Tag Archives: education

From Other Blogs: Celebrating America’s health centers, dealing with extreme heat, caring for a sinus infection

A collection of health and environmental posts from other governmental blogs.

Celebrating America’s Health Centers: Our Healthcare Heroes

I wouldn’t be here today if not for this health center. I didn’t realize all the help they offer and how many people use them until I became a patient … The staff has always treated me with the utmost respect. I can never thank them enough. I’ll have a place in my heart for these folks for the rest of my life.” -Phillip, a patient at a health center in Virginia

For Phillip and more than 27 million other adults and children across the country, health centers provide affordable, high-quality and patient-centered primary healthcare that would otherwise be out of their reach.

Health centers use a holistic approach to patient care, treating the entire person by integrating mental health, oral health, substance use disorder and primary medical care services. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) funds nearly 1,400 health centers operating more than 11,000 service delivery sites in communities across the country.  — From the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) blog

CDC’s Tracking Network in Action: Extreme Heat

Extremely hot weather can make you sick. Stay cool and hydrated to protect yourself. The Tracking Network provides data and tools that you can use to see how extreme heat may affect your health. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Your Health – Your Environment blog

When to seek care for a sinus infection

Most adults have experienced a sinus infection and know how annoying and painful they can be.

Acute sinus infections generally stem from the common cold. The pressure felt in the face, forehead and behind the eyes is caused by the inflammation of the sinus cavities and nasal passageway. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Collaborating to Make Stronger Emergency Managers

Building a “Culture of Preparedness” and readying a nation for disaster isn’t limited to the United States.

A three-day summit at the Emergency Management Institute that focused on emergency management training and education continues the collaboration between FEMA and Mexico’s National Center for Disaster Prevention.

Supported by the U.S. Northern Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Branch, the two agencies agreed to a six to 10 year project that will strengthen emergency management training and education in both countries. They committed to sharing knowledge in emergency management training, exercises, and education to support and enhance the capacities of the each nation. — From the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) blog

A pain in the neck

Do you ever wake up with a stiffness in your neck? What about pain in your neck that gets worse after holding your head in one place for a long time? These are typical signs of neck pain. Other symptoms of neck pain include muscle tightness and spasms, headaches, decreased ability to move your head, and difficulty sleeping.

Approximately 10 to 25 percent of people complain about having a severe neck pain episode at least once in their lives. Aging and everyday damage contribute to the commonness of neck pain, and while these causes of neck pain cannot be avoided, there are many that can. — From Flourish, Palmetto Health’s blog

Celebrating 25 Years of Empowering Youth Environmental Action

By Amanda Ley
Watershed Manager—Broad/Edisto Basins
Champions of the Environment Program Coordinator
S.C. Watershed Atlas Coordinator
Bureau of Water

South Carolina students and teachers have been doing their part for the environment for 25 years! DHEC started Champions of the Environment in 1993 with the goal of

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Jackson Creek Elementary School: Wood Duck Habitat Installation (25th Anniversary Champion)

encouraging, enabling, and recognizing youth environmental education projects that develop awareness, promote behavior change, or improve and protect our water, air, and land.

Over the years, Champions has been providing monetary awards to students and teachers to carry out environmental education projects. By participating in hands-on environmental activities, students benefit the environment and become life-long environmental stewards.

Projects focus on current environmental issues

In the first year of the program, monthly awards recognized students who were actively developing solutions to environmental problems. Winners were featured in a TV commercial, and received Champions’ medallions and savings bonds.

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Irmo High School: The Bee’s Needs (25th Anniversary Champion)

Today, the Champions program awards eight $2,000 grants each year and several smaller grants to help get projects started. Grant winners are featured in a statewide TV commercial, their project is highlighted on the Champions of the Environment webpage, and they receive local recognition for their environmental work.

Over the years, Champions projects have evolved to keep up with current environmental issues. Initially, projects included recycling, gardening, and water quality. Now, this competitive grant program awards innovative projects involving alternative energy, bee keeping, stormwater management, habitat restoration, energy efficiency, and Adopt-A-Stream monitoring. Many schools partner with local environmental organizations, giving students the chance to work on real world projects alongside professionals.

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Lakewood Elementary School: Locally Grown Seed Library (25th Anniversary Champion) 

Since 1993, 323 projects have been awarded, impacting thousands of students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Additionally, people all over the state have heard and seen Champion’s environmental awareness messages via the TV spots featuring the winning schools. They are aired annually and are now also featured on social media platforms.

Strong partnership supports Champions program

Since its beginning, the Champions program has enjoyed a strong commitment from its business partners. The team effort between Champions’ public-private partnership has been instrumental to the long-term success of the Champions program, and has made it possible to fund so many environmental education projects. Today, the Partnership consists of DHEC, International Paper, and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina.

Champions’ long-term goal is to foster an environmental ethic in youth that remains intact as they become adults, resulting in citizens who will both respect and protect our natural resources. Some of the first Champions would be in their 40s now, with families of their own, instilling environmental stewardship in the next generation.

Visit the DHEC website to learn more about the Champions of the Environment program and to see the list of 2017-2018 grant recipients and details about their projects.

Champions of the Environment: Solar Power Shines at Leaphart Elementary School

by
Ms. Heather Reitenga
Leaphart Elementary School

 

This is the fourth of a series of blog posts recognizing winners of the 2016 Champions of the Environment awards.

Our students are very excited about our solar panel project for our school greenhouse.  They are having the opportunity to learn about renewable energy options that are very attainable for us right now.  They are learning about the kind of energy that the sun provides, how this energy can be used as a renewable resource, about energy flow and how energy affects us. One thing that has helped us out is to feel good about starting out small. Our first project is using the solar power for the irrigation in the greenhouse. This isn’t a critical need and requires a small amount of energy. This low stakes approach has made us more comfortable about experimenting and learning. Because this is not high stakes energy consumption, we can have students be the designers and engineers of the systems.  Although we are starting out smaller, our panels and inverter have the ability for higher output. This project will definitely have impacts on our school for years to come because we were able to purchase a high capacity system. We will be able to continue to add to this system until we are giving out students a clear picture of the maximum capacity of these panels.

Our advice for teachers and classes that want to start their own environmental education project is to team up with experts!  We really had no one in our school that knew very much about solar energy.  We learned from Grape Solar about what type of system we needed, and then we got some great on-site information from Patrick Smallwood, one of our district’s Clean Energy Technology Instructors.  Having Patrick come out has led to a great partnership, and Patrick’s students are excited about coming out to our school for Earth Day to help us learn even more about solar energy! Environmental education is so very important for our future. We need to show our students that science, clean energy, and a clean environment are important, fun, and can impact our lives in a very positive way.

Champions of the Environment: Chesnee High Water Bottle Project

Guest post by Ms. Deborah Ezell , Chesnee High School, Spartanburg School District 2

The Chesnee High School Water Bottle Project began as an offshoot of our recycling program and my marine science class. We discuss the ocean trash patch every semester and the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean. Seeing the amount of water bottles in the recycling bins, I felt it was important to stress the need to reduce the amount of trash we generate all together.

Peer-to-peer engagement

A few students got together to make a video last year to introduce the idea to the school body about the ocean trash patch and the need to reduce the number of plastic bottles we use every day. The video was a necessary undertaking because the student body really had to understand why it is so important to stop using plastic bottles before they would buy into the inconvenience of having to fill their own bottle. They needed to know what was at stake.

The video was shown at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. At the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year we began distributing water bottles to the students. We kept coolers of ice water in each wing for students to fill up their bottles anytime during the day. The coolers were difficult to maintain because they had to be cleaned and refilled twice a day. It was very labor intensive and after six months of it the kids were getting a little tired.

Taking it to the next level

Winning the Champions of the Environment Award has allowed us to put in water fountains fitted for bottles and it has made all the difference for our water bottle program. The students in Chesnee are now invested in the program and would not want to go back to the days without the bottle fountain. We have lowered the number of plastic water bottles by 30 percent in 2015. Since January 2016 we have lowered the number by almost 50 percent!

The City of Spartanburg has begun a water bottle program, so I hope our success helps the city make a water bottle program successful across the city. We plan on taking our show on the road and spreading the word at the Spartanburg Earth Day festival and The Spring Fling Festival.

Student pride

I feel like this program will continue to be successful in the future because the students feel a sense of ownership in it. They designed the school recycling logo, created the video, wrote the grant application and then won the award. They feel pride in what they have accomplished and that pride will help keep this program going for a long long time. These kinds of programs can be difficult sometimes, but when the students take ownership of their work you as the teacher can spend more time helping them understand the importance of what they are doing.

 

This post is part of a series of posts on environmental education submitted by DHEC’s Champions of the Environment 2016 winners.

About Champions of the Environment
Champions of the Environment provides resources and support to foster environmental education and action in South Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. The program is sponsored by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, International Paper and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. For more information, visit www.scdhec.gov/champions.

Champions of the Environment: Building a Living Shoreline

Guest post by Allie Kreutzer, environmental education coordinator, Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School

Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School (CREECS) is located in McClellanville, S.C. –  a historic fishing village nestled between the Francis Marion National Forest and Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.

Most of our students love to hunt, fish, and boat. Furthermore, a lot of our parents, as fishermen, depend on the environment for their livelihood. Teaching our students to understand and preserve our ecosystems is just a natural extension of learning in this community.

The benefits that the salt marsh ecosystem provides for our community are innumerable. 

Oysters filter the water, provide habitat for 85% of local, commercially-important seafood species, provide a natural shoreline buffer from storms and boat wakes, and provide food for animals as well as people. Spartina marshes provide a valuable nursery ground for ecologically and commercially important marine species, a critical resting point for countless species of migrating birds, and the elaborate root system that helps stabilize the shoreline.

Our Champions of the Environment project involves building a “Living Shoreline” at the local boat landing in McClellanville. In conjunction with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resource’s Oyster Restoration and Enhancement program, all students from kindergarten through 8th grade will help restore this local salt marsh.

Elementary school students will harvest and germinate Spartina alterniflora (smooth cord grass) seeds, then transplant them along the shoreline.

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Middle school students will bag and place oyster shells along the shoreline to attract baby oysters and start a new oyster reef.
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We do several different service projects throughout the year but this is probably my favorite one. Though it can be nerve-racking hoping that your seeds sprout and your plants grow, and challenging to keep them watered over breaks, it is well worth the effort.

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The Living Shoreline project keeps students engaged all year; from getting muddy harvesting the seeds in the fall, bagging oyster shells and germinating the plants (and creating experiments on how best to grow them) throughout the year, to getting back out in the mud to transplant the grass and oyster shells onto the shoreline.

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Next year the students will get to see their efforts come to fruition as they watch the oysters and plants grow. They will also start to see animals that are attracted to the restored habitat.

This post is part of a series of posts on environmental education submitted by DHEC’s Champions of the Environment 2016 winners.

About Champions of the Environment
Champions of the Environment provides resources and support to foster environmental education and action in South Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. The program is sponsored by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, International Paper and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. For more information, visit www.scdhec.gov/champions.