The Sierra Club, founded by John Muir in 1892, is one of the oldest, largest, and most influential grassroots environmental organizations in the United States. We are proud to say that the Croatan Team became an  official Group of the North Carolina Chapter of the Sierra Club in March, 2014.

The Croatan Group serves the Carteret, Craven, Jones, Onslow, and Pamlico counties.



THE NORTH CAROLINA CHAPTER PRIORITIES……..These are the issues that the NC Chapter has determined to be of greatest concern:


1.  The Clean Power Plan….click here

2. No to Offshore Drilling and Seismic Blasting: 

3.  Yes to Solar Energy (and Wind Energy)


THE CROATAN GROUP PRIORITIES:  Go here for a list of our local group’s priorities and explanations.  These are the issues that are very important to us, and some are local issues, some are state or regional issues, and some are national or global issues.  But all are of concern for those who want our environment to be healthy for all of us, everywhere.  There are two concerns that we have determined require our immediate and special concern: 

1.   Saving Hofmann Forest.  We must save this precious resource!  Go here for more information.  For now we have had some success in protecting this forest, but we must watch carefully for any new plans to develop this area.

2.  The Croatan Forest.  Monitoring the Actions and Changes by the U.S. Forest Service that are announced for the Croatan National Forest, including plans for a bypass highway through the highway.



The Sierra Club is active politically, supporting candidates that have shown themselves to be friendly to environmental causes.  The Sierra Club is completely non partisan, only supporting the best pro environment candidates regardless of political party affililation.

This year is especially important for the environment, with many elections between candidates that are pro environment and those who have poor environment records and ideas.  Our Croatan Group will be active in supporting candidates we feel are particularly pro environment, and we are planning an exciting event to help fund the campaigns of political candidates in our immediate area and those all over the state of NC.  For more information, go to

Pac Fundraiser.

Or click on the following:

PAC Fundraiser flyer 2016


Meet the candidates June 1 2016



Upcoming Croatan Group Activities and Events

May 29, Sunday:


Venus Flytraps and other Savanna Plants Mini-Outing, Croatan National Forest

The Sierra Club will have a mini-field trip into the southern Croatan National Forest  on Sunday, May 29, from 2pm to 5pm

We will plan to visit at least two different sites, both of which were recently burned, so they should be at their best for savanna wildflowers.  At the first site, Venus flytraps are abundant; they should be in peak flower at the time of our visit.  This site is within an area that has an abundance of the mysterious Carolina bays, which we will discuss briefly.  We will then make a short drive to another south Croatan area, one that is probably unknown to most of you.  It is probably the most attractive area of longleaf pine habitat in the Croatan, and we will plan to walk about a mile through this area.  In this area we should see the endangered and endemic pocosin loosestrife.  This area includes a tract that is technically not part of the Croatan, but owned by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.  That tract was saved from development by the N.C. Coastal Land Trust about 10 years ago.

Last, if there is time, we may make an additional drive to the only site in Carteret County of the rare, endemic  spring-flowering goldenrod (which is limited to a few counties in NC and SC).  That site was also burned this spring and the goldenrod should be in peak flower at the time of our vi

There is no fee for this trip, but participants will be required to sign a waiver.  Note that all participants must wear long pants and closed-toed shoes (i.e. no flip-flops or sandals).  Because our cars will be close to the sites we’ll visit, we will not postpone the trip because of a threat of rain

The trip leaders are John Fussell and Wouter Ketel.  To sign up for the trip, e-mail John Fussell at jfuss@clis.co

The trip will be limited to 15 participants.  Instructions on where to meet will be sent to participants after they’ve signed up.

Please note:   Because of the participation limit, please do not sign up merely to reserve a space if you are not committed to going.    And, if you do sign up but find that you must drop out, please let John know as soon as possible of this, so that we can try to work in anyone on the waiting list.

Spring Flowering Goldenrod:



The Carolina Nature Coalition presents:

SHORE STORIES – Six Short Films About Offshore Drilling and Seismic Testin
WHEN: Thursday, June 2, at 7:00 PM

WHERE: Trent River Coffee Company, 208 Craven St., New Bern

For months, East Coast communities have been fighting a proposal to open the Atlantic to offshore oil and gas drilling. And now we’ve won. The Atlantic has been taken out of a federal proposal for new offshore oil and gas leases. What a remarkable example of the power of grassroots activism. This reversal extends from 2017-2022, so as we celebrate this important victory for our coast, our work is not done.
Join us to celebrate and watch Shore Stories – a new series of six short films. These movies depict the powerful organizing that led to this victory, show the dangers we have been fighting against, and highlight issues our communities still need to come together to stop (like Seismic testing). We will also celebrate this important victory and learn more about how to keep up the fight to build sustainable communities.

The Carolina Nature Coalition is a community organization whose mission is to raise public awareness of environmental issues and engage citizens in meaningful community action.  Future programs will include environmental hikes and tours planned for this summer.

For further information call 252-626-5100.


Recent Croatan Group Activities and Events


May 21 – Saturday.  HANDS ACROSS THE SAND. Ft. Macon swimming beach.

The Croatan Group, together with Oceana and IP&L and Green Sanctuary, sponsored this great event, which is in its fifth year now.  At exactly noon, we stood in line holding hands on the beach, to demonstrate our desire to tell the world that we want to end the use of fossil fuels and turn to clean, renewable energy like wind and solar.  About 65 people joined in, even though the forecast was for a lot of rain, but the weather held off the worst during our event.  Penny Hooper and Michael Murdoch led a pep rally just before noon  in which we gave ourselves some credit for the temporary ban on offshore drilling, and pledged to keep up the pressure on sonic blasting. After the holding hands, we had a picnic lunch, and had the weather been a little better we would have had a walk along the new Ft. Macon 3.3 mile walking path.  It was a great time of fellowship and hopefully an important photo op for the news media, so that our message will reach many.


Hands Across The Sand is an international event.  There were 16 similar events in NC.  Only Florida had more.  Here is the website for more information:  http://www.handsacrossthesand.com

Saturday, May 7:     Sierra Club field trip to Shackleford Banks within Cape Lookout National Seashore.

from 9 am to 2 pm.  Great opportunity to learn about barrier island habitats/dynamics, horse-watching, shelling and Shackleford History.  The trip started with a 20-minute ferry ride departing from the Town of Beaufort  (Cost: $15.00 per adult for ferry fare plus $2.00 per person for trip expenses).  On the island, participants will hiked about 4 miles over easy to moderately-strenuous sandy terrain.


April 24, Sunday – Mini Field Trip Southern Croatan National Forest

The Croatan Group of the NC Sierra Club presented a mini-field trip into the southern Croatan National Forest on Sunday, April 24, from 2pm to 5pm. The field trip went to a site that was prescribed burned during the summer of 2015.  Thus, the site was at its best for many carnivorous plants (Venus flytraps, pitcherplants, bladderworts, sundews, and butterworts) and other specialties.  Red-cockaded woodpeckers and Bachman’s sparrows are both possibilities.   Although our focus was on a recently burned savanna, the group  also checked out some depression ponds where we found some additional plant species, some rare, and many in flower.



April 23:  Saturday – Earth Day at the Farmers Market at the Carteret County Courthouse grounds in Beaufort.  Our Croatan Group had a display there.  8am til noon.  The goal of this market on this Saturday was to raise consciousness about earth stewardship.


April 19: Tues:  Shore Stories.  Over a hundred people attend a film about the dangers of oil drilling and seismic testing on coastal environments.  Panel discussion followed.  6:30 meet and greet.  Film 7:00.  Discussion until 8:30.  Although President Obama has cancelled plans for drilling our coast, there are pressures from industry to reopen the area.  We need to be aware of the dangers of oil and gas extraction on our coast.

Shore Stories

Shore Stories panel long shot  Shore Stories info table


April 16: Saturday – Earth Day at Ft. Macon.  Our Croatan Group had a table at the museum building. Saturday, 9am-3pm.

Feb. 15, Monday – program by Pat Kenny on Cape Lookout National Seashore, dealing with environmental issues there.  Program was at Duke University Marine Labs on Pivers Island in Morehead City.  Free, and all were welcome.



Feb. 13, Saturday – Mass Moral March in Raleigh.  Several members of the Croatan Group  marched in support of the environment…particularly protesting Offshore Oil Drilling, fracking, and advocating FOR a strong and just NC Clean Power Plan.  IP&L and NAACP  sponsored bus transportation from the New Bern/MHC area.

January Wednesdays -“The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture” study group met on Wednesdays on January 6, 13, 20, and 27, with either a day class (3-5PM) and/or an evening class (7-9PM). Using Mary Pipher’s book, we explored how we can conquer our fears about the major environmental issues we face -global climate change- and transform those fears into a positive force in our lives.

Penny Hooper (pjhooper@ec.rr.com252-729-2521)  led the group, as it discussed the “Trauma to Transcendence Cycle” in these four classes. Over 30 people attended the classes and the final covered dish get together.

Jan. 14, 2016 – Free showing of film “Merchants of Doubt” at Joslyn Hall @ Carteret Community College in Morehead City.  Meet and Greet at 6:30, film at 7:00, to 8:30 PM.  This event was in collaboration with Carteret Crossroads and NCIPL.  This is an excellent film that shows the behinds the scene work of the climate change deniers to ensure that little or no action on climate change occurs.  If you missed this showing, try to see the film if you notice that it is being shown in your area.  It is not to be missed.  It is possible we may have another opportunity to show this film.  We will post it here if it becomes available again.
merchants-of-doubtmerchants pix3

more photos of the event here


December 8, Tuesday – Croatan Group annual Potluck Christmas Party.  All invited!  6:30 to 8:30 at the Morehead City Train Depot on Arendell St.

We all had a great time, with wonderful  food, company, and fun as we celebrated the holiday season and a wonderful year for our growing Croatan group.




Sunday Nov. 29, 2015 at 1:00 pm New Bern -a brisk 5 mile trek through a beautiful deciduous forest.

Saturday Nov. 28, 2015 at 1:00 pm New Bern -a slow-paced, camera friendly 3 mile trek through a beautiful deciduous forest.

Sierra Club field trip with John Fussell to Rachel Carson Reserve on Sunday, November 22nd, from 2 to 5pm.

October 27 – Tuesday – Stanley Riggs Presentation.  Another wonderful and informative talk by Dr. Riggs, attended by over a hundred people.  Click on Poster below for more information:

Stanley Riggs offshore drilling final 2

October 17, 2015 – Outing to Historic Portsmouth Village.  Sierra Club field trip to the historic Portsmouth Village on the Outer Banks, within Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Portsmouth Village

September 12 – Saturday – Our chair, Michael Murdoch, led a service outing (North Topsail Beach Litter Cleanup)


September 13, Sunday –Mini-Outing, Croatan National Forest

The Sierra Club will have a mini-field trip into the southern Croatan National Forest  on Sunday, September 13

Sunday, 30 August 2014 – Mini-Outing to North Croatan National Forest

The Sierra Club sponsored a fun and educational afternoon field trip to the north Croatan



July 23 – Thursday – Screening of  The Great Invisible, a film about Offshore Drilling catastrophe.  This event was  cosponsored by Oceana, the Croatan Group, Crossroads, and Interfaith Power and Light.

June 16, Tuesday – A meeting about Offshore Drilling by Oceana, was held at the Morehead City Train Depot, at 6:00 to 8:00.  About 80 people attending



June 13 Birding Trip into North River Preserve (wetland restoration area…Sierra Club Croatan Group field trip into the N.C. Coastal Federation’s North River Preserve in “Down East” Carteret County


May 30 -Saturday –  Sierra Club field trip to Shackleford Banks within Cape Lookout National Seashore

May 24 – Sunday – Sierra Club Field Trip to South Croatan…

Here are some photos of Hands Across the Sand at Fort Macon in Carteret County:

imageHands from the water

May 16 – Hands Across the Sand.  A great and fun event!  Over a hundred people turned out and held hands on the beach on a beautiful day, telling the world that we want more clean and renewable energy, and less dirty fossil fuels.

April 19 – Sunday – Sierra Club field trip to the south Croatan National Forest.

April 25 – Saturday – Earth Day Event at Fort Macon, Atlantic Beach, NC.

February 26 – Thursday – The Wildlife Around Us, a Croatan Group presentation about nature photography by Sam Bland

February 14 – Moral March In Raleigh.

January 17 –  Neusiok Trail Hike.

January 16 – Keep NC Frack Free! , sponsored by the Unitarian Coastal Federaton Green Sanctuary Committee and The Croatan Group, and graciously presented by Karen Bearden and George Matthis from “Frack Free NC”.

December 15 – Holiday Potluck Party.  Over 40 people enjoyed food, fellowship, and fun at the Morehead Train Depot on Monday  night.

November 10 – Nature Photography Program – Tips For a taking Better Nature Photographs. …..presented by Nathan Bacheler

October 26 – Paddle on Bachelor Creek. 10:00 to about 3:00. Sponsored by our Croatan Group and the Cypress Group. A Kayak trip along Bachelor Creek, near New Bern.

October 1 – Our Croatan Group hosted  a  hugely successful MEET OUR SIERRA CLUB CANDIDATES

September 21 – Carnivorous Plants Mini Outing 

September 21 – Mass Rally and March in NYC

September 20 – Saturday – Hoffman Forest Protest

September 15th – Sea Level Rise Presentation 

August  30th – Hurricane Resilience

August 25th – Hofmann Forest Sale Protest  

August 24th – Kayaking with the Candidates

July 26th  – Annual Picnic

April 24 – The State of the Honey Bee.  Presented by Tia Douglas

April 12 – Outing – Red Cockaded Woodpecker Clearing in the Croatan National Park

April 26 – Keystone XL in DC Rally.  “Reject and Protect”

May 9 – Shored Up Film at UUA Church

May 17 – Hands Across the Sand.  Ft. Macon

Hofmann Forest Presentation:  Saving Hofmann Forest.


Group Meetings

ExCom Meetings are the second Tuesday of each month starting at 6:30 pm  at  St Andrews Episcopal Church, 2005 Arendell Street, Morehead City, NC
Everyone is welcome to attend and we’re always happy to see new faces!


Political Action.

The Sierra Club is somewhat unique among  environment groups in that, based on its tax status,  it can support political candidates that we find are environmentally friendly.  The Sierra Club is completely non partisan, endorsing candidates only according to their environmental record.

During 2013 we endorsed several candidates for NC legislature, and supported them with several events in which we met them and gave them a chance to speak about their campaigns.  The state Sierra Club chapter helped fund those candidates that we endorsed.

This year, 2016, an important election year, we are planning to help support candidates we feel are very environmentally friendly.

Executive Committee

Michael Murdoch – Chair
Paul Getty – Vice Chair
Courtney Mehurg – Secretary
Cindy Weeks – Treasurer
Tancred Miller – NC Chapter Representative
Penny Hooper –  Conservation Chair

Michael Schachter and Dale Hocker – Political Co-Chair

Deede Miller – Program Chair

Lucy and Jim Bond – Membership co-chairs

Newsletter – Paul Benson

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