MOREHEAD CITY — Earth Day 2023 on Saturday, April 22 is just around the corner, and if you’re wondering how to celebrate Earth Week in a rapidly changing world, the Croatan Group of the N.C. Sierra Club and N.C. Interfaith Power and Light (NCIPL) have just the thing.

The two groups have scheduled a way to learn more about renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, at the Renewable Energy Symposium on Thursday, April 20, beginning at 1 p.m. in Joslyn Hall at Carteret Community College (CCC).

According to one of the organizers, Penny Hooper of Smyrna, the symposium is free to the students and public and sponsored by CCC and the two groups.

From 1 to 1:30 p.m., there will be a time to “meet and greet” and to peruse the information tables from each of the presenters in the foyer of Joslyn Hall.

The groups and the college are hoping all the seats in Joslyn Hall will be filled. 

The lineup of speakers beginning at 1:30 includes:

● Perry Harker, vice president of Corporate and Community Education for Carteret Community College. He will welcome everyone and discuss the importance of CCC training the work force of tomorrow.

● Keynote Speaker, Cassie Gavin, policy director for N.C. Sustainable Energy Association (, who will discuss the new Duke Energy Plan and the N.C. 2030 goals for reducing the state’s carbon footprint through further use of solar and wind energy.

● Karly Lohan, N.C. program and outreach manager for the Southeastern Wind Coalition, (, who will address the economic benefits and the potential for onshore and offshore wind in North Carolina.

Susannah Tuttle, executive director of N.C. Interfaith Power and Light, (, who will provide a hope-filled response to climate change.

There will be an opportunity for questions and answers following their presentations.

After those first speakers, during a break, light refreshments will be provided, and attendees will have another opportunity to view the information tables and ask questions.

The nuts-and-bolts section of the symposium will begin at 3:15 p.m. with a panel of participants representing utilities and solar installers: 

● Carteret-Craven Cooperative. 

● Duke Energy.

● Southern Energy Management.

● Cape Fear Solar.

● Saving Sunshine.

Each participant will have up to 10 minutes to present about their company, and the solar installers can discuss potential state and federal rebates and their relationships with the utility companies.

The information tables in the foyer will also have abundant information about the various utilities and solar installers, as well as representatives to answer questions. Those who attend will be able to learn the how, why, when and where about solar and wind energy in commercial, community and individual home applications.

A similar symposium called Solar 101 was held in 2017 at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The chair of the Croatan Group of the N.C. Sierra Club, Joel Dunn, says it was a key factor in his decision to install rooftop solar.

"I'd been thinking about rooftop solar on our house in Emerald Isle and hearing the presentations and learning what was possible crystalized those plans into action,” he said in a press release.

Dunn is happy with his solar installation and his electric vehicles (EVs) and believes they represent a cleaner and lower carbon future as renewable energy technologies ramp up and are adopted by more and more people and companies.

With bright sunny weather for a few days last week, he said he was generating more power than he could use or even store in his house batteries and in his EVs.

Earth Day was first held on April 22, 1970, and it now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EARTHDAY.ORG.  The official theme for 2023 is Invest In Our Planet.

In 1969 at a UNESCO Conference in San Francisco, peace activist John McConnell proposed a day to honor the Earth and the concept of peace, to first be observed on March 21, 1970, the first day of spring in the northern hemisphere. It was later sanctioned by the United Nations and has spread from the United State around the world.

EARTHDAY.ORG says more than one billion citizens participated in Earth Day events in 2022.

For more information about the symposium, contact Penny Hooper, Croatan conservation chair and advisory council of NCIPL at 252-241-6107 or


Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.