Tag Archives: land

From Other Blogs: Drinking water, safe summer meals, productive aging and work & more

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

Our Drinking Water and Forest Service Research

Behind every drop of water from the tap is an entire forest ecosystem. And while it’s easy to take drinking water for granted, you might be surprised to learn that the nation’s largest single source of water is the National Forest System, the network of national forests stewarded by the USDA Forest Service. Many of these national forest lands overlay the source areas for important rivers and aquifer systems, and more than 60 million Americans rely on them for drinking water.

Scientists from Forest Service Research and Development, or R&D, investigate the quality and quantity of water from forests and conduct research that informs water stewardship and reduces costs. For example, one R&D study showed that nearly 21 million people in the South receive their drinking water from national forest lands – roughly equivalent to the population of Florida! — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

FNS Provides Tools to Support Safe Summer Meals

As the school year ends across the country and summer approaches, summer meals are critical in the lives of millions of our nation’s youth, whose risk for food insecurity increases during the summer months when they no longer have access to the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs (NSLP).

Summer meal programs, including the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option within the NSLP, present the opportunity to help alleviate summertime food insecurity and positively impact children’s growth and development by offering nutritious meals and encouraging children to develop healthy habits at a young age. — From the USDA blog

A Framework for Productive Aging and Work

The aging of the U.S. population has led to a number of changes in the workforce, particularly a movement of the worker distribution toward older ages2, 4. By 2022, about one-third (31.9%) of Americans aged 65 to 74 years will still be working (Toosi 2013). The impact of a longer working life can be significant in both positive and negative ways. On the positive side, work is the main means of income for consumption and savings, serves an anchoring function in society, and can be a source of dignity, social connectedness, and purpose. Negative consequences of working longer may include increased morbidity and mortality from injuries, longer recovery times, burnout, job lock (needing to stay employed to retain health insurance and benefits), age discrimination, job insecurity, periods of unwanted unemployment, and less non-work time (Schulte et al. 2018). — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) NIOSH Science blog

Consumer Genetic Testing Is Booming: But What are the Benefits and Harms to Individuals and Populations?

The first genetic tests directly available to consumers for health were offered in 1996. The concept, then, was both audacious and bold: the idea that individuals could explore their own human genome without the aid of a health care provider to order the test or interpret the results.

Some consumer advocates praised the development as empowering, while many medical and public health experts advised caution, given the lack of evidence that results were clinically useful and that the risk for potential harms was unknown. Meanwhile, the direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic health test industry grew relatively slowly during the first two decades of its existence. During that time, personal genomics for any purpose was often perceived as a mere curiosity purchased by only a few wealthy individuals. — From the CDC’s Genomics and Health Impact blog

From Other Blogs: Falls in construction, Public Health Preparedness and Response National Snapshot, communities near forests & more

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

5th Annual National Stand Down to Prevent Falls in Construction

Falls remain the leading cause of death in construction. In 2016, there were 370 fall fatalities out of 991 total fatalities in construction. There were more fatal injuries in construction than any other industry in the United States in 2015, accounting for 20% of the nation’s 4,836 work-related deaths that year. — From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) NIOSH Science blog

Moving the Dial on Preparedness: CDC’s 2018 National Snapshot

Every year, CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response publishessnapshot_thumb_index_2018 the Public Health Preparedness and Response National Snapshot, an annual report that highlights the work of CDC and our partners. No matter the type, size, or cause of a public health emergency, we must work together to respond to the best of our ability. — From the CDC’s Public Health Matters blog

Where Your Front Door Meets the Forest

More and more communities are now near or within forests. In fact the area where unoccupied land and human development meet has a name and it’s called the Wildland Urban Interface, or WUI.

The WUI is the most challenging area of the forest for wildland firefighters to suppress fire. Here fire transitions from trees and brush to homes and vehicles. This transition creates increased risks and costs for all involved. — From the US Department of Agriculture blog

Have it Your Way: Exploring Data on the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

“Have it your way.” Remember that old marketing promise from a fast food chain? In this case, rather than a hamburger, the phrase is in reference to the treasure trove of environmental and health data on CDC’s Environmental Public Health Tracking Network (Tracking Network).

There are currently 450 environment and health measures accessible in a variety of ways…which brings us back to having it your way.

As the Tracking Network has grown over the years, so has the recognition that users require a variety of ways to ask for and consume the information they are seeking from the Tracking Network.  In the same way that not everyone likes mayo and tomatoes on their hamburger, not everyone who is trying to learn about the environmental health of their community wants to access and use Tracking data in the same way. — From the CDC’s Your Health — Your Environment 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

ChampionsPhot6-Jackson

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.

ChampionsPhoto4

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.

ChampionsPhoto1
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: Carolina Springs Middle School Beautification Collaboration

by
Susanna Mayrides
Carolina Springs Middle School

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

One of the greatest motivations of caring for our planet is that future generations can enjoy nature, its cycles, and its biodiversity, among other things and environmental education is the greatest tool for this purpose, especially in times when climate change is jeopardizing the balance of the environment. Environmental education, in addition to generating awareness and solutions relevant to current environmental problems caused by human activities and the effects of the relationship between man and the environment, is a pedagogical mechanism that also infuses the interaction that exists within ecosystems.

At Carolina Springs Middle School, we continually search for ways to add authentic assessments to our students’ learning experiences, and we feel this is a perfect opportunity to develop in this area. We would like to make the garden a focal point of our Annual World Language Night, which we celebrate during the spring.  The vision is to have students make presentations to their parents in the target language that evening.

Some of the key lessons my students gained from the project include:

  • Engage STEM students and their parents in constructing a water-efficient handicap accessible raised vegetable garden.
  • Create a student-led collaboration between World Language Students, Special Education Students, and the students elected to the Student Government Association.
  • Teach students the importance of recycling and the prevention and reduction of air, water, and land pollution.
  • Teach the students the importance of a global conversation about land, water and air quality providing instruction in at least two target languages.
  • Teach the reproducible skills embedded in learning how to grow plants and herbs.

The best part of this project is that it involves parents of our students and gives them an opportunity to work alongside their children. On the other hand, the most challenging part of the project has been coordinating all the involved parties.

I think the project will have lasting impacts on the students. We can accomplish our short-term goals within the school year, and the long-term goals will encourage the students to work together even as they move up to our local high schools. They can instruct and help our students keep the garden during the summer and winter breaks so we can continue working on the project year after year without starting from zero every time.

My advice for a teacher or class wanting to start their own environmental education project would be to share, share, share! The main characteristic of this project is to transfer knowledge and techniques to the participants, so that they can apply them in the future without having to look for the teacher regularly. We want the teacher to become the facilitator and the student to take charge of the project. Teaching/Training is not a single direction, but a process of mutual learning and feedback, because nobody knows everything, but we all know something, and together we know a lot. It is important that we as facilitators have an open and tolerant attitude and that we are aware of the context in which we move.

New Funding To Support Ongoing Cleanup of SC Brownfields

Pictured above: Former Bell Buoy Seafood Plant is now Bay Creek Park in the Town of Edisto Beach. 

By Bryony Wardell

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the award of $300,000 in supplemental funding to the South Carolina Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) to help transform communities in South Carolina by cleaning up contaminated Brownfields properties.  A Brownfield is a property on which expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence, or perceived presence, of contamination.

“These funds – granted to communities who have already achieved success in their work to clean up and redevelop Brownfields – will help boost local economies, create local jobs and protect people from harmful pollution by expediting Brownfield projects,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “The RLF supplemental recipients are some of the nation’s top performers. The RLF funding announced today will help sustain that incredible progress.”

The purpose of the RLF is to provide financial incentives in the form of below-market interest rates and limited debt forgiveness to help local governments, non-profits, and businesses undertake the cleanup of contamination from Brownfields across the state.

Kitson Mill Before July 2011

Before: Kitson Mill Brownfield site in 2011, one of the beneficiaries of South Carolina’s RLF program.

Kitson Mill After Feb 2013

After: Kitson Mill in February 2013 after the property was recovered and ready for redevelopment.

Through these grants, EPA seeks to strengthen the marketplace and encourage stakeholders to leverage the resources needed to clean up and redevelop Brownfields.  When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.

“South Carolina Brownfield RLF is one of the most successful RLF financing programs in the Southeast, providing remediation for 11 Brownfield properties across the state so far,” said DHEC Bureau of Land and Waste Management Director Daphne Neel. “A reinvestment in South Carolina communities, the EPA’s support will go a long way towards helping us continue to reclaim and redevelop our state’s existing Brownfields.”

South Carolina’s Brownfield RLF program has loaned more than $7.5 million to date to enable the cleanup of sites such as large textile mills, landfills, scrap metal yards and contaminated industrial and commercial property.  On these sites, new uses are emerging such as medical clinics, recreational parks, and shovel-ready, large-scale commercial and industrial sites in highly desirable growth areas.

To learn more about the Brownfields RLF, please visit our website or contact Robert Hodges at (803) 898-0919 or hodgesrf@dhec.sc.gov.

Former Bush Recycling site before reclamation.

Before: Former Bush’s Recycling site before reclamation.

hope health bush recylcing after

After: The former Bush’s Recycling Brownfield is now the new site for HopeHealth in Florence, SC.

Brownfields presentation cover

Click here to see a presentation on SC Brownfields recovery success stories.