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Eight S.C. Schools Receive Champions of the Environment Grants

Eight schools have been awarded grants to support efforts to educate the next generation of environmental stewards.

“This year, Champions of the Environment grant program winners will establish wildlife habitats, and develop learning gardens and outdoor classrooms,” said Amanda Ley, DHEC‘s coordinator for the Champions of the Environment program. “Environmental education programs like the Champions program provide opportunities for students to become engaged in real environmental issues that go far beyond the classroom and hopefully make a lasting impact.”

About Champions of the Environment

Established in 1993, Champions of the Environment has been empowering youth environmental action for 25 years. 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 DHEC, International Paper and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina.

“Some of our first Champions would be in their 40s now, with families of their own,” said Ley. “We hope that they have carried on the culture of environmental stewardship, promoting behavior change in South Carolina.”

The eight Champions of the Environment winners

This year’s grant winners are:

  • Lakewood Elementary School, Horry County — Students will establish a seed library by growing, harvesting, storing, and sharing seeds from locally grown heirloom vegetables.
  • Academy for Technology and Academics, Horry County — Plants will be grown in three different garden systems to determine which one results in better water use efficiency, soil quality, plant production, and labor input.
  • East Clarendon Middle/High School, Clarendon County — An outdoor classroom will be created to teach students about natural habitats, composting and recycling, and the weather’s effect on plant growth.
  • Dutch Fork Middle School, Lexington/Richland Counties — Students in the ACTION (Assisting Communities Together Inspiring Our Neighbors) Program will work with special needs classes to improve an outdoor classroom by increasing plant diversity to attract pollinators.
  • McBee Elementary School, Chesterfield County — The entire school will be engaged in hands-on science by planting and maintaining a garden, building and decorating rain barrels, and composting cafeteria waste.
  • Jackson Creek Elementary School, Richland County — Naturalists from Camp Leopold will help students create a wood duck habitat in the wetland surrounding the school.
  • Porter-Gaud Lower School, Charleston County — Students will cultivate pollinator habitats on campus by restoring an existing nature trail and school garden.
  • Irmo High School, Lexington/Richland Counties — Standard and special education students will join forces to support a bee population by composting cafeteria waste for a pollinator garden.

Visit the DHEC website for more information about the Champions of the Environment program.