public Radio East’s “Morning Edition,” focused on his book about the state’s politics from 1940 to present.

“The Making of a Southern Democracy: North Carolina Politics from Kerr Scott to Pat McCrory,” which outlines state political activities from 1940 to the present, was highlighted in articles that appeared in the News and Observer article, the Charlotte Observer and the Durham Herald Sun.  Read the N&O article here. Read a second N&O article here. Read the Durham Herald Sun article here.

eamonbookEamon was a guest on WPTF in Raleigh, Jan. 6, on the Tom Kearney Show. He will appear on Charlotte’s NPR station WFAE on Jan. 17.

Eamon will be at the Quail Ridge Bookstore in Raleigh Jan. 16 for the official kickoff and book-signing, and at Park Road Books in Charlotte on Jan. 18.

For additional information about the book, visit UNC press.


ECU researcher’s wedding held in SeaWorld’s penguin habitat

ECU's Susanne Grieve and new husband Jeff Rawson celebrated their wedding in SeaWorld's penguin habitat this month. The couple met while completing research in Antartica. Photo by Jason Collier/SeaWorld Orlando

ECU’s Susanne Grieve and new husband Jeff Rawson celebrated their wedding in SeaWorld’s penguin habitat this month. The couple met while completing research in Antarctica. Photo by Jason Collier/SeaWorld Orlando

A SeaWorld wedding between East Carolina University’s director of conservation Susanne Grieve and Jeff Rawson, who met during a 2012 trip to Antarctica, is featured on the Orlando Sentinel and the local station, WFTV9.

The two were wed in the 32-degree penguin habitat at SeaWorld in Orlando, attended by 250 penguins inside SeaWorld’s Antarctica exhibit.

Read complete article at

Read coverage in the Orlando Sentinel.