Growing a Green Future event returns with the STEM Trek! Science Festival

Growing a Green Future event returns with the STEM Trek! Science Festival

The “Green” at the SALT Block will simultaneously host two events, the tenth annual Growing a Green Future event and the second annual STEM Trek! Science Festival, on Saturday, April 13.

Growing a Green Future Event

Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday with family-friendly activities and learn about what it means to “be green” in Catawba County during the annual Growing a Green Future Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration.  The rain date for this event is Sunday, April 14, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“For the past ten years, we’ve been coming out in full force for the Growing a Green Future event, bringing the community together to learn more about caring for planet Earth.  Since we cannot recycle our planet, it is so important for citizens to practice ‘green living’ on a daily basis,” said Maria Goldstein with GoGreen Hickory.  “More than ever before, in the history of the planet, we must be responsible stewards of the environment – living and practicing making every day earth day.”

More than 20 civic, conservation, art, and science organizations will be represented at Growing a Green Future.  These groups will provide educational information, and demonstrations, focusing on preserving the earth, supporting nature, or any environmental product, practice, or service offered in the area.  Some of those groups include the City of Hickory’s Community Appearance Commission (CAC), GoGreen Hickory, Hickory Museum of Art, Republic Services, Riverkeepers/Covekeepers, and Shaklee. 

Many organizations come together to bring this event to the community, including the City of Hickory, Catawba County, Catawba Science Center, Greenway Public Transportation, Keep Catawba County Beautiful, Hickory Museum of Art, Republic Services, and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

“Earth Day is an opportunity to promote some of the processes and tools available to us to be wise stewards of what we have been given,” said Andrew Ballentine, City of Hickory Solid Waste Manager.  “Recycling is a key component in that process because we have an easy opportunity to make a positive difference.  Our community is doing a great job, but there is room to improve even though our Single Stream Program has been a huge success.  To continue to improve upon recycling, we must take a moment and ask ourselves, is this recyclable, and where does it go? We have so many programs in the community to help residents and businesses recycle, re-use or re-purpose items that we use every day.”

The City’s CAC and Landscape Services, a division of Public Services, will be handing out tree seedlings again this year.  The community is encouraged to stop by the City of Hickory’s booth to pick up a free tree seedling to plant. 

Trees provide many benefits to the natural environment, including air quality improvement and the reduction of carbon in the atmosphere.  Also, a healthy mature tree will increase property value and the larger the tree the higher the value.  This is especially important for resale and will increase yearly as the tree grows.  All of these reasons should be an incentive to plant trees.  Maintaining healthy, mature trees with proper pruning, and not topping trees, not only increases the value of a property and saves money on energy costs, it also helps provide a benefit of cleaner air and reductions in storm water problems.

STEM Trek! Science Festival

STEM West and KLINGSPOR will present the second annual STEM Trek! Science Festival at Catawba Science Center and the SALT Block on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13.  STEM Trek! is an official event of the North Carolina Science Festival, a statewide celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and its impact on North Carolina. 

This year, STEM Trek! will feature a special exhibit from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Science Fair, including six carnival-style, interactive trailers: (1) Become a Neutron, (2) Extreme Science, (3) Get into Green, (4) Tiny Atoms...Big Science, (5) What's Your Problem?, and (6) Supporting Research.  STEM Trek! is one of only two sites in North Carolina to feature the ORNL Science Fair this year.

“The North Carolina Science Festival is the largest science festival in the nation, and the first to encompass an entire state.  We are excited to bring the Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s traveling science fair to this year’s STEM Trek! event, as we share the wonders of science and promote STEM careers with the Hickory community,” said Carol Moore of STEM West.

Guests of all ages will be able to tour the science fair trailers, participate in hands-on activities, and explore STEM careers and educational pathways.  Local businesses, community organizations, schools, and clubs will also be in attendance to showcase their work in science, technology, engineering, and math.

April 12:  From 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday, local school groups will tour the ORNL exhibit.  Over 3,500 students from western North Carolina are already signed up to attend this interactive event to meet engineers from ORNL.  From 3 p.m. until 5 p.m., home-schoolers, community groups, and after-school programs are encouraged to bring their students.

April 13:  From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Saturday, university, community colleges, youth groups, families, and the general public are encouraged to come visit the ORNL exhibit.  That day, STEM Trek! will also feature vendor sites to educate the community about STEM careers, especially in the region.  Over 25 community organizations and businesses will be in attendance to share STEM activities, skills, and careers with families. 

“Come out and explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at this free event for the community,” added Moore. 

“KLINGSPOR is very proud to be the presenting sponsor of the STEM Trek! Science Festival for the second year in a row,” said Christoph Klingspor, President of KLINGSPOR Abrasives, Inc. in Hickory.  “It is essential for today’s youth to participate in STEM activities and learn about career paths utilizing STEM skills.  The ORNL exhibits provide an exclusive opportunity for children and their families to interact with STEM professionals and participate in hands-on learning.”

“Catawba Science Center looks forward to partnering with both of these events this year!  With STEM Trek! and the Growing a Green Future event being held on the same day, we hope to see the SALT Block filled with children and adults eager to learn all about science and how to be environmentally-friendly,” said Erin Graves, Director of Programs for Catawba Science Center.

For more information on the City’s Community Appearance Commission, go to www.HickoryNC.gov.  For additional details about STEM West programs, visit the Western Piedmont Council of Governments site at http://www.wpcog.org/stem-west.

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