For its exemplary efforts in environmental education and stewardship, Abbotts Creek Elementary School in north Raleigh has earned the “Watershed Stewardship School Award” from its local Wake Soil and Water Conservation District.
Watershed Stewardship Schools (WSS) is a project-based awards program that challenges every school in Wake County to take 10 actions to learn about and improve their local watershed. Schools achieving these actions receive an engraved awards plaque and a $200 stipend to use for an outdoor classroom project or environmental education materials.
Outstanding actions by Abbotts Creek Elementary include:
- SCIENCE OUTDOORS: Students in every grade level are engaged in hands-on science in the outdoor classroom! Students use an air quality sensor to collect real-time data on dust and particulates then brainstorm solutions for reducing soil erosion on their school fields. They measure precipitation in rain gauges and compare their data to that collected statewide; and in an Augmented Reality Sandbox, students “rain” on different landforms to see “where water flows and where goes.” What if there’s too much rain or too little? How can we capture every drop and put each drop to good use?
- ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP: Students learn their role in taking care of the planet! For Wake District’s “We All Live in a Watershed” poster contest, 5th graders research and illustrate best management practices that protect Falls Lake, their local watershed and drinking water supply. Fifth graders raise & release American shad into the Neuse River to restore populations of this native anadromous fish. Abbotts Creek families volunteer with Wake County Big Sweep to remove litter from Falls Lake. All 900 students learn about landfills, food waste diversion, and participate in the school-wide cafeteria composting program that creates compost to enrich their school’s pollinator garden.
- GREEN SCHOOL LEADERSHIP: As a model green school, Abbotts Creek Elementary is instrumental in working with the new Wake Green Schools Partnership to advance environmental literacy and sustainability at all Wake County schools in partnership with the Wake County Public School System. These efforts have been recognized by the national U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School and District Sustainability Award program.
“We immerse our students in real-world science while making important environmental connections,” said Krista Brinchek, Abbotts Creek Science Specialist. “The students work hard on their action projects, understanding that the positive steps they take here in the Falls Lake watershed protects the drinking water of half a million people and those that live downstream on our coast. Just think if every school in Wake County did this! What a great way to ensure clean water and help our young people become science literate, conscientious and productive citizens.”
“We are so proud of Abbotts Creek Elementary’s accomplishments,” said Scott Lassiter, Wake District Supervisor. “Abbotts Creek is a model green school that can inspire other schools to integrate environmental education in all school subjects in the classroom, schoolyard, and local community.”
“Abbotts Creek Elementary achieved this challenge by working closely with a diversity of community partners from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network, Clean Air Carolina, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and their local Wake Soil and Water Conservation District among many others,” commented Sheila Jones, Environmental Educator with Wake District. “It’s true…it takes a village to raise a child; and an entire community to protect its watershed!”
For more information about the Watershed Stewardship Schools awards program, contact Wake Soil and Water Conservation District at 919-410-2676 or [email protected].