Educating our community about stormwater pollution, how we can help prevent it, and its effect on streams and lakes is an important step towards improving and protecting local surface water quality.
The following information provides a variety of resources related to educating residents about stormwater, streams and lakes throughout Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
Resources for Educators
In this section you will find information, tools and activities to help you learn and/or teach others about stormwater, streams and lakes.
The UNC-TV lesson below uses entertaining video segments and interactive components to define and describes the water cycle and watersheds, and also features information on both the importance of watershed management and strategies on how best to take care of local watersheds.
The Water Cycle & Watersheds
The Water Cycle is a great place to start teaching kids how rain is connected to stormwater, streams, rivers, lakes and even the water in our homes!
Water Cycle Resources
Three water cycle questions for kids:
- Where does the rain go when it hits the street outside of our house?
- How does the path of water in the water cycle change when we have a lot of impervious surfaces covering the ground?
(Impervious surface doesn't allow water to soak into the ground. i.e., roads, sidewalks, rooftops)
- How is rain connected to the water we drink?
A watershed is an area of land where all the
rain drains to one body of water.
Rain falls everywhere, so we all live in a watershed! The name of the watershed changes depending on the name of the stream, river, or lake where rain eventually flows. Rain and stormwater runs downhill and comes together in creeks, rivers, lakes, and eventually the ocean.
A watershed can be very large or very small. For example, all the land that drains to a river or lake would be quite large while all the land that drains to a small creek or pond would be relatively smaller.
Here is a watershed poster and some activities to help you teach kids in elementary and middle school about watersheds: Watersheds - Poster and Activities. Use this poster to teach watershed concepts like:
- All water flows downhill but that's not always south!
- Topography determines which way rain, streams and rivers flow.
- Rain flows into streams, which flows into rivers and lakes, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
Here's a short Watershed video that reinforces watershed concepts.
There are 17 river watersheds in NC and Charlotte and Mecklenburg County contains parts of two river watersheds– the Catawba River and Yadkin River Watersheds. This interactive map of NC Watersheds will help you identify which river watershed you live in. In Mecklenburg County rainwater either flows to the southwest towards the Catawba River or it flows to the southeast towards the Yadkin River. Here's a map of Mecklenburg County's River Watersheds(PDF, 2MB). Here are three resources that will help students learn more about the unique ecology, environmental concerns and success of our local river watersheds:
There are also 22 creek watersheds in Mecklenburg County. Find out the name of the local creek watershed where you live through Mecklenburg County's Interactive Geoportal. Click on "Environment" and enter your address. You'll find the name of the creek watershed where you live. You can also zoom out on this map and find a park downstream of your creek. Take the kids there for a fun day at the park and be sure to let them know that the creek in the park is where rain from the neighborhood goes.
We offer presentations that include hands-on activities for schools. We can modify these presentations and activities to fit specific interests, curriculum, and/or school schedules.
Please see our educational offerings by grade level below:
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services provides a variety of public education, public involvement and communication activities. In this section you will find information about the activities and services we provide to educate residents about stormwater, streams and lakes.
Regional Stormwater Partnership of the Carolinas
The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County are members of the Regional Stormwater Partnership of the Carolinas (RSPC); a partnership which includes municipalities throughout the region that collaborate on efforts to fulfill municipal stormwater permit requirements and other stormwater issues. The RSPC provides an opportunity to leverage limited resources to fulfill common needs of the partners. More information about the RSCP can be found at regionalstormwater.org.
For more information contact:
Sharnelle G. Currence
City of Charlotte, Public Information Specialist - Water Quality
Mecklenburg County Environmental Specialist III