The fifth annual Autobell® Car Wash Creek Challenge® took place in Charlotte, NC on February 1, with teams of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders from Charlotte-Mecklenburg elementary schools testing their knowledge of water science curriculum focused on the importance and vitality of their local creek system.

Autobell conceptualized and began funding the Creek Challenge project in 2016 in conjunction with the University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte Center for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education, the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, all of which collaborated to develop the curriculum.

Participating students displayed and demonstrated model waterwheels they built and were tested on knowledge of subjects such as the water cycle, aquatic plants and animals, and related vocabulary. Irwin Academic Center took first place overall in this year’s competition, with Trillium Springs Montessori placing second, followed by Walter G. Byers School in third.

Charlotte television personality Jon Wilson of the “Wilson’s World” morning show on WCCB-TV visited one classroom in advance of the competition to hear about their studies. Wilson also served as master of ceremonies for the competition.

Autobell Car Wash owner and CEO Chuck Howard served as a competition quizmaster and distributed prizes, handshakes, and congratulations to the winners of each event. Prizes included medals, gift cards, team trophies, and Apple® iPad® minis.

“Autobell is very cognizant of water quality and conservation, which led us to develop theCreek Challenge, because we know it is essential to educate and engage our youth about this most important resource,” Howard stated. “They are our future and can make a difference.”

Students set up a model waterwheel demo.