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Rowan Creek Week brings 200 students to Horizons Unlimited

SALISBURY – Horizons Unlimited on Tuesday hosted students from two high schools during one of many Rowan Creek Week events going on this week.

“I really love that we provided the opportunity for 200 students to explore and see if their passion is to go into a career dealing with conservation or water awareness,” Director of Horizons Unlimited Amy Pruitt said. “The only way we can provide such opportunities, is to bring students in and have them see and learn from professionals, which in turn may lead them to thinking: ‘Hey, that’s pretty interesting.'”

Students from North Rowan and East Rowan High School learned about topics such as water conservation, water quality, the earth’s cycles, erosion, and the rainforest. They were split into seven different teams to attend 20-minute classroom sessions.

“They even get the chance to see a planetarium show that talks all about plants and animals and how they are all interconnected in the world,” said  Kelli Isenhour, education coordinator for Rowan County Soil and Water Conservation District.

In Isenhour’s workshop about erosion, there were sedimentation bottles with three different soil types. During the workshop, students talked about sediment being the No. 1 polluter in North Carolina and the affects of sediment in creeks and waterways, Isenhour said.

North Rowan High School student Abby Menius was among the participants, and said she aspires to become a forensic scientist.

“I enjoyed the sediment demonstration,” Menius said.

Hugh Rice, a 10th-grader, said he thought the presentation was interesting and that it “took me back to the fifth grade.”

“I want to go off to the Navy and become a Navy SEAL, I will be able to take what I’ve learned today and apply it to my future career,” Rice said.

Representatives from the City of Salisbury; Rowan Soil and Water Conservation District; civil engineers with HDR Architecture, based in Charlotte; the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and others were at Water Awareness Day, helping lead and teach students at each workshop they rotated between throughout the day.

Students in NRCS’ Water Conservation class had the chance to learn tips about how to limit water consumed on a daily basis.

The NRCS team recommended tips on water conservation, including turning the water off when in between brushing your teeth or washing your hands, taking shorter showers and washing your clothes only when you have full load versus a small one.

“Water conservation to me is defined as strategies and management activity to help conserve water for ourselves and future generations,” said Brian Short, of the NRCS.

Patrick Blandford, a civil engineer with HDR, said students implemented many of the concepts they learned in the classroom setting in his demonstration.

“They asked a lot of good questions you could tell there was some interest in what they were learning,” Blanford said.

Salisbury Stormwater Technician Michael Hanna gave words of praise for Water Awareness Day as well.

“I’m excited for what the future holds for Creek Week,” Hanna said. “Seeing the kids excitement and that ‘aha’ moment was the greatest part.”

Remaining events for Rowan Creek Week vary from a tour of Morgan Ridge Railwalk Brewery from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. today at the brewery on North Lee Street to Family Movie Night Saturday, showcasing “Moana” (PG) from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Salisbury Academy.

The weeklong event is held to celebrate the importance, impact, and influence of the creeks and waterways of Rowan County and the municipalities therein. It aims to raise awareness about how the health of waterways can have a direct impact on communities.

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