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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Feb. 8, 2016

DHEC Awards Eight South Carolina Schools as Champions of the Environment

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

From building bird sanctuaries to restoring salt marsh habitats, the 2015- 2016 Champions of the Environment grant program winners will use their prizes to make a difference in the lives of students and the community.

"We had more than 50 entries this year, and some really creative projects were awarded," said Amanda Ley, DHEC's coordinator for the Champions of the Environment program. "By increasing opportunities for students to get hands-on environmental education, the Champions program is helping students and teachers make a lasting impact."

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

  • The Palmetto School, York County -Two rain gardens will be installed on campus to capture stormwater runoff from paved and hard surfaces, absorbing and filtering pollutants.
  • Deerfield Elementary School, Lexington County - "Planet Heroes: Environmental Club" students will work to create a culture of recycling throughout the school with a focus on community collaboration to educate others about the importance of recycling.
  • Bookman Road Elementary School, Richland County - Students will create bird sanctuaries in the school's nature trail to learn about the importance of ecosystems and how to be responsible stewards of the environment.
  • A. C. Moore Elementary School, Richland County - In light of the recent flooding, students will learn about the Rocky Branch Watershed and how actions like littering can impact water resources.
  • Cape Romain Environmental Education Charter School, Charleston County - The entire student body will restore a salt marsh habitat recently degraded by construction. Students will grow and plant native marsh plants and help restore oyster habitats.
  • Chesnee High School, Spartanburg County - Students will work to decrease  plastic water bottle use on campus and in the community, by promoting sustainable living choices such as using reusable water bottles.
  • Dutch Fork Elementary School, Lexington County - The school will work with partners to install a new observation beehive so students can experience first-hand the life cycle and benefits of honey bees and the importance of pollinator species.
  • North Myrtle Beach Middle School, Horry County - To reduce waste and teach all students about the importance of recycling, recycling bins will be added throughout the school and new environmental education programs will be offered.

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. For more information, visit www.scdhec.gov/champions.

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Robert Yanity
Public Information Director
yanityrm@dhec.sc.gov
803.898.1617