‘Tar Heels Go Walking’ tour kicks off 9th year in Wilmington

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Historic Wilmington Foundation and New Hanover County Schools kicked off the “Tar Heels Go Walking” for its 9th season Wednesday morning.

Historic Wilmington Foundation Executive Director The Tar Heels program had been in place for grade school students for more than 20 years when the Foundation approached the school system in 2008 with a proposal to expand elements of the tour to familiarize students with historic preservation, and the built environment.

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Historic Wilmington Foundation trains guides who work with more than 2,400 3rd graders each year to introduce them to history, historic preservation, architecture, public art, culture, and the changing city streetscape. Since 2009, The Tar Heels Go Walking Tour has opened the eyes of 20,000 third graders, more than 300 teachers, and approximately 1,200 parent volunteers to the historic qualities of downtown Wilmington.

Executive Director George Edwards said the first group of 3rd graders this year is from Condington Elementary School. Edwards said the goal is guide these students to be leaders by understanding the city’s history.

“I have met young adults who have been Tar Heel students 7, 8 and 9 years ago and this tour still resonates with them” Edwards said. “They will exclaim how much fun it was, how they got to see things and understand things they never thought about.”

The three hour tour includes informative presentations by Tar Heel partners: The Wilmington Fire Department, Thalian Hall, and the New Hanover County Public Library.