The CLT Future 2020 Competition sponsored by Catawba Research came to a close Tuesday evening, October 13.

In the final on-stage event, 5 finalists presented their ideas for solving local environmental problems.

Each of the finalists was paired with a mentor from a participating nonprofit (Catawba Riverkeeper, Clean Air Carolina, Sustain Charlotte, Anne Spring Close Greenway, Carolina Raptor Center, and Catawba Lands Conservancy). Students and mentors worked together to refine the students’ Shark-Tank style pitches.

The pitches were judged by representatives from each participating nonprofit and Catawba Research.

Winners took home scholarship money and internship opportunities.


1st Place: Harrison Kendall (Grade 12), Collaborative College for Technology and Leadership

Title: Solutions to Urban Creek Erosion

Summary: Harrison recognized there is a problem with urban creek erosion and chose to develop/supply ways to combat this problem here in Charlotte. His solution to the problem was to implement creek restoration projects throughout the city, but he recognized that this was not a solution, just a temporary fix. He further went on to suggest the implementation of impervious surfaces throughout the city and provided an example of a type of concrete with impervious properties versus what we currently have throughout the city. 

Scholarship Funds Awarded: $4,000

Nonprofit Partner: Anne Springs Close Greenway

2nd Place: Lauren Rydel (Grade 11), Charlotte Country Day School

Title: The Environmental Justice Parks and Protection Plan

Summary: Lauren noted the injustice of environmental green space access in underprivileged/disadvantaged communities. Her solution to such issues focused on revitalizing existing parks and protecting environmental justice communities. Her proposal aimed to increase the regulation of pollutant crowding and make changes in the existing communities to improve their available green spaces. Her end goal is to clean up the environment and make it a safe space that is maintained by the city for the disproportionately affected minority groups to receive the same benefits from parks and neighborhoods as the privileged areas.

Scholarship Funds Awarded: $2,000

Nonprofit Partner: Clean Air Carolina

3rd Place: Shivanjali Bhasin (Grade 11), Providence Day School

Title: Transportation Transformation Plan

Summary: Shivanjali noted the increase in commuting in the city and that this was not an issue that was going to decrease anytime in the near future. She developed a multi-step thoroughly thought out plan to decrease commuter pollution output. Her plan included steps such as increased bus lanes and buses with higher efficiency. Along with a system that allows for the speed and accuracy of the bus system to increase in order to be a more desirable transportation option to the city population. With a final step being to create a living community where there was no need to have a personal form of transportation such as a car. Bike lanes and ride share options being the way of the future within the city.

Scholarship Funds Awarded: $1,000 plus the $500 audience vote

Nonprofit Partner: Sustain Charlotte