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Environmental Education in the Great Outdoors

Environmental EducationProject WILD, an environmental education program at Buck Steam Station in Salisbury, N.C., is one of the most widely-used conservation and environmental education programs among educators of students in kindergarten through high school. The program is a joint effort between Duke Energy, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, Horizons Unlimited of Rowan-Salisbury Schools and Ducks Unlimited.

Project WILD has offered educational programs since 1996 that have allowed school-aged children to observe bluebirds, butterflies, heron, tree frogs and other wild animals. The program emphasizes wildlife because of their natural, ecological value, as well as their role in teaching how ecosystems function.

In 2005, Buck Station made improvements to the project site, including a 30-by-60-foot shelter and picnic tables to provide the children a place to take notes, have lunch and engage in other educational activities. The shelter has also given other community organizations the opportunity to use the facility.

The environmental outreach at Buck Steam Station inspired a similar project at Lee Steam Station in Anderson County, South Carolina, where a partnership with Palmetto Middle School is underway. Station employees, family, friends and teachers from the school are working together to develop environmental projects to help 6th graders study nature. Teams are creating projects such as a butterfly garden, nature trail, animal tracking stations, tree frog houses, blue bird nesting boxes and tree identification courses.

Each year, Duke Energy employees, retirees and families participate in Global Service Event volunteer projects similar to those at the Buck and Lee stations to help further educational opportunities for students and enhance the communities we serve.