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 forest.



Note:  We invite all to our “Excom Meetings” (Executive Committee Meetings).  At these meetings we conduct some of our business, talk about ongoing programs and upcoming outings and projects, and we would love to meet anyone who is interested in our group and welcome any input from interested people.  Please come.  Meetings are usually the second Tuesday of the month, at 6:30PM to 8PM, at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Morehead City.  Here is our group chair, Michael Murdoch, preparing his home grown Bogue Sound organic watermelons for the meeting, and some hard work going on scheduling future outings and programs:

 watermelon social   Outings calendar discussion





Upcoming Croatan Group Activities and Events

 There are many events coming up that relate to the new political reality we face after the recent elections.  The Sierra Club is non partisan, but works through political systems to reach goals that will be beneficial to the environment.  The following events are not specifically Sierra Club sponsored events, but are pro environment and supported by our Croatan Group:




Jan. 20,  Visit staff at Rep Price, Rep. Butterfield, Rep. Holding’s Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill offices in the afternoon 
Focusing on encouraging them to speak out for renewable energy and the Earth and to block any terrible bills introduced. Let me know if you’d like to join some of the 350 Triangle team with the visits!
January 21, Saturday – The Women’s March….a massive march in Washington, D.C. and many other cities, against the policies concerning Women’s issues, as well as many other issues including the environment and climate.  The Sierra Club is endorsing all of these marches against the agenda that has been put forward by the Trump administration and cabinet appointees.


Jan. 23, Save the date! National day of action coordinated with the Peoples Climate Movement. There will be NC regional statewide events. More info coming!

Feb. 4 Climate Change and Solutions for NC, Church of the Good Shepherd,  121 Hillsborough St. Raleigh, NC 27603, across from the Old State Capital, 10 am to 5 pm

Speakers so far are: Bill McKibben and Michael Mann (two recorded videos for our conference from them), Laura Wenzel (clean air), Donald Addu (Citizens Climate Lobby), Laura Lengnick (Resilient Agriculture), Mark Jacobson by Skype (Climate Solutions), Emery Kiefer (NCSU renewables campaign), John Runkle (legal and policy obstacles to clean energy) and Rev. Gerald Durley (racial and climate justice). We’ll have actions people can take. One focus will be encouraging people to get their cities and counties to sign onto the Climate Solutions resolution. We’ll also encourage people to join the NC Atlantic Coast Pipeline walk in March.
More NoDAPL events coming probably at the end of January and February!!! 
Democracy for Sale screenings in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill and other cities around the state.

Chapel Hill, February 3, SELC and Raging Grannies hosting at Church of Reconciliation, 7 pm

Durham, Feb. 2,  People’s Alliance is hosting, ERUUF (date and time might change!!!)
Raleigh, Feb 7, 350 Triangle and CUCC Social Justice Committee hosting, at Community United Church of Christ, 814 Dixie Trail, Raleigh 
Democracy For Sale film description:
North Carolina — perhaps more than any other state in the Union — has been transformed by the new and growing tidal wave of political spending. Democracy for Sale travels with Zach Galifianakis, the comic star of the Hangover movies, back to his home state to investigate how North Carolina has become a bellwether for how the money of a few has come to dominate our democracy. Galifianakis investigates allegations that the current state government was put in power by moneyed interests and has thus carried out a program that only benefits its backers: cuts to education, healthcare spending and environmental protection; lowering of taxes for the wealthy and corporations; and the passage of laws designed to roll back access to the ballot.

February 11, HKonJ, 10 am downtown Raleigh!!! 

March 4-19 Walk To Protect Our People And The Places Where We Live 
Walk along proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP) route 

2017acpwalk.org and https://www.facebook.com/2017acpwalk/

March 10-11 Clean Energy Summit, Fayetteville

Connecting with the ACP walk http://www.sustainablesandhills.org/sandhills-clean-energy-summit

April 4 Sandra Steingraber, Stone Center at UNC 
April 29 People’s Climate March in DC! Goal to double the 10 NC buses that went to NYC in 2014!!








Recent Croatan Group Activities and Events

November 19, Saturday – This trip is now full.

There are a limited number of openings. To be included in this outing please email Chris at chrisfhoward@hotmail.com and you will receive a confirmation email with more information.

By the Neuse, Easy Hike

Day: Saturday


Time: 1:30-4:30 PM,  3 hours

Difficulty level – Easy to moderate, slow paced

This is a slow paced, camera friendly hike offered to anyone who wants or needs to take it easy. It will be offered in 2 or 3 sections. For those who have restrictions, there is an accessible section that we will offer first. We will then return to the picnic area for a quick break after which the remaining participants will return to finish the 2 mile section. If there are no restricted participants, we will hike the 2 miles closest to the river and then return to the picnic area for our break. At that point participants are welcome to trek the remaining 3 miles. This is a lovely area with some great views, but be forewarned; there are some hills.

·         Should have: water, a snack, and shoes you don’t mind getting wet and that have           good tread

·         Recommended: repellent, a hat, sunglasses, a walking stick

·          A standard release waiver must be signed at the trailhead.

·         To register email chrisfhoward@hotmail.com

·         Outing will be canceled in the event of inclement weather

Hope to see you, Chris Howard

November 20,  Sunday – This trip is now full.

There are a limited number of openings. To be included in this outing please email Chris at chrisfhoward@hotmail.com and you will receive a confirmation email with more information.

By the Neuse, Moving It Hike

Day: Sunday


Time: 1:30-4:30 PM,  3 hours

Level of difficulty: Moderate, fast paced

This is a fast-paced hike for anyone who wants to burn off a few calories. It will be offered in 2 sections. We will hike the 3 miles farthest from the river and then return to the picnic area for our break. At that point participants are welcome to trek the remaining 2 miles. This is a lovely area with some great views, but be forewarned; there are some hills.

·         Should have: water, a snack, and shoes you don’t mind getting wet and that have           good tread

·         Recommended: repellent, a hat, sunglasses, a walking stick

·         A standard release waiver must be signed at the trailhead.

·         To register email chrisfhoward@hotmail.com

·         Outing will be canceled in the event of inclement weather.


 Chris Howard

December 13 – Sierra Club Annual Holiday Party.  Morehead City Train Station.  6 PM to 9 PM.  This is a fun time when we look back over the last year’s fun outings and activities, and look forward to more in the coming year.  Lots of good food, fun, socializing.  Everyone is invited, free of charge.  Please come and join us.

October 6, October 18, and November 16 – Methane pollution is a far greater threat than previously realized, and the public is largely unaware of the facts.  The Sierra Club has put together a program to educate the public on this issue.   There will be three presentations about Methane Pollution, in New Bern, Newport, and Morehead City.  Check out the flyers below for times and places.


This Monday at Joslin Hall!

November 14, Monday – FACING THE SURGE.  6:00 PM to 8:00, at Joslin Hall Auditorium, Carteret Community College, Morehead City, NC.  Facing the Surge is a film that documents the tangible costs of sea level rise for the people of Norfolk, VA


October 15 – Croatan Service Outing.  Radio Island.  Saturday, 8 AM to 12 noon




August 28 – Mini-Outing to North Croatan National Forest


The Sierra Club will run an afternoon field trip to the north Croatan on Sunday, 28 August, from 2 to 5:30 pm. This trip will focus on savanna plants, especially rare species, although we may see several species of butterflies as well. Most of the plants we’ll see will be different from those we’ve seen on recent south Croatan field trips, because they are ones that are mostly associated with loamy soils, rather than sandy soils. Such “loamy soil species” we’ll look for will include the very rare and decreasing LeConte’s thistle (at its northern limit) and Hooker’s milkwort (also at its northern limit). We will also see native orchids, possibly including the rare and decreasing yellow-fringeless orchid.  The power line corridor sites we’ll visit were mowed last winter and burned in the spring; plus, the area has had adequate rainfall this summer. So, floral abundance and diversity should be at its very best. Conditions this good may not occur again until 2019.


The trip will involve driving to multiple areas and some short walks (sometimes through knee-high vegetation) to get to the plant sites. Long pants and close-toed footwear (i.e. no flip-flops etc.) are required. If you have binoculars that focus closely (within about five feet), bring them—they are good for looking at butterflies.



Members of the Croatan Group joined with others for this event.  Here is the coverage in the Carteret News-Times:

Posted: Wednesday, July 13, 2016 11:35 am | Updated: 12:32 pm, Wed Jul 13, 2016.


Atlantic Beach — On a cloudy, breezy Monday, Environment North Carolina, Oceana and the Croatan Group of the Sierra Club came to the beach near the Oceanana Pier to share their thoughts on seismic testing and encourage others to join them in opposing the practice.  More here:  http://www.carolinacoastonline.com/carolina_coast_online/news/coastal_issues/article_73d07c40-490f-11e6-b25e-6fa3b819b50f.html


June 11 Birding Trip into North River Preserve (wetland restoration area)


Sierra Club Croatan Group ran a field trip into the N.C. Coastal Federation’s North River Preserve in “Down East” Carteret County, from 0730 to 1130, Saturday, June 11.    Trip focused on bird-watching.  We will look especially for singing Dickcissels—a yellow-breasted sparrow-like bird that occurs mainly in the prairie regions of the continent (however, several have been attracted to the vast early-successional habitat in the preserve for the past several summers).  We should also see numerous Blue Grosbeaks and Indigo Buntings, and likely some Common Nighthawks, Horned Larks are a possibility.  We will also see wildlife other than birds—a Black Bear would be a possibility.  The tour will consist mostly of driving (on dirt/gravel roads) with frequent, short stops at various sites

The Sierra Club will have a mini-field trip into the southern Croatan National Forest  on Sunday, June 5, from 3pm to 6pm.

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 visit.

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

May 29, Sunday:


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

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



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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