S.C.'s Champions Of The Environment

DHEC makes announcement of winners

Patrick Gentry
December 15, 2018 - 6:30 am

Eight schools won grants to support efforts to educate the next generation of environmental stewards, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today.

"Champions of the Environment grant winners will restore and protect coastal habitats, grow organic, sustainable gardens that attract pollinators, and reuse discarded items to reduce waste," said Amanda Ley, DHEC's coordinator for the Champions of the Environment program. "Environmental education programs like Champions of the Environment provide opportunities for students to become engaged in real environmental issues that go far beyond the classroom and hopefully make a lasting impact."

Established in 1993, Champions of the Environment has been empowering youth environmental action for 25 years. "Some of our first Champions are now in their 30s and 40s and maybe have families of their own," said Ley.  It's our hope they have continued to embrace a culture of environmental stewardship and along the way pass that culture on to others."

This year's Champions of the Environment grant winners are:

Washington Center, Greenville County - Washington Center students will educate the community about sustainability by using discarded items to create artwork, conserving water by installing rain barrels, and making bird feeders from gourds and okra.

Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School, Charleston County - This student-led project will engage the community to eliminate marine debris in the coastal fishing town of McClellanville through trash sweeps, community education and recycling programs.

Burke High School, Charleston County - Students will partner with the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources to restore local oyster reef habitats by planting cordgrass and installing oyster castles along Charleston's shorelines.

Cainhoy Elementary School, Berkeley County - This school-wide project will provide habitat for insects and birds, raise awareness about the environmental benefits of organic gardening and teach students about the impact of pesticides on the environment.

Jane Edwards Elementary School, Charleston County - Students will compare the environmental benefits of hydroponic gardens to the school's existing traditional in-ground gardens.

Orchard Park Elementary School, Oconee County - This school will establish a pollinator garden to support an observation bee hive on campus and students will plant native trees, shrubs, and perennials.

James Island Charter High School, Charleston County - Earth Science students will restore a salt marsh ecosystem with Spartina alterniflora plants and artificial oyster reefs.

Meadow Glen Elementary School, Lexington County - Students will learn about planting depth, spacing, soil quality, and water conservation as they plant, maintain, and harvest two in-ground gardens.


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

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