Hickory – The “Green” at the SALT Block will simultaneously host two events, the ninth annual “Growing a Green Future” event and the inaugural STEM Trek! Science Festival, on Saturday, April 21, between 10am and 2pm.

Growing a Green Future Event

Celebrate Earth Day and Arbor Day with family-friendly activities and learn about what it means to “be green” in Catawba County during the annual Growing a Green Future Earth Day/Arbor Day Celebration. The rain date for this event is Sunday, April 22, from 1pm to 4pm.

“For the past nine years, we’ve been coming out in full force for the Growing a Green Future event, bringing the community together to learn more about caring for planet Earth. Since we cannot recycle our planet, it is so important for citizens to practice ‘green living’ on a daily basis,” said Maria Goldstein with GoGreen Hickory. “More than ever before, in the history of the planet, we must be responsible stewards of the environment – living and practicing making every day earth day.”

More than 20 civic, conservation, art and science organizations will be represented at “Growing a Green Future.” These groups will be providing educational information, and demonstrations, focusing on preserving the earth, supporting nature, or any environmental product, practice, or service, offered in the area. Some of those groups include the City of Hickory’s Community Appearance Commission (CAC), GoGreen Hickory, Hickory Museum of Art, Republic Services, Riverkeepers/Covekeepers, and Shaklee.

Many organizations come together to bring this event to the community, including the City of Hickory, Catawba County, Catawba Science Center, Greenway Public Transportation, Keep Catawba County Beautiful, Hickory Museum of Art, Republic Services, and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

The City’s CAC and Landscape Services, a division of Public Services, will be handing out tree seedlings again this year. The community is encouraged to stop by the City of Hickory’s booth to pick up a free tree seedling to plant.

Air quality improvement and the reduction of carbon in the atmosphere is a benefit of trees. Also, a healthy mature tree will increase property value and the larger the tree the higher the value. This is especially important for resale and will increase yearly as the tree grows. All of these reasons should be an incentive to plant trees. By keeping mature trees healthy by proper pruning, and not topping trees, not only will it increase the value of a property and save money on energy costs, but, it, also, helps provide a benefit of cleaner air and reductions in storm water problems.

STEM Trek! Science Festival

In conjunction with the Growing a Green Future event, the inaugural STEM Trek! Science Festival will be held on the “Green” at the SALT Block on Saturday, April 21, from 10am to 2pm. STEM Trek! is an official event of the North Carolina Science Festival, a statewide celebration of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and its impact on North Carolina.

“The North Carolina Science Festival is the largest science festival in the nation, and the first to encompass an entire state. We are proud for the inaugural STEM Trek! event to be a part of the Festival and share the wonders of science with the Hickory community,” said Carol Moore of STEM West.

STEM Trek! will feature vendor sites to educate the community about STEM careers, especially in the region. Over 25 community organizations and businesses will be in attendance to share STEM activities, skills, and careers with families. Food trucks will also be on site. “Come out and explore Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics at this free event for the community,” added Moore. In the event of rain, STEM Trek! will be held in the Keiser Community Room at the SALT Block.

“Catawba Science Center looks forward to partnering with both of these events this year! With STEM Trek! and the “Growing a Green Future” event being held at the same day and time, we hope to see the “Green” at the SALT Block filled with children, and adults, eager to learn all about science and how to be environmentally-friendly,” said Alan Barnhardt, Executive Director of Catawba Science Center.

For more information on the City’s Community Appearance Commission, go to www.HickoryNC.gov. For additional details about STEM West programs, visit the Western Piedmont Council of Governments site at http://www.wpcog.org/stem-west.