Mini-Grants for Conservation Education
Faculty and staff members of public, private, and alternative schools in Richland County are eligible to apply for grants in amounts up to $1,000 to support campus conservation projects and youth environmental education initiatives through the Conservation Education Mini-Grant Program. Two award cycles are available: applications received by September 30, 2020 will be considered for fall 2020 funding; applications received by February 1, 2021 will be considered for spring 2021 funding. Project work and the expenditure of funds must be completed by June 15, 2021. Click here for details.
Each fall, the Richland SWCD celebrates SC's Arbor Day on the first Friday in December with a tree planting and special program at one local school. SC will observe Arbor Day on Friday, December 4, 2020.
Conservation Education Awards
Each school year, the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) recognizes one Richland County educator who has exhibited an outstanding commitment to conservation and environmental education. The winning educator receives a $100 cash prize, a $500 school mini-grant to support campus conservation efforts, is recognized at the Richland SWCD's annual banquet, and is invited to serve as an Associate Commissioner of Richland SWCD. Submit nominations for the 2020-2021 Conservation Teacher of the Year by April 30, 2021. Read more...
Conservation Poster Contest
The National Conservation Poster Contest, sponsored annually by the National Association of Conservation Districts, raises awareness about conservation issues through youth outreach. The Contest is open to public, private, and home-schooled students in grades K through 12. The 2021 theme is "Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities," and Richland County entries are due by April 30, 2021. Click here for details.
Each May, teams of SC high school students gather at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center in northeast Columbia to compete for scholarships and the opportunity to represent the Palmetto State at the North American Envirothon competition. Envirothon teams are tested on their knowledge of five areas of environmental science (wildlife, forestry, soil science, aquatics, and a current topic) and their performance on an oral presentation. Teams consist of 3-5 students plus an alternate (optional) in grades 9-12. Each team must have the support of a team coach. Richland County teams and coaches may receive support from, and apply for team sponsorship through, the Richland SWCD. If you are a Richland County teacher or student who is interested in participating, please contact Chanda Cooper at email@example.com for information on sponsorship and support. Visit South Carolina Envirothon for full competition details!
Class and Youth Group Presentations
The Richland SWCD offers a limited number of class presentations for Richland County preK-12 students on a number of conservation topics. For details on available programs and guidelines, click here. **Due to COVID-19, in-person youth presentations are not currently available.**
To provide feedback on a program Richland SWCD has facilitated for your class or group, use this form.
Internal use only: to submit youth program data, click here.
For a list of other guest presenters who may be available to speak to school and community groups on conservation topics, and a list of conservation-themed field trip opportunities in Richland County, click here.
Borrow Educational Materials
Richland County educators may borrow educational materials, including a Soil Slake Kit, Rainfall Simulator, Adopt-A-Stream Kit, Vermicomposting Kit, and Enviroscape Model, for classroom use. Equipment may be borrowed for a one-week period, and the borrower is responsible for pick-up and return of items. Use the links provided for more information about each kit. To provide feedback on educational materials you have borrowed, use this form.
Environmental Educator Trainings
Project Learning Tree (PLT) and Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) are award-winning international environmental education curricula designed for teachers and informal educators who work with students from early childhood through high school. Richland SWCD facilitates PLT and Project WET educator trainings in Richland County; to request a training for a group of teachers or informal educators, contact Chanda Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit the SC PLT and SC Project WET websites for more information.
Green Steps Schools
Conservation District staff members mentor a variety of Green Steps Schools projects, including habitat restoration, water conservation, school gardens, and classroom composting operations at nearly a dozen schools in Richland County. Green Steps Schools is a statewide recognition program that provides awards and support to schools in South Carolina who take annual, sustainable steps toward environmental responsibility. Visit the SC Green Steps Schools website for more information and to learn how your school can become a Green Steps School!
Lesson Plan: Natural Resource Ramble
This lesson plan will provide an opportunity for students to explore examples of natural resources in their daily lives. The lesson is correlated with SC Science Standards in grades one, three, and eight.
Richland County Farm Field Trips Brochure
Named for the “rich land” that has supported a vibrant agricultural economy since colonial days, Richland County still boasts a strong farming community. Farm field experiences can be used to introduce students to important concepts in science, social studies, and health. This brochure provides a listing of local school field trip opportunities.
SCACD Youth Education Brochure
The SC Association of Conservation Districts (SCACD) and the individual Conservation Districts of South Carolina support several statewide youth education programs. Learn more about them in this brochure!