Event has been POSTPONED until October 13, but still accepting student submissions: Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and Catawba Research are partnering to inspire the next generation of Charlotteans to put their talents to work for the good of our environment!

The CLT Future 2020 Competition is a “Shark Tank” style competition for high school students to showcase an innovative idea that tackles an environmental problem facing our region.

Participating Non-Profits: Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Catawba Lands Conservancy, Sustain Charlotte, Anne Springs Close Greenway, Clean Air Carolina, Carolina Raptor Center

Who Can Participate?

This is a FREE event for local High School students that are residents in the following counties: Alexander, Cleveland, York, Iredell, Gaston, Union, Catawba, Mecklenburg, Chester, Rowan, Cabarrus, Lancaster, Lincoln, Stanly, Chesterfield.

Please Note: Students must be enrolled in high school for both the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 school years, as submissions open in April 2020 and the final event will be in September of 2020.

How do students formulate an idea that’s relevant to our local issues?

Students will pick an environmental theme, issue or problem facing the Charlotte area from the list of local topics curated by our partner environmental organizations. Topics are based on each organization’s specific mission and current program work.


How do students submit their ideas and compete? TWO PARTS

Students will pick a topic from this list: LOCAL TOPICS.  Once a topic is chosen, all students will submit a written plan (no more than 2 pages) and a video presentation (no longer than 2 minutes, 30 seconds) to supplement their written plan on how they think this issue should be solved. In order to participate, students must fill out both of the TWO PART registration: 1) registration form & 2) submission form.

Students will be judged on quality of written proposal and video presentation. Partner nonprofits will select semi-finalists who will compete on stage. One submission per student, please.

How and When will the winner be decided?

The final event will be an on-stage presentation of the student’s idea/solution in the Fall of 2020.  Each non-profit will get a finalist and the top 3 will get scholarships.

There will be seven judges for the main stage event. Judges will be: 1 board member from each organization and 1 representative from Catawba Research.

The finalists will be judged on creativity of solution, viability of the solution, and presentation.

What are the grand prizes?

  • Grand Prize Winner: $4,000 scholarship
  • First Runner-up: $2,000 scholarship
  • Second Runner-up: $1,000 scholarship
  • Audience Vote Winner: $500 audience vote winner; can be any finalist.

Each finalist will be invited to intern with their non-profit the summer after their first year of college.

Important Dates

  • April 22 Submission portal is open at catawbariverkeeper.org/cltfuture2020
  • DEADLINE EXTENDED to September 15: Submissions close and semi-finalist selection begins
  • September 21: Semi-finalists notified. Nonprofits deliberate and choose their individual finalist.
  • September 28: Six finalists chosen and notified. Coaching and mentoring can begin.
  • October 13Pitch Event at C3 Labs in the Charlotte South End.