The EnergyExplorium Encourages Children and Families to ‘Explore the Outdoors’

Publication1Dozens of families recently left their TVs and shut down computers for a few hours to attend “Explore the Outdoors” at McGuire Nuclear Station’s EnergyExplorium. The event was aimed at educating and reconnecting children to the wonders of the outdoors. “Explore the Outdoors” is just one of the many programs the EnergyExplorium,  McGuire’s energy education center, hosts each year to draw attention to the vital role McGuire plays in the community.

“I think it’s important to get kids outdoors and away from technology every once in a while. I have two young children and it’s great to see them running around and getting their hands dirty,” said Lisa Dula, a Huntersville native who attended the event in late October.

While hunting and fishing events have been held in years past, the EnergyExplorium staff set out to do something different by introducing “Explore the Outdoors” as a way to encourage children and families to explore, create and play in a vibrant outdoor setting absent of video games, television and computers. More than 20 diverse organizations, from park rangers to beekeepers, collaborated to bring the event to the public. They offered opportunities for attendees to experience traditional and non-traditional types of outdoor activities, including fishing from McGuire’s public access area on Lake Norman, rock climbing, fly fishing, archery, hunting and nature walks. Education was also a primary focus of the event, as additional exhibitors focused on water and soil conservation, composting and boater safety.

“With winter approaching, there can be a tendency to spend less time outdoors; that doesn’t mean there aren’t outdoor play opportunities available,” said Liz Lowe, a local resident who came with her son. When children are outdoors, the experience is more likely to be in organized sports or on the playground. This event opened my eyes to all the great activities available to us year-round!”

After a day of fresh air, fun and exploration, event-goers left “Explore the Outdoors” feeling happy and full of new discoveries to share with friends and family.

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Duke Energy Inspires Young Minds during National Nuclear Science Week

NNSW_final_logoLast week, dozens of nuclear professionals across Duke Energy’s nuclear fleet met with hundreds of students to give them a lesson on nuclear power as part of National Nuclear Science Week. Teammates flocked to local schools while others welcomed homeschoolers to their site’s energy education centers where outreach efforts ranged from interactive presentations and hands-on activities to essay and drawing contests. Several of the events were orchestrated by the site’s North American Young Generation in Nuclear (NA-YGN) and Women in Nuclear (WIN) groups.

Curious to know what went on during National Nuclear Science Week? Below are some key outreach efforts held during the week-long celebration:

  • Crystal River Nuclear Plant: More than a dozen Crystal River employees – equipped with infrared cameras and protective clothing used at the plant – participated in five educational events at local Boys and Girls Clubs and middle schools. In all, the CR3 team gave 16 presentations, teaching more than 400 students the importance of nuclear generation as an environmentally friendly source of power.
  • Brunswick Nuclear Plant: Brunswick’s nuclear teammates hit the ground running last week and met with nearly 25 schools in the area. They helped spark awareness about nuclear science and careers by leading a poster contest depicting “why nuclear power is cool” and invited robotics teams from local high schools to view the robots used at the power plant.
  • McGuire Nuclear Station: Nearly 120 homeschoolers flocked to the EnergyExplorium, the site’s energy education center. The students were first introduced to nuclear power by listening to a brief presentation, then students applied what they learned by participating in a series of five hands-on activities which included a demonstration on half-life vs. radioactive decay using M&Ms and a game of 20 questions.
  • RoddyHarris Nuclear Plant: Teammates partnered with local schools and held a “Roddy Nuclear” drawing contest – the NA-YGN mascot used to promote National Nuclear Science Week. “Roddy” resembles a uranium fuel pellet – the energy source for nuclear power plants. Duke Energy also sponsored the N.C. State American Nuclear Society chapter meeting, providing speakers for a question and answer panel with university students. 
  • Oconee Nuclear Station: In addition to promoting the drawing contest at a local school, the World of Energy, Oconee’s energy education center, held its Fall for Energy homeschool day. Students were able to participate in nuclear dress out exercises and learn how electricity is made.

National Nuclear Science Week is just one of many events the nuclear fleet hosts each year. Through partnerships with WIN and YGN, as well as programs held throughout the fleet’s three energy education centers, Duke Energy has reached thousands of students and teachers each year through an extensive public education and engagement program.

National Nuclear Science Week is an annual celebration organized to draw attention to all aspects of nuclear science and the vital role it plays in the lives of Americans, as well as encourage education and awareness of new nuclear technologies and careers within the industry. Interested in learning more about National Nuclear Science Week, click here.


Duke Energy Nuclear Sites + Employees = School Supply Donations

Gearing up for back to school can sometimes be a burden on families, but thanks to the generosity of several Duke Energy nuclear sites, those basic school supplies are now in the hands of the children that need them.  Across the fleet, sites sponsored “Back to School Supply and Backpack Drives” in an effort to help local schools and organizations in each of their areas.

Robinson Nuclear plant in Hartsville, S.C., was able to collect 250 bookbags and donated $1500 to local schools for general school supplies for the teachers. Their efforts helped five elementary and middle schools in their area.  The Women in Nuclear (WIN) group at the Oconee Nuclear Station in S.C. organized their drive and loaded two mini-vans full of school supplies, plus $800, all to benefit the children in the care of the South Carolina Department of Social Services.  In August, Citrus United Basket, a nonprofit organization that helps underprivileged children in Citrus County, FL., received 36 backpacks and 13 medium-size boxes filled with school supplies thanks to the Crystal River Energy Complex (CREC) school supply drive.  McGuire Nuclear Station near Charlotte, N.C. just wrapped up their month long school supply drive and their efforts yielded a van full of bookbags, lunch boxes, and supplies to benefit schools in that community.

This is just one example of the projects that employees at Duke Energy’s nuclear sites participate in as part of their willingness to give back to the communities where they live and work. 


McGuire employees Christine Alvarez Pulley and Jennifer Jabon make a donation of supplies to school employees.

BB - Rolling out bookbags

Robinson Nuclear employees load supplies that they collected into vans for delivery