The Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (RSWCD), which aims to promote the wise use of soil, water and other resources, has awarded three Conservation Education Mini-Grants to support environmental projects at local schools.
Projects, participating schools and their respective grant awards for the spring semester are:
- School Gardens, Pendergrass Fairwold School ($1,000)
Students will plant and maintain a variety of herbs and vegetables in the school’s greenhouse while learning about the needs of plants, practicing their vocabulary and communication skills, and developing hands-on skills for future employment. Project lead: Elizabeth Dawn Henson, teacher
- Conservation Newsletter and Vermicomposting Project, Dreher High School ($500)
Dreher High student Sophia Austermiller will partner with University of South Carolina student mentor Hannah Walton to create a monthly conservation newsletter for Dreher’s student body. Students will also launch a project that uses earthworms to turn food scraps into a rich soil amendment. The Dreher Recycling Club and Take Action SC Student Ambassadors for Sustainability program are sponsoring the project. Project lead: Austermiller
- Carnivorous Plant Bog Garden, Cutler Jewish Day School ($500)
To learn more about the state’s ecosystems and biodiversity conservation, second- and third-grade students will create a bog garden featuring native carnivorous plants such as Venus’ flytrap, sundew and pitcher plants. Students will create lap books about the project and share their conservation research with other elementary classes during a school assembly. Project lead: Valerie Hoyt-Parrish, teacher
Students at Cutler Jewish Day School will learn about carnivorous plants and bog ecosystems, such as the one pictured in this bog garden, through a project funded by an RSWCD Conservation Education Mini-Grant.
“Students who learn about conservation through hands-on, project-based efforts such as these are much more likely to become environmentally conscious adults who are good stewards of natural resources,” said Chanda Cooper, conservation education analyst for the RSWCD.
“These projects also support students’ academic success as well as their physical, emotional and social development. It’s a win-win-win for students, teachers and the planet,” Cooper said.
Richland County offers Conservation Education Mini-Grants to K-12 educational institutions twice each school year. The next application deadline is in October. For more information and application details, visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd or email Cooper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sophia Austermiller, a student at Dreher High School, is helping to create a monthly conservation newsletter for the Dreher student body. As part of the project, which is funded by an RSWCD Conservation Education Mini-Grant, students will also use earthworms to turn food scraps into a rich soil amendment.
Conservation districts are political subdivisions of state government under the local direction of five-member Boards of Commissioners. In South Carolina, conservation district boundaries conform to County boundaries. The Richland Soil and Water Conservation District promotes the wise use and care of natural resources for long-term sustainability.