Landscaping researcher seeks EC residents


By Jon Hawley
Staff Writer

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Elizabeth City residents: Do you have a good yard you want to make better? If so, University of North Carolina researcher Jane Harrison wants to talk to you.

She’ll also throw in $20 gift cards for your time, she said in an interview Monday.

Harrison is a coastal economics specialist at NC Sea Grant, located at N.C. State University in Raleigh. She explained Sea Grant researches coastal issues, including fisheries, climate change, storm/flooding resiliency and more.

In that vein, Harrison is researching landscaping practices, conditions and challenges in coastal communities as part of a larger “Coastal Landscaping Initiative.” She said she picked Elizabeth City for a few reasons. It gives good coverage along the coast — Sea Grant’s worked further down the coast at Swansboro and Wilmington, she noted — and allows her to work in a diverse, slightly inland community, she explained.

In contrast to working along the tourist-heavy Outer Banks, working in Elizabeth City also lets her interview communities with many long-term residents, she also explained.

For her research, she said she’d like to visit Elizabeth City residents with yards over the next few weeks. She’d like to speak for about half an hour, asking about their landscaping practices, problems and goals, and then look at their yards for about 15 minutes.

A followup email she sent adds study participants will “provide insight as to how they manage their yard and/or garden,” including plant selection and sourcing.

She also said she might bring a few experts with her, so as to better answer questions people might have.

She also said she’d offer each study participant a $20 gift card for their time.

Participants’ information will help develop educational outreach in coastal yard maintenance and gardening, her email adds. She also said her work would help people improve their yards’ resiliency.

Harrison said a simple summary of her work might be published early next year in Sea Grant’s Coastwatch magazine, but the full, peer-reviewed paper wouldn’t be ready until late 2020.

Harrison said anyone interested in participating should text her with their name and address at 614-499-2151; they can also email her at jane_harrison@ncsu.edu.