Sound Rivers’ role in Blue Economy Corridor highlighted at scholars’ academy anniversary

Education, Sound Rivers, Water Trail

Posted on April 20th, 2023

Dr. Emily Yeager and Sound Rivers’ Program Director Clay Barber talk about the Blue Economy Corridor at the Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy’s 15th-anniversary celebration last Friday.

Sound Rivers’ Program Director Clay Barber joined Dr. Emily Yeager last Friday night to showcase their work on the Blue Economy Corridor project at the 15th-anniversary celebration of the Engagement and Outreach Scholars Academy.

The event, held in the Health Sciences Student Center at East Carolina University, honored both projects that have been created, as well as introduced the program’s newest cohort of researchers.

“The program is made up of ECU’s academic scholars and top researchers, and they pick a project that will be beneficial to the community, and engage students and people in the community to participate,” Clay said. “It’s a mob of great research stuff — it really ranges widely — but these research endeavors lead to actual sustainable community engagement programs.”

As an example, Clay described how a lack of dental access in Bertie County became an EOSA project that has since turned into an ongoing program benefitting an underserved community.

“They had one dentist, and that one dentist did not see anyone under the age of 18. So they used grant funds to go set up the school of dentistry students at community centers, and they would go to Bertie County schools and administer dental care,” Clay said.

Yeager’s project, the Blue Economy Corridor, maps assets — historical, cultural, recreational, economic — along the Tar River from Rocky Mount to Washington, including the Water Trail and Sound Rivers’ camping platforms along the river, which Clay manages.

The Health Sciences Student Center at East Carolina University, where the EOSA event was held, boasts a slide that both Dr. Yeager and Sound Rivers’ Program Director Clay Barber took a ride on.

“Emily’s continuing to chase funding opportunities for our Water Trail website to be improved and used as an information hub and platform for tourism and recreation and travel in and around the communities from Rocky Mount to Washington, in the hopes that this could be also be replicated along other rivers,” Clay said. “That’s one reason why she was excited to partner with us, because we’re on the Neuse too.”

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