Who We Are

Our Mission:
Outer Banks Forever is the official nonprofit fundraising partner of the three national parks of the Outer Banks (Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Fort Raleigh National Historic Site, and Wright Brothers National Memorial), helping to protect these special places through public engagement, programming, and project support.

Our Vision:
The Outer Banks national parks protect much of what you love most about being here. With your support, Outer Banks Forever will ensure that future generations can continue to learn, grow, and create memories here in the Outer Banks through history, conservation, and the celebration of innovation. Together, we will support the Outer Banks national parks by engaging current and future visitors through philanthropy, education, volunteerism, and partnerships.

Outer Banks Forever is a branch of Eastern National, a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that promotes the public’s understanding and support of America’s national parks and other public trust partners by providing quality educational experiences, products, and services.

Our Team:
Jessica Barnes, Director

A native of Virginia and long-time OBX visitor, Jessica received her B.A. in Business Communications from Hollins University and began her career raising funds and managing volunteers in the fight against breast cancer. Her passion for the nonprofit sector took her to the west coast where she received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from the University of San Diego. Before coming to lead Outer Banks Forever, Jessica spent several years learning how philanthropy can support our public lands by leading fundraising efforts for the Shenandoah National Park Trust in Charlottesville, VA. Jessica has been visiting OBX with family and friends since she was young and is thrilled to now call OBX home.

Rachael Graf, Community Engagement Coordinator

Rachael holds a B.A. in Individualized Studies (Journalism & Spanish) and a Master’s in Professional Writing. She has had opportunities to work in K-12 education, higher education and the for-profit public relations sector, but her heart is most at home in the nonprofit world. In her free time, Rachael enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring the outdoors, reading, and drinking too much coffee. She joined the Outer Banks Forever team in 2019.

 Nicole Erickson, Development Manager 

When Nicole graduated from the University of Virginia’s College at Wise with a degree in Psychology, she had no idea she would be led down the path of environmental nonprofits. Now, close to 20 years later, she has loved every minute of working for mission-driven organizations. Nicole got her start in fundraising, relationship management, and donor events at the National Wildlife Federation in 2002 and continued that same line of work when she joined the development team at the Piedmont Environmental Council in 2014, and then the Shenandoah National Park Trust in 2017. As the newest staff member of Outer Banks Forever, she’s thrilled to be joining the team in the role of Development Manager. Nicole resides in the beautiful city of Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, son, and sweet rescue pup, Nala.

Board of Directors

Trip Forman, President

Trip Forman came to the Outer Banks in 1992 to live his love of windsufing and soon found another passion in kiteboarding. In 2001 he started REAL Watersports with Matt Nuzzo out of his garage and has since grown the business to include a 21,000 sq.ft. aqua complex that includes retail and rental space, an outdoor deck, Watermen’s Bar & Grill and Watermen’s Retreat. Trip and Matt have made Hatteras Island one of the premier kiteboarding destinations in the world and were named one of the “Top 10 Most Influential People in the History of Kiteboarding” by Kiteboarding Magazine. His mission is to “make a new rider everyday” and engage our next generation in the experience of outdoor sports. Trip is also a passionate supporter of the Hatteras Island Youth Education Fund. Trip can often be found out on the water or spending time with his wife Brittainy and their two daughters.

Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy

Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy is a reporter for The Coastland Times. She lives in Rodanthe, N.C. She currently volunteers for the Rodanthe Thrift Shop, the Outer Banks National Scenic Byway Committee for Dare County and Radio Hatteras. Mary Helen is a recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. She was named Outstanding Citizen of the County of Dare in June 2012 and Outer Banks Citizen of the Year in October 2013. She introduces herself as a “come-here.” She moved to Dare County in 1986 with her husband Tom Murphy. She has lived in Wilmington, Del., Washington, D.C., and her hometown Decatur, Ga. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Agnes Scott College, Decatur, Ga., and a Master’s degree from American University, Washington, D.C.

Nick Graham, Treasurer

Nick Graham was born and raised on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. He graduated from First Flight High School class of 2010 and went on to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Nick graduated from Chapel Hill in 2014 before moving on to complete a Masters Degree in Management at Wake Forest University School of Business. After moving to Atlanta for a few years, Nick decided that he preferred the lifestyle native to the Outer Banks and moved back in May of 2018. His first hand experiences growing up visiting the parks, along with his passion for history, are what drew Nick to the mission of Outer Banks Forever.

Beth Midgett

Beth Midgett moved to Hatteras Island in 1988 and is currently Reservations Operations Manager at Midgett Realty. Beth is also a tireless and devoted community volunteer having served on the Dare County Planning Board Member since 2004, the Citizens Action Committee to Replace Bonner Bridge, the Advisory Committee to the Dare County Board of Commissioners which she Chaired from 2006 to 2016, the Dare County Community Rating System Committee, the Board of Directors of the North Carolina Vacation Rental Managers Association, as Vice Chair of the Bridge Moms advocacy for the replacement of the Bonner Bridge, volunteer for the Hurricane Isabel Hatteras Village Dune line Recovery, and as former Chair of the Hatteras Island Chapter Ducks Unlimited. She received a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in History from Salisbury State University. Her and her family regularly spend time enjoying the Seashore and all that our OBX national parks have to offer.

Michael E. Smith, Vice President

Michael, a native North Carolinian, made his first trip to the Outer Banks with his family at the age of five. This was also Mike’s first beach experience. He was hooked! Michael’s career in radio broadcasting as an on-air personality known as “Moose” took him from his hometown of Henderson, NC to Raleigh, Winston-Salem and Virginia Beach before he came to the Outer Banks for good in 2002 as manager of a group of radio stations, as well as the morning co-host on Beach 104. His community involvement includes First Flight Rotary, Past President of The First Flight Society, a founding member of the Outer Banks Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Coalition, and now includes Outer Banks Forever.

Bob Woodard

Bob Woodard is the current Chairman of the Board of Commissioners for Dare County. He and his wife Linda have two sons, two daughters-in-law, one granddaughter and one grandson, and have lived in Kill Devil Hills for the past 25 years. Bob is a native of Portsmouth, Virginia and enjoyed a thirty-two year career with Willis of Virginia prior to joining Towne Insurance – A Towne Bank Company in February of 2011. Commissioner Woodard has served in a variety of Public Service positions. His first leadership role came as President of the Virginia Junior Chamber of Commerce in 1978 where he led the State of Virginia to its highest membership in history. He has served on the Kill Devil Hills Street Improvement and Special Projects committee, which he also chaired. He has served on the Towns Planning Board, has been chairman of the Kill Devil Hills Fire Department Auxiliary Scholarship Fund, member of the Board of Directors First Flight Society, and along with regular service on the Outer Banks Visitor’s Bureau Board of Directors, chaired that board in 2005. Bob is an avid sports fan (particularly ECU Football, Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh!) and enjoys boating and kayaking on the sound.

Paul N. Orser, Ph.D. 

A native of Maine having attended secondary schools in suburban Philadelphia, Paul attended Wake Forest University and Emory University for graduate school. He returned to North Carolina in 1989 after a 15-year career as a scientist and marketing manager for a large architect/engineering/construction corporation in Boston.

After returning to Wake Forest University in 1989, he served as the Associate Dean of the College, Academic Dean of Freshmen, Director of Worrell House in London, and Director of the Washington, D.C., Internship Program. In 1997, he created My College Matters and continues to work as a college counselor for high school students and families from around the United States and abroad.

Paul has served on advisory and administrative boards in Wellesley (MA), at Emory University (GA), Salem College and Academy (NC), and The Washington Center (DC). He is currently a trustee for a merit and need-based scholarship at Wake Forest University.

Paul’s love for the Outer Banks has flourished, despite having begun by burying his tires in the sand near Rodanthe 40 years ago. He and his wife and daughter have vacationed in Ocracoke, Manteo, Corolla, Colington, and Nags Head and remain avid supporters of the Adopt a Pony and Adopt A Sea Turtle Nest programs. As an ecologist and history buff, Paul maintains a strong commitment to the preservation and stewardship of this fragile ribbon of land and its coastal and estuarine resources — OUR Outer Banks.

Robert Poitras

One summer, a college sophomore from North Carolina’s Outer Banks traveled through Europe and fell deeply in love. With beer.

This was before “craft beer’”was a thing. For Robert Poitras, though, the traditional, artisanal brewing techniques became an obsession. In 1995, with the ink barely dry on his UNC-Chapel Hill business degree, Robert set out to build his own brewery.

Since those humble beginnings, the Triangle’s oldest continuously-operating brewery has evolved and thrived. Robert teamed up with fellow Tarheel Allen Corey, CEO of SquareOne Holding Company and the former CEO of Gordon Biersch and Craftworks. Together, they have built a truly world-class brewery. Carolina Brewery’s pursuit of flavor over hype has won hearts on both sides of the Atlantic—consistently earning top honors at the Great American Beer Festival, the World Beer Championships, and other premier competitions.

Today, Carolina Brewery is a place where friends gather around Southern cooking and crisp, delicious beers that celebrate the Carolina Life, 16 ounces at a time.