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Media Advisory

Not for publication

May 12, 2005 -- No. 237

Local angles: Columbia,
Rocky Mount, Manteo

Tar Heel Bus Tour to start journey
by visiting Citizen-Soldier site

Monday, May 16

A support program for families of military reservists and National Guardsmen, wildlife ecology and the lost colony of Manteo will be the focus of the first day of the 2005 Tar Heel Bus Tour for 36 new faculty and administrators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

In Rocky Mount, they will visit one of five sites statewide of the Citizen-Soldier Support Initiative, a collaboration by UNC and the Department of Defense. In Columbia, the new Tar Heels will learn about the Carolina Environmental Program at Pocosin Lakes, a national wildlife refuge. In Manteo, they will tour the historic Elizabeth II ship and visit with actors from “The Lost Colony” historical outdoor drama.

Chancellor James Moeser will be with the tour Monday; Dr. Judith Wegner, chair of the faculty and a law professor, will accompany the group all week. Jean Almand Kitchin of Scotland Neck and Donald Stallings of Rocky Mount, members of the UNC Board of Trustees, will join the group at the Rocky Mount stop, as will Edward J. Baysden, executive director of the Rocky Mount Chamber of Commerce, and Shearin “Sherry” Johnson, the chamber’s senior vice president of business development.

Tour background:

The UNC group will travel more than 1,000 miles in a classroom on wheels to learn about distinctly North Carolina topics ranging from tobacco and hog farming to an economy in transition. The tour is designed to teach about North Carolina’s people, geography, economy, culture, history, education system and health and social issues. The privately funded tour, which began in 1997, aims to help new faculty and administrators better understand the state where 82 percent of Carolina undergraduates grow up. Participants will learn about the university’s commitment to North Carolina and the people it serves. Many stops will highlight UNC outreach projects. The participants also will have opportunities to learn how their own research, teaching and public service can serve the state’s needs.

During the week, participants will learn about a UNC project in Burlington that shares information about cancer prevention with women through hair salons; a light rail system expected to open in 2007 in Charlotte; growth in North Carolina’s Hispanic population (on a stop in Siler City); UNC’s efforts to help the town of Spindale recover from a textile plant closing in 2003; and, in Pitt County, about UNC’s Destiny Science Bus, another learning laboratory on wheels.

Carolina Connections: Nash County is home to 185 Carolina students and 1,202 alumni; Edgecombe County, to 56 students and 395 alumni; Tyrell County, to two students and 24 alumni; and Dare County, to 50 students and 412 alumni.

Monday’s schedule, highlights:

7:15 a.m., William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education, N.C. 54: Participants gather for a 7:30 a.m. departure.

9:10-10:45 a.m., Rocky Mount Train Depot, 100 Coast Line St., Rocky Mount.

Dr. Dennis Orthner of the UNC School of Social Work, a host on this stop, conceived of and directs the Citizen-Soldier Support Initiative with Doug Robertson of the Highway Safety Research Center at UNC. The initiative brings together employers, schools, child-care providers, heath professionals and faith-based organizations to aid families of National Guardsmen and military reservists as well as the citizen-soldiers themselves when they return from duty. For more information, visit

Also hosting will be Dr. Karen Smith Rotabi, initiative coordinator, of the School of Social Work; Rebekah Murray, community liaison for the Rocky Mount site; and Crystal Flanders-Moore, liaison at the Wilmington site. Other sites are in Asheville, Greensboro and Charlotte. Murray can be reached at 252-908-5368.

12:45-2:45 p.m., Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, 205 S. Ludington Dr., and Pocosin Arts Folk School and Gallery, corner of Main and Water streets, Columbia.

Will Stott, director of the Carolina Environmental Program’s Albemarle Ecological Field Site, will address the group during lunch at Pocosin Lakes and introduce UNC interns who are in the program. The group then will stroll along the Scuppernong River to Pocosin Arts, which seeks to preserve traditional art forms and encourage cultural tourism. Howard Phillips, manager at Pocosin Lakes, can be reached at 252-796-3004; Feather Phillips, founder and executive director of Pocosin Arts, at 252-796-2787.

6-7 p.m., Roanoke Island Festival Park, Manteo

Interpreters in period costumes will lead the group on a tour of the historic replica ship the Elizabeth II. Participants will learn about the first English colonists in North America, who were sent by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1585 but vanished mysteriously soon afterward. At 6:30 p.m., the participants will attend a reception with costumed actors from “The Lost Colony” of Manteo, the nation’s oldest historical outdoor drama. The theater company is one of more than 120 nationwide that receive artistic and managerial guidance from the Institute of Outdoor Drama, a public service of UNC-Chapel Hill.

Interviews: Participants and tour organizers are expected to be available for print and broadcast interviews at stops. During the tour, call UNC News Services at 919-962-2091 with questions about coverage, directions to tour stops or interviews.

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News Services contact: Laura Toler, (919) 962-8589,