CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Autobell Car Wash Inc. plans to take its water conversation message to the next generation through the Autobell® Creek Challenge, a water-related science program being piloted in nine Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS) elementary schools this year, according to a press release.

The program, with a new curriculum and related competition for participating schools, will launch this semester with teacher training, stated the release, followed by classroom and on-site creek education for the students.

Teams consisting of fourth and fifth grade students at the participating schools will take on the curriculum and then compete in challenge-based activities which “demonstrate their Mecklenburg County creek knowledge,” reported the release.

School winners will advance to the final competition, continued the release, which is scheduled to take place on June 4 at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Charlotte.

Autobell will award various prizes to the participants and winners of each competition, added the release.

A customized Autobell Creek Challenge Kit containing the necessary equipment to gain specific water knowledge and conduct related tests and experiments will be utilized by the teams, informed the release, and classrooms will also have maps and pamphlets detailing various creeksheds in Mecklenburg County.

Autobell proposed creating and funding the project as a follow-up to “KEEPING WATCH on WATER: City of Creeks,” a spring 2015 series of art and museum exhibits, online materials and public events that focused on Mecklenburg County’s urban waterways, stated the release.

From the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute and the UNCC College of Arts + Architecture, reported the release, KEEPING WATCH is a multiyear initiative to draw attention to environmental topics.

The Autobell Creek Challenge’s curriculum and activities were developed by the Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education at UNC Charlotte and the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, continued the release.

“As a young boy growing up in Charlotte, I was fascinated by the creeks in our neighborhood. My friends and I would play in and around the waterways, learning about various critters … dependent on the water and surrounding ecosystems. As we grew older, we would even fish, swim and build rafts in the larger creeks. It was a wonderful part of my childhood that helped mold my view today on protecting Earth’s most precious resource, water,” said Chuck Howard, CEO of Autobell, in a letter to the participants of the challenge. “My company is also very concerned about water conservation, which led us to develop the Autobell Creek Challenge, because we know it is very important to educate and engage our youth about this most important resource. [They] are our future and can make a difference.”

Founded in 1969, the family-owned and operated carwash chain has long been a proponent of water conservation, noted the release, receiving several recognitions since 2000 from media, nonprofit and government entities.

You can find the release here.