Duke Energy donates school supplies to help kick-off the school year

With school back in session, Duke Energy’s nuclear sites are helping needy elementary and middle school students start the year off right with loads of school supplies. Across the fleet, sites sponsored back to school supply drives in an effort to help local schools and organizations in each of their areas.

Harris Nuclear Plant in New Hill, N.C. donated 370 book bags filled with pencils, paper, file folders, crayons, erasers and pencil boxes. In addition to school supplies, Harris teammates donated $500 worth of cleaning supplies, including disinfectant wipes and tissues. Five area schools benefitted from Harris’ overwhelming support.

In Hartsville, S.C., 12 area elementary schools benefitted from the donations from Robinson Nuclear Plant. This year, teammates donated 386 stuffed book bags and $1,000 towards general school supplies. Each book bag was packed with pencils, paper, crayons, rulers and other school supplies.

The Women in Nuclear (WIN) group at the Oconee Nuclear Station in Seneca, S.C. collected supplies to benefit children in the care of the Oconee Department of Social Services. Teammates donated more than $600 and five boxes worth of school supplies.

Teammates at Catawba Nuclear Station in York, S.C. collected approximately 200 backpacks to donate to local schools. While sister site, McGuire Nuclear Station, near Charlotte, N.C. just wrapped up its month long school supply drive. Their efforts yielded a van full of book bags, lunch boxes and supplies to benefit an area elementary school.

This is just one of many collection drives Duke Energy nuclear teammates participate in as part of their willingness to give back to the communities where they live and work.

Annual hunting and fishing event draws a big crowd

The 8th Annual National Hunting and Fishing Day event held at the World of Energy in Seneca, S.C. on Saturday, Sept. 20 was a huge success with an estimated 1,500 people in attendance. Children of all ages and their families helped celebrate the great outdoors with hands-on activities such as kayaking, archery, fly fishing and much more.  Dozens of conservation organizations were on hand with exhibits to help educate attendees on the importance of taking care of our natural resources. “This is a wonderful event for families to enjoy together in a beautiful outdoor setting at the World of Energy,” said Angela Viney of Upstate Forever, one of the event’s sponsors. “There is truly an activity for everyone to enjoy, and it is also a good venue to learn about conservation from many local groups and agencies attending.”

The World of Energy is the education center for the Oconee Nuclear Station and provides a great backdrop for the activities associated with National Hunting and Fishing Day. “Our mission at the World of Energy is to educate the community on the benefits of nuclear energy,” said Amanda Dow, communications consultant for the World of Energy. “Part of our educational process here at the center is to focus on conservation efforts, so hosting this event is a perfect fit.”

The annual Hunting and Fishing Day event is made possible through partnerships with Duke Energy, Upstate Forever, US Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation, Weatherby Foundation, Outdoor Adventures, Academy Sports, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, Clemson Cooperative Extension, SC 4H Shooting Sports, DNR and Trout Unlimited.

Hunting and angling together are an economic force worth $76 billion a year. A Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation report shows if hunters and anglers were a nation, their Gross Domestic Product would rank 57 out of 181 countries. About 1.6 million jobs depend on hunters and anglers. The economic impact of fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing in South Carolina is estimated at nearly $3.8 billion.

Duke Energy’s WINning Chapter

WIN descriptionOutstanding efforts deserve recognition, and Duke Energy’s Women in Nuclear (WIN) Central Chapter got just that this summer at the 2014 U.S. Women in Nuclear National Conference.

In July, 45 Duke Energy WIN members made their way to Boston to accept two national awards for the company’s Central Chapter, which includes members from Brunswick, Robinson and Oconee nuclear stations. This chapter was honored with the “Overall Excellence” and “Excellence in Public Outreach” awards based on the impressive accomplishments the chapter’s 70 members completed in the past year, which included:

  • 2,549 hours of public outreach, reaching 4,899 people
  • 2,032 hours of professional development for 200 people
  • 1,264 hours of networking with 360 members
Duke Energy’s WIN Central Chapter received two awards at the 2014 WIN national conference.

Duke Energy’s WIN Central Chapter received two awards at the 2014 WIN national conference.

Some examples of the chapter’s public outreach activities include:

  • Participating in National Nuclear Science Week by teaching elementary students about basic electricity and nuclear power with hands-on activities and teaching high school students about nuclear careers
  • Showing Pandora’s Promise, a documentary film about the history and future of nuclear power, to high school students
  • Participating in Career Day, sharing information on becoming a nuclear professional to 150 middle school students
  • Teaching 127 homeschool students about electricity, nuclear energy, radiation dress out and how to make rockets at Oconee Nuclear Station’s World of Energy Homeschooler’s Day
  • Partnering with the University of North Carolina Wilmington (UNCW) and the public library to hold Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Days with hands-on activities
  • Science fair judging
  • Participating in pen pal programs with students
  • Teacher education with American Nuclear Society at UNCW
  • Robotics team sponsorship and demonstrations; STEM speaks to high school students
  • Mentorship of Clemson Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) – Girl Scout badges
  • Myth busting with Southport Junior Women’s Club

“We primarily concentrated on STEM activities with a nuclear power or electricity focus for K-12 students,” said Melanie Roberts, Duke Energy Central Chapter member from Brunswick. While WIN provides outreach activities year round, a major focus occurs during National Nuclear Science Week, which is held October 20-24 this year.

WIN members from Oconee Nuclear Station teach Girl Scouts about energy during last year’s National Nuclear Science Week.

WIN members from Oconee Nuclear Station teach Girl Scouts about energy during last year’s National Nuclear Science Week.

Duke Energy’s other active WIN chapters – the Piedmont Chapter, including members from the Charlotte corporate office and McGuire, Harris and Catawba nuclear stations, and the Gulf Chapter, including members from Crystal River 3 – also regularly interact with the community, promoting nuclear power as a viable, safe, green power source, as well as a stimulating and rewarding career opportunity.

WIN members from the Brunswick Nuclear Plant held a STEM Fair with hands-on learning activities for 72 second grade students at Bolivia Elementary during National Nuclear Science Week last year.

WIN members from the Brunswick Nuclear Plant held a STEM Fair with hands-on learning activities for 72 second grade students at Bolivia Elementary during National Nuclear Science Week last year.

Throughout the year, Duke Energy’s WIN chapters also offer its members networking activities, such as plant tours, fitness and wellness walks with other utility WIN chapters, and professional development activities like seminars, regional and national conferences, webinars, lunch and learns, and financial planning sessions.

Congratulations to Duke Energy’s Central Chapter, and thank you to all who continue to share the benefits of nuclear energy with the public.