Piedmont Natural Gas, Catawba Science Center celebrate new aquaponics facility in Hickory, N.C.

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  • Demonstration facility teaches students STEM skills, sustainable farming 

HICKORY, N.C. – Piedmont Natural Gas and the Catawba Science Center today celebrated a new aquaponics greenhouse, the latest addition to Hickory's SALT (Science, Art and Literature Together) Block.
Aquaponics is a sustainable, closed-loop food production system that grows fish and plants together. The fish waste provides a food source for the plants, and the plants provide a natural filter for the fishes' water. 
The new facility will provide hands-on opportunities for students and visitors to learn science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills while understanding the benefits of a sustainable food production system. Piedmont Natural Gas and its Foundation helped fund the project with a $50,000 grant in 2016 and a $7,500 donation in 2017. 
"We are honored to have the support of Piedmont Natural Gas for such a great educational opportunity for our center's visitors," said Alan Barnhardt, executive director of the Catawba Science Center. "The greenhouse is a meaningful addition to our campus and wouldn't have been possible without Piedmont's partnership."
"Piedmont Natural Gas is committed to sustainable business practices, so we're proud to support an organization that works to promote environmental stewardship in everyday life," said Hank McCullough, community relations manager for Piedmont Natural Gas. "Having this facility located within Hickory's SALT Block adds to the educational value of the area and makes it even more fun to visit."  
The CityFarm Project, a Hickory-based contracting and consulting company focused on urban agriculture, will manage the day-to-day operations of the greenhouse. 
Piedmont Natural Gas
Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company whose principal business is the distribution of natural gas to more than 1 million residential, commercial and industrial customers, as well as power plants, in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Piedmont is routinely recognized by J.D. Power for excellent customer satisfaction, and was named by Cogent Reports in 2017 as one of the most trusted utility brands in the U.S.  
Piedmont Natural Gas is a subsidiary of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK).
Headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., Duke Energy is one of the largest energy holding companies in the U.S., with approximately 29,000 employees and a generating capacity of 49,500 megawatts. The company is transforming its customers' experience, modernizing its energy grid, generating cleaner energy and expanding its natural gas infrastructure to create a smarter energy future for the people and communities it serves.
A Fortune 125 company, Duke Energy was named to Fortune's 2018 "World's Most Admired Companies" list and Forbes' 2018 "America's Best Employers" list.
More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center includes news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy's illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
Catawba Science Center
Catawba Science Center (CSC) is the premier science center in the western Piedmont and foothills of North Carolina. Located in Hickory, N.C., CSC provides curriculum aligned programs to school children and teachers from over 20 surrounding NC counties. Additionally, over 18,000 square feet of exhibits are open to the general public six days a week. More information is available at www.CatawbaScience.org or by calling 828.322.8169.

Media contact: Stacey Perrow
Office: 704.731.4102; 24-hour: 877.348.3612