The Eco-Footprint Challenge, sponsored by the Piedmont Natural Gas Foundation, seeks to harness school spirit and real-life needs to build a love of learning science, technology, engineering and math skills among students of the Catawba River District.
The real-life needs are finding ways to reduce how much energy, water and other natural resources our schools use while also lessoning the amount of wastes they produce. Six schools have accepted our challenge. As you'd expect, these kids and their teachers have come up with some great ideas.
- Catawba Heights Elementary students are composting food wastes to help their gardens.
- At Ida Rankin Elementary, third graders are learning how to harness fermentation to convert even meats and dairy products into compost.
- Students at Whitewater Academy also want to turn food waste into compost, with the help of vermiculture - worm farming.
- Mountain Island Charter School students are working to cut back on something else that ends up in the trash - disposable plastic.
- A garden whose plants warn us when ozone gets too intense will help Whitewater Middle School students with their campaign to reduce ozone-producing activities by students and adults.
- And at River Oaks Academy, students think they can cut down on their use of electricity by harnessing the power of the sun.
Over the next six weeks each team will carry out its plan and keep records on how they are doing. Judges will also visit each school before making their final decisions.
We'll announce winners on May 20. And everyone wins as they hone their STEM skills.
Want to help?
The Eco-Footprint Challenge takes many volunteers. To learn how you can help, contact the Catawba River District's executive director, Edna Chirico, by email or by calling her at (704) 562-8847