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The Center for Energy Education offered another year of summer programs for students in Halifax County thanks to a generous $15,000 grant from Duke Energy Renewables. 

In response to the suspension of in-person summer camps due to COVID-19, the C4EE used this grant to host summer camp programs virtually, making it free for surrounding K-12 students to attend and participate in hands-on activities about renewable energy and STEM careers. 

“Our partnership with Duke Energy Renewables is important, and we appreciate the funding offered to enhance learning opportunities for local students,” said Mozine Lowe, executive director for C4EE. “We are especially pleased that hosting camps virtually presented an opportunity to incorporate new technologies into the STEM-based curriculum for students while keeping them safe.” 

“We’re proud to support our communities and enhance the education for students interested in learning more about renewable energy resources,” said Josh Rogers, director of commercial operations at Duke Energy Renewables. “Tomorrow’s energy breakthroughs come from innovative thinking and exploration, which is why we’re proud to support tomorrow’s big thinkers and achievers through the Center for Energy Education.” 

The Center for Energy Education is a nonprofit organization and a center for renewable energy research, education, and workforce development for the eastern United States. 

The C4EE provides a place to raise awareness of renewable energy and its importance locally, regionally, and globally. 

Since 2018, the center has offered summer camps to 762 elementary, middle, and high school students in five states and solar education workshops for 190 school teachers. 

Duke Energy Renewables has supported the program for four consecutive years. 

The 2020 C4EE Virtual STEM Summer Camp was offered by schoolteachers to supplement learning and instruction missed by students during this academic school year due to COVID-19. Students built hands on STEM-based projects that focus on enhancing reading, math, and science skills. 

The C4EE provided each camper with a supply kit along with instructions for accessing camp through the Zoom video conference platform. 

This year, campers in grades K-4 learned about the essential role plants play in the environment and explored the environmental solutions that renewable energy technologies provide. Elementary students built sprout houses, terrariums, seed medallions, and hovercrafts. Campers in grades 5-8 constructed mini solar cars and conducted speed tests, used the motors in their kits to give life to the Robocups they created and power paper windmills. 

Middle school students also enjoyed s’mores cooked in solar ovens, and designed villages ran solely on renewable energy. 

The C4EE dedicated a week to high schoolers interested in learning about STEM and renewable energy careers. 

C4EE virtual college interns, college professors, and school teachers designed a camp that allowed high school participants to daily personify the role of an environmental engineer, meteorologist, mechanical engineer, soil scientist, or conservationist. 

Students learned about appropriate technology while proposing a renewable energy community built to scale to an imaginary town council. 

Additional projects for high school campers included measuring wind energy with anemometers, learning how acid rain affects farming, and conducting experiments on energy storage using lemon batteries. 

For more information about the C4EE, visit https://center4ee.org or call 252-541-3004.