Mooresville teenager Michael Nutting went with his love of living on Lake Norman and some of its needs as an idea for a school project.
Nutting’s project has finally come to fruition – helping provide navigational aids for the lake’s sailors and boaters.
At the Feb. 8 meeting of the Lake Norman Marine Commission, Nutting presented LNMC officials with a check for $1,578 – the proceeds from his Light Up The Lake fundraising project.
“I’ve always loved the lake, and wanted to do something to try and help out the lake the best I could,” said the 16-year-old Nutting, currently a junior at Pine Lake Prep.
“I would’ve liked to have raised more, but I’m pretty satisfied. It’s really, really hard to raise awareness for something, and to raise money for it. You first have to get people’s attention, then you have to get them wanting to help you out.
“It’s been a good experience, but I’m about to wrap it up. It was definitely difficult, a lot harder than I thought it would be.”
Light Up The Lake began less than 16 months ago when Nutting was a sophomore at South Iredell High School.
The seed for the project came from Nutting’s grandfather, Mickey Nutting, who has long been active with the lake issues and Lake Norman Marine Commission.
“I participated in the IB (International Baccaulaureate) program,” at South Iredell, Nutting said. “I was in the Middle Years program, and to complete the program you had to complete a personal project.
“(Mickey Nutting) talked to me about the navigation aids, how expensive they are, and how hard it is to keep them up, because they get stolen pretty regularly. I looked more into it, and thought ‘Hey, I’ve got my personal project coming up. I should do my project on this.’ That’s how this all got started.”
Michael Nutting set a goal of raising $2,500 for Light Up The Lake. He quickly learned that he’d have to work to reach that mark.
“Yes, oh yes, but it was hurdles just like in anything else,” Nutting said. “I went through a really dry period where I wasn’t able to really communicate with anyone because of either my schedule or they were busy.
“It was a hard period for about a month, it was pretty crazy. It’s pretty hard to keep working after that because you’re not seeing any results. But I knew if I kept with it, it would start going again. It did, eventually.”
Nutting did learn a few things about dealing with businesses – where most of the funding for Light Up The Lake came from – during his fundraising efforts.
“I learned a lot of business skills,” Nutting said. “I learned how to negotiate with people, and how to people and convince them that something is needed in the community.
“But I mostly learned a good amount of how to raise money, and how difficult it is, because it is pretty difficult.”
With Light Up The Lake now behind him, Nutting is ready to move on to his next project.
Of course, it’ll have something to do with Lake Norman.
“I wanted to continue with (Light Up The Lake), but they said I couldn’t use that work for the next project,” Nutting said. “I was pretty disappointed about that.
“Now, I’m researching marine biology as a career. I’m pretty interested in that, and it’d be interesting to find out what the everyday life around it, the schooling is like, how they help the environment, things like that.”
Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.