Friday, August 10, 2012

STEM Outdoor Learning Fair Set For Sept. 28

More than 500 fifth graders from five River District schools will get
their hands and minds around STEM concepts on Sept. 28 at the 2nd
Annual STEM Outdoor Learning Fair.

The event, presented by the Catawba River District in partnership with
UNC Charlotte's STEM Education Center, will take place 9:30 a.m.-1:30
p.m. at Duke Energy's Energy Explorium on Lake Norman. Local experts
will lead interactive lessons on alternative energy, recycling,
groundwater protection and other science- and math-based topics.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Business
leaders say our students must have a strong STEM foundation to ensure
that America's future workforce can compete in the global economy.

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx and Mount Holly Mayor Brian Hough will
greet the students at 10 a.m. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Supt.
Heath Morrison and board Chair Erica Ellis-Stewart will join Gaston
Schools Deputy Supt. Lory Morrow and board Chair William Marcus
Upchurch, Sr. to speak at students at the event wrap-up.

Learning Fair students will come from Catawba Heights and Ida Rankin
Elementary Schools in Gaston County and Mountain Island Elementary,
River Oaks Academy and Whitewater Academy in Mecklenburg County.

Outdoor Learning Fair Sponsors and Hosts

Businesses, colleges and individuals are helping bring about the STEM
Fair. Major sponsors include: Presbyterian Healthcare - Huntersville;
Huber Technology; and Piedmont Natural Gas. Center topics and hosts
• Alternative Energy - Duke Energy
• Forestry - NC Cooperative Extension and NC State Educational Forest
• Forest Functions - Naturalist Craig Wyant
• Grease Free - Charlotte-Meck Utilities
• Groundwater - Mecklenburg LUESA
• Non-Point Pollution - UNC Charlotte
• Recycling - UNC Charlotte
• Water Cycle - Belmont Abbey College
• Water Systems - Huber Technology
• Wellness - Presbyterian Healthcare
• Wetlands - Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools STEM Department
• Wildlife - Horizons Unlimited (2 stations)

Help sponsor the STEM Outdoor Learning Fair

Become a sponsor for as little as $250 and help spur interest in
science, technology, engineering and math at the most critical time in
a young student's education. Two-thirds of our students come from
economically disadvantaged families. Your sponsorship can help them
see STEM-based careers as a reachable possibility.

Sponsors also gain recognition through name and/or logo placement on
websites, releases, T-shirts etc.

Learn more:
• Contact Edna Chirico at or (704)
• Download sponsorship materials: Visit
• View 2011 Learning Fair video: Visit

About The Catawba River District

The Catawba River District is a regional organization committed to
sustainable and vibrant communities, strong schools and economic
development for a 16,000-acre area along the Catawba River that
includes the historic downtowns of Mount Holly and Belmont and the
U.S. National Whitewater Center in Mecklenburg County.

The Catawba River District and its partners have developed several
programs to promote STEM learning within River District schools and
the broader community, including:

• Schoolyard gardens - The Catawba River District launched schoolyard
gardens at Whitewater Academy and Whitewater Middle School last
spring. Students and teachers tended the gardens until June. Since
then, teachers and other volunteers have come daily to keep the
gardens going until the students return in August.
• K20 Learning World - The Catawba River District and a team of
science education experts have designed a network of free, public STEM
learning centers at parks, greenways, and other locations around the
River District. These centers will help youngsters, parents and even
college-level researchers build their STEM knowledge.
• Farm To School program - This project will create a working farm on
private land and partner with nearby middle and high schools on
programs such as animal husbandry, hydroponics and agribusiness. The
project includes a food hub to process and market food from school
gardens and small farms across the region.