September 22, 2016

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Meet Hope Spot Hatteras, one of the 14 new Hope Spots designated by Mission Blue and the IUCN World Conservation Congress.
 
After months of waiting to hear back about our Hope Spot: Hatteras nomination, we are so happy to announce Dr. Sylvia Earle and Mission Blue have voted to establish a Hope Spot 40 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras! View the most recent updates on our website and the Hope Spot nominations here.     
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© Hope Spot Hatteras

 
As a small group of community members and students, taking on an idea this big to protect the ocean was intimidating, but the support from our communities and those across the east coast alongside our love of the ocean kept us fighting for Hatteras. This area in the North Atlantic is a unique place full of amazing organisms. Our oceans depend on the health of places like it, this Hope Spot will allow us to ensure its preservation for future generations.
 
Sometimes positive change grows from the least likely group of individuals. It required a lot of research from each person to ensure we covered all of the unique characteristics that make Hope Spot Hatteras extraordinairy.
 
But what we learned is it wasn’t enough to just submit the proposal. The magic happened when we educated a group of students who then educated the masses. It was their efforts through canvassing the Hatteras area gaining the support of the locals, promoting Hope Spot Hatteras through social media, tee shirts, and making a short documentary that energized communities to get behind our proposal. The students went so far as to acquire a resolution from the entire UNCW Student Government Organization to support it.
 

It wasn’t always easy, Hatteras is a big fishing community and often the fishers think a Hope Spot means the government is coming in and taking away fishing rights. The students were really great about explaining to them that we need to be willing to protect where we live. Now that it is a Hope Spot, we cannot stop there. We learned that it is an ongoing initiative that will require more educational materials and promotion in order to ensure the community fights to keep Hope Spot Hatteras protected. We want to have long term significance and documentation on our Hope Spot in case the oil industry or other potentially harmful projects come in the way of the Hatteras ecosystem.

Cleanup on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. © Hope Spot Hatteras

Beach clean up on Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge. © Hope Spot Hatteras

Above all, we learned that, just like Dr. Sylvia Earle, we can have a vision turn into a reality through commitment, collaboration and compassion.

We must invest in the health of our oceans and its ecosystems like that of Cape Hatteras, and serve as ambassadors for the systems that sustain us… a small group of individuals can enact change and that’s just what we intend to do!

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"With knowing comes caring." - Dr. Sylvia Earle