Hidden waterways inspire Sept. 5 community science event

Wake Downtown offers more than office, classroom and lab space for engineering professor Lauren Lowman – its location inspired her to develop a unique science-in-the-community event called “Lost Waterways of Winston-Salem,” which debuts Thursday, Sept. 5.

As Lowman marveled at the redevelopment of the former Reynolds Tobacco building, it got her thinking about how urban development accommodates city-based streams. She’s a hydrologist – so water availability fascinates her.

“Lost Waterways” will bring together students from Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem State University, Salem College, UNC School of the Arts and Forsyth Tech with a panel of experts to talk about development, the environment and water issues in the region.

“The goal of ‘Lost Waterways’ is to raise the level of local discourse about our environment and water issues,” Lowman said. “We’re learning from our community partners because they have an innate knowledge of Winston-Salem and its water issues, and that makes us better scientists.”

The program begins at 5 p.m. Thursday at a/perture cinema with an exhibition of student engagement opportunities from community partners including the Living Creek Project, Yadkin Riverkeeper, Kaleideum, Piedmont Environmental Alliance, Temple Emanuel Environmental Movement, Simon’s Community Gardens, The Science of Winston-Salem, Gateway Nature Preserve and Hydrating Humanity.

A screening of the documentary “Lost Rivers,” which explores buried urban waterways worldwide, will follow. The event ends with a panel discussion about regional water issues moderated by Linda Lilienfeld, founder of Let’s Talk About Water, a program that promotes water and earth science education globally. Panelists include Lowman; Sheila Saia, a N.C. State University expert who studies Yadkin River Basin hydrology and socioeconomic issues; Kristen Haaf, director of urban planning for Roots First, which designs ecological landscapes; and Christine Rucker, whose photography series “Dance for the River” highlights the beauty as well as the polluted state of the Yadkin.

Rucker’s art will be on display during the event, as will that of Wake Forest student Noah Bressman.

Funding for “Lost Waterways of Winston-Salem” comes from a grant from the Consortium of Universities for the Advancement of Hydrologic Science Inc. and the Johnson Family Foundation as part of the Let’s Talk About Water Challenge Grant Program.

Event details:

  • Time: 5-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 5
  • Location: a/perture cinema, 311 W. 4th Street
  • Tickets: The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required because seating is limited. Register here: Lost Waterways

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