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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 23, 2010

Two Beaufort County schools receive ‘Champions of the Environment’ grants

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Bluffton High School and H.E. McCracken Middle School have each won a $2,000 grant from Champions of the Environment, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“The ‘Be an Eco-Hero’ project at Bluffton High School involves students who participated in the Student Training Empowerment Program (S.T.E.P),” said Amy Bennett, Champions of the Environment coordinator. “They’re working to reduce waste by converting gently used t-shirts into reusable shopping bags that will be made available to the community.”

Bennett said the middle and high school students teach elementary students about waste reduction and assist them in making reusable shopping bags.

“The ‘Protect OUR Watershed - Be River Smart’ project features students at H.E. McCracken Middle School working to improve water quality in the Port Royal Sound/May River Watershed through many field, outdoor and hands-on experiences,” Bennett said. “The students are learning their role in the watershed, how their actions at the home affect the river and what they can do to protect the water quality of the river systems.”

According to Bennett, students plan to participate in the watershed’s water quality monitoring by sampling for phytoplankton, which are tiny organisms that indicate water quality.

As a Champion of the Environment, each school will receive a $2,000 cash grant. The schools will also receive Champions give-away items, be featured on the Champions’ Web site and commercials will be made about the projects and aired on WIS-TV in Columbia and WCSC-TV in Charleston.

Champions of the Environment supports environmental action in South Carolina’s kindergarten through 12th grade students through its grant award program. Champions is sponsored by DHEC, Eastman Chemical Company, International Paper, WCSC-TV, and WIS-TV with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. Applications for Champions’ next round of grants are due Sept. 15.

For more information, visit the Champions Web site at: http://www.scdhec.gov/champions, or call Bennett at (803) 898-4249.

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For more information:
Amy Bennett - (803) 898-4249
E-mail - bennetam@dhec.sc.gov
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