The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 21, 2012

Tarboro’s Bourne honored by PTRF

The Daily Southerner

TARBORO — Tarboro’s Joel Bourne, a life-long proponent of conservation and protection of the Tar-Pamlico River, was awarded the Great Blue Heron Award Tuesday night at the annual meeting of the Pamlico-Tar River Foundation (PTRF).

The award is given for outstanding long-term contributions to the protection of environmental quality in the Tar-Pamlico watershed and to the foundation.

A life-long farmer and steward of the land, Bourne is continually involved with community projects that serve to uplift Edgecombe County and the Town of


Driven by his values for a safe, clean and healthy community for

the benefit of all, he has been constantly engaged in projects that

benefit the Tar-Pamlico River and its tributaries. On many occasions, he has contacted PTRF with ideas of how to help keep the river clean, and to start up regular river and community cleanups.

In addition, he has been one of the leaders who have coordinated cleanup efforts in the Tarboro area for every Riverkeeper Cup Cleanup Challenge since 2010, removing more than one ton of trash from the river and its banks. More recently, Bourne and his family have shared PTRF's vision and efforts to increase public access to the River by leasing a small portion of their land as a campsite for the developing Tar-Pamlico River Blue Trail.  

"Joel has always lived the life of a conservationist, teaching by example the importance of environmental stewardship for the health of our river, families and communities. It is our honor to recognize his dedication with the Great Blue Heron Award," stated Riverkeeper Heather Deck.

Other Great Blue Heron award recipients included retiring board member Cindy Wooten, Kelly Ransdell and Ginny Kloepfer.

Jerry Eatman, of Raleigh and PTRF's current board president, was recognized for his outstanding contributions over the past year with the Dick Leach Volunteer of the Year award.

PTRF is a non-profit, grassroots, environmental organization whose mission is to monitor, protect, and enhance the Tar-Pamlico River and watershed while promoting environmental justice. For more information, visit