Wilmington Earth Day Alliance
The Wilmington Earth Day Alliance, formerly the Earth Day Alliance of the Lower Cape Fear, was formed in 1990 by a local naturalist, Andy Wood. Wood felt that local environmental efforts would be more successful if businesses and organizations in the Cape Fear region had an opportunity collaborate. The Wilmington Earth Day Alliance serves to:
Dedicate the assets and energies to maintaining a safe, just, and sustainable planet through proactive educational programs and events designed to increase environmental awareness among the citizenry.
Bring local public, nonprofit, and private organizations and businesses together so the public can learn about their environmental efforts in the community.
In 1990, The Wilmington Earth Day Alliance hosted their very first celebration of Earth Day for all in the community to enjoy. Hundreds of Cape Fear residents came together to learn from extremely knowledgeable local organizations, support environmentally-conscious businesses, and honor our Mother Earth! We hope to see you at this year’s gathering!
Today, the Wilmington Earth Day Alliance continues the crucial work of planning annual Earth Day Celebrations thanks to a board of volunteer community members who organize the many sustainable and earth-friendly entities that partake in the festivities. The Alliance board members come from many unique walks of life, from local government and NC Aquarium employees to regional university students, but all have one thing in common: A passion for protecting Wilmington’s impressive natural habitat. Help us bring focus to vital environmental efforts by getting involved today! Read on to learn about our volunteer board and register to volunteer!
You can learn more about our nation’s first Earth Day and Wilmington’s first regional event in the Spring 2008 issue of Cape Fear's Going Green magazine. Don’t forget to browse their locally relevant environmental content while you’re at it!
Video from 2018 Festival by Ben David of BenDavid Films
Meet Our 2022 Volunteer Board
Matt is an environmental consultant that specializes in wetlands, streams, and threatened/endangered species. He studied fish ecology in Lake Erie with Ohio State University, orcas in the San Juan Islands with the University of Washington, and environmental management and education at UNCW. He was also a member of the City of Wilmington's Clean Energy Task Force, co-chairing the Policy & Legislation subcommittee. Matt has been involved with the Wilmington Earth Day Alliance since 2015 and loves celebrating the Cape Fear's diverse ecosystems and protecting our environment and communities.
Amy Renfranz joined the EDA in 2020 as Secretary and now serves as Vice-Chair. She coordinates the Exhibitors and helps to manage the event overall. Amy began her career in environmental education on the Blue Ridge Parkway in 2008. In 2011, she was awarded the National Park Service at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s “Ranger of the Year” award for her work in creating new programming for youth and adults. She currently serves on the board of the Environmental Educators of North Carolina. She is a NC Certified Environmental Educator, Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation, and a Certified Naturalist through the Yellowstone Institute. She has worked at the Blue Ridge Parkway, Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation, Lees-McRae College, Yellowstone Association Institute. For nearly ten years, she wrote a wrote an award-winning, weekly syndicated newspaper column called “Dear Naturalist.” Amy is a graduate of Appalachian State University and North Carolina State University, where she obtained a Master’s Degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management.
Dru started helping with the Wilmington Earth Day Alliance in 2004 as an intern with New Hanover Soil & Water Conservation District, and has continued ever since. She has a B.A. from UNCW in Geography and some graduate work in Environmental Education from Montreat College. She is a NC Certified Environmental Educator and has participated in multiple trainings throughout her career that benefit Wilmington Earth Day & New Hanover Soil & Water Conservation District, including the National Association of Counties Leadership Academy, UNCW project management, and won the YWCA Women of Achievement Environmental Award in 2017. She has 2 cats (Neville & GiGi) and 2 dogs (Roxy & Chewbacca) that she enjoys spending time with. She also enjoys hiking, kayaking, reading, and crafts.
Lilly is from Raleigh, NC originally but has lived in Wilmington ever since she started attending UNCW. Lilly graduated May 2020 from UNCW with an Environmental Science-Conservation with a minor in Spanish. Lilly has been with New Hanover Soil and Water Conservation District for little over a year now, and through that organization was able to be a part of Wilmington Earth Day Alliance as secretary. She loves being a part of an organization who loves nature and honoring it, while also educating and celebrating it with other.
Valerie’s interest in the environment started in 1970 with the first Earth Day, when her high school hosted an all-day Earth Day Symposium. She holds a B.A in Sociology & Anthropology from Swarthmore College. Her forty-year career as a writer and editor has included helping her father start a publishing company and five years as a senior technical writer for Lockheed Martin. A native Midwesterner, she settled in Wilmington in 1995, where she lives in a 1922 bungalow with her partner, George Scheibner. In 2001 she started a popular local publication—Cape Fear Arts Alive—as a guide to the local arts community. Valerie now publishes Cape Fear’s Going Green magazine, the environmental quarterly she founded fifteen years ago. Going Green is a free community guide to eco-friendly activities, products and services in the Cape Fear area. Valerie won the YWCA Women of Achievement Award for Environmental in 2010, the same year her mother won the same award for Business.
Kristin is the Education Outreach Coordinator for the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher and she has been coordinating the Wilmington Earth Day Festival Kids EcoZone since 2017 after having been the NCAFF booth presenter during the festival for two years. Kristin has been an environmental educator for twenty years, having spent most of that time with the NC Aquariums as well as having worked for the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, assisting with sea turtle research. Originally from Goldsboro, NC, Kristin has been a Wilmington resident since 2011 with her husband and their two dogs. For the Kids EcoZone, Kristin works with other environmental, STEAM, maritime, and community youth organizations to bring educational activities to young festival visitors. From identifying frog and toad calls of local species, distributing used books, investigating the impacts of marine debris on aquatic animals, and planting seeds for at-home vegetable crops, the goal of the Kids EcoZone is to educate and inspire youth to make choices and take actions that will have life-long positive environmental impacts.
Craig Harris works for the city of Wilmington as a Long Range Planner. He has a background in floodplain management and environmental plan reviews. Craig has lived in Wilmington for many years and enjoys being out in nature, hiking, biking and kayaking. He is helping the Earth Day Alliance with food and drink vendors, rentals and event coordination.
As volunteer coordinator, it is Jaya’s duty to educate the community on the many benefits of volunteering and inspire Wilmingtonians to get involved! She also redesigned the Wilmington Earth Day Alliance’s website in 2022 and serves as the Marketing Chair for Friends of the Arboretum. Jaya is trained as a Neuropsychology and Child and Adolescent Mental Health professional with a Psychology degree from New York University. She is driven to employ neuropsychological tactics to strengthen self-efficacy through social skills training and behavioral modification. Her interest in individualized treatment models led her to explore community-centered sustainability projects and eventually sparked her interest in community gardening and native biodiversity. After 10+ years in the greater New York City area, Jaya moved to Wilmington in 2020 to be closer to family and enjoy the beautiful, open air of North Carolina. She loves volunteering, engaging with nature and live music. In her spare time, Jaya designs heritage jewelry and creates unique art based on her experience as an Indian-American which she sells at local markets.
Earth Day 2022 Logo Designer & Publicity Assistant
Shelby Diehl is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington studying creative writing with a certificate in publishing and environmental science with a concentration in conservation. She is an intern at Cape Fear's Going Green and assists in the publicity of the Earth Day Festival. Shelby is also the artist of this year's Earth Day logo.