second island land gift in two years
Holden Beach Enterprises’ owners — Jim and Jo Anne Griffin, Joe and Ginger Taylor and Virgil and Carolyn Roberts — participated with College officials in a dedication ceremony on Sept. 23 in Holden Beach.
The 22 inletside and oceanside acres, valued at $3.5 million, will be used for the Alma Robinson Roberts Environmental Research Facility, named for Virgil Roberts’ mother, who also spoke at the ceremonies.
“It’s wonderful to live so this long to see part of the island given to N.C. State. I’m so proud. It’s great to be here with friends I haven’t seen for a long time,” Mrs. Roberts said.
College officials envision the sites as areas for the study of such topics as beachfront erosion, natural resources management, wetlands ecology and dune renourishment.
Dr. James L. Oblinger, College dean, presided at the ceremony, which included comments from N.C. State Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, Holden Beach Mayor Jim Lowell and Phil Ricks, Brunswick County’s Cooperative Extension director.
The town’s Planning and Zoning Board has recommended that the island’s entire west end be designated a conservation zone.
In 1998, the company donated about 30 acres valued at $1.4 million to N.C. State for a facility where graduate students, field faculty and researchers can gain a better understanding of water quality and coastal environment.
That land, known as the Drew Griffin Environmental Research Facility, was given to the College and the North Carolina Sea Grant Program. It stretches from the Intracoastal Waterway through a marsh to the Atlantic Ocean.
Said David Nash of the Brunswick County Extension Center, “It is critical that we have areas like these to study plants, animals and sand movement.” Nash has been working on developing a more resilient strain of sea oats using plants and seeds from the Drew Griffin site.
Drew Griffin, who died in 1991 at age 81, was a Holden Beach founder, town council member and mayor who believed in developing the town, said Virgil Roberts, “in harmony with the environment.”