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May 10–12, 2021 | Durham, NC


Meeting people with new insights into shared challenges and the opportunity for follow-up conversations are often one of the best parts of any conference. To capture some of those discussions during conference sessions, we designed an interactive program to allow for more engagement among participants, including new approaches for virtual participation. The information on this page provides details about cross-cutting themes and key topics that made up the conference program.

Virtual Presentations

We were committed to making the CCRC accessible for everyone in the Carolinas resilience community despite the ongoing pandemic. We offered virtual session and presentation options for those who participated remotely. In-person participation was limited to 80 people to allow for social distancing onsite.



Session Formats

All Sessions

All sessions (excluding the virtual pre-conference workshops) were hosted in a hybrid format, with both in-person and virtual speakers and attendees. 

All conference sessions and presentations were recorded. Recorded content is available to registered attendees through the virtual conference platform until August 31, 2021.

Pre-Conference Workshops

We hosted 4 skill-building pre-conference workshops the week of May 3. Each session was held on the virtual conference platform with interactive features such as audience polling, Q&A, and facilitated discussion. Workshops were open to all registered CCRC attendees (in-person or virtual).


These 1 ½ hour sessions included panel discussions with multiple speakers around key climate-related issues in the Carolinas.

Oral Presentations

These 1-hour sessions included 10-minute presentations from 4 speakers around related topics and cross-cutting themes followed by 20 minutes of Q&A and discussion.

Lightning Talks

These 1-hour sessions included 5-minute presentations from 5-6 speakers followed by 30 minutes of facilitated discussion.

Poster Sessions

Each presenter gave a brief 5-minute overview of their poster presentation, followed by 30 minutes of facilitated discussion. All posters were available through the virtual conference platform to view at any time throughout the conference. Congratulations to the winners of the competition!

  • 1st Place
    Bonnie Ertel, The Citadel - “Environmental Fate of Microplastics and Tire Wear Particles from Coastal Floodwater in Charleston, SC”

  • Runners Up
    Lauren Grimly, UNC Chapel Hill — “Flood Hazards at the River-Coastal Interface of Carolina Watersheds”
    — and —
    Meredith Hovis, NC State University — “Discounted Cash Flow and Capital Budgeting of FloodWise, a Pilot Water Farming Program in Eastern North Carolina”


Cross-Cutting Themes

The major events of the year leading up to the 2021 CCRC, including the coronavirus pandemic, social justice movement, and extreme weather events, present the adaptation community with both challenges and opportunities as we look towards a more resilient future. Lessons learned and research about these issues and their connections to climate change in the Carolinas were included as session and presentation topics at the conference.

Actionable Climate Science

Understanding the data is one thing, applying it for real-world decision-making takes additional experience and expertise; examples of how adaptation in the Carolinas has been supported through applied climate science; methods for understanding, assessing, and/or evaluating the nature of climate risks and impacts in the Carolinas

Climate Resilience Planning and Recovery

From hurricanes and flooding to extreme heat and drought, lessons learned from past extreme events in the Carolinas; incorporating recent extremes and future climate considerations into planning and recovery strategies for a more resilient future

Collaborative Climate Adaptation

Holistic approaches to adaptation in the Carolinas, such as cross-sectoral collaboration, regional planning efforts, and public/private partnerships

Communication and Engagement

Effectively communicating risk, opportunity, resilience, and adaptation in the face of climate change; creative messaging and visualization strategies through art, music, and cultural preservation to inspire action; virtual engagement strategies; strategies to effectively engage diverse perspectives

Economics of Climate Adaptation

Finance, funding, and investment mechanisms to support your climate adaptation action items; understanding the cost of inaction

Equitable Adaptation

Development and implementation of equitable, community-driven solutions to climate impacts in the Carolinas; designing adaptation strategies that address vulnerabilities, multiple hazards, and compounding stressors

Policy, Governance, and Law

Strategies for adapting local and state regulations to support the implementation of adaptation strategies in the built and/or natural environment; eliciting support from and/or working with elected officials