UNCC Urban Institute and College of Arts & Architecture (Winner)

UNCC has co-led the KEEPING WATCH project for 4 years and fostered collaboration among artists, historians, writers, and scientists to engage the public about the importance of environmental stewardship. Focus areas for each year all relate to water; most especially in 2015: City of Creeks. Staff spent endless hours supporting the development of visual arts, online multimedia and community events that engaged residents and continues to do so today. It is impossible to name all but a few water focused ones include: oral histories related to local creeks, watershed brochures that inspired the Autobell creek challenge quiz bowl that continues today, numerous public events and art gallery exhibits, a water pollution film, and a 3D wall hanging of creek watersheds that permanently hangs in the Charlotte Museum of History.

See Keepingwatch.org for a more comprehensive view of ALL that has been accomplished by this incredible project. Truly a gift to Charlotte that keeps on giving. 

UNC Charlotte Center for STEM Education

The STEM Center is at the forefront of STEM education in the Charlotte region. While their focus includes several disciplines, water has been a primary focus area. In the past year alone they've held many events to foster learning about water issues including the 5th annual Catawba River festival (over 500 5th graders), Project WET teachers workshop (provides educators the tools needed to integrate water education into their schools), Summer Ventures program (students summer camp with some water-focused learning modules), 3rd annual water tower competition, regional science & engineering fair (many projects are water-focused), Auto Bell Creek Challenge (students compete in a creek-focused quiz bowl and several other water-focused competitions), Science & Technology Expo featuring over 100 activities including some with a water focus, and the Stockholm Junior Water prize (part of an international competition for high school students doing research in water and sustainability issues). 

The STEM Center is a small but dedicated group that uses limited resources to the fullest. In a given year they host 30+ events to foster learning in STEM disciplines. Organizing these events takes a tremendous amount of effort. They also partner with many groups to enhance learning opportunities.

Sam's Xpress Car Wash

Sam’s Xpress® Car Wash uses state-of-the-art equipment and is continuously making improvements to better the environment. Our equipment allows us to treat 100% of the water used and recycle up to 90% of wash water; which allows us to save water and return used water safely back to the environment. Each car wash site saves approximately 12 million gallons of fresh water per year! All chemicals used are biodegradable, making the entire car wash experience Eco-friendly. Sam’s Xpress® also takes steps in conserving water by performing preventative maintenance to stop leaks from happening. As a certified WaterSavers® wash through the International Car Wash Association, Sam’s Xpress® has to meet certain standards to qualify. Lastly, Sam’s Xpress® is committed to keep our local waterways clean and free of debris. For the past 3 years, Sam’s Xpress® has volunteered to clean up our waterways through the Adopt-A-Stream Cleanup Program with Charlotte Storm Water Services.

Sam's Xpress is continually making improvements to conserve water, especially with their new high tech sink combination that allows us to save even more water! Also, as a proud volunteer of the Adopt-A-Stream Cleanup program, we will expand our stream clean ups to at least 5 additional streams!


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