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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dec. 5, 2011

DHEC salutes pond project as Champion of the Environment

COLUMBIA, S.C. – West Ashley High School in Charleston has been recognized as a Champion of the Environment for its “Water Wildcats Preserve Pond Using STEM” project, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control announced today.

“Students will work to improve the ecology of the school’s pond and surrounding wetlands by installing a floating wetland and underwater reef,” said Amanda Ley, DHEC’s coordinator for Champions of the Environment.

Ley said students will work in teams on different aspects of the project including publicity, design, and project management. “They will attach native plants to floating island pallets in the pond to decrease pollutants and increase biodiversity,” she said. “Water quality will be tested throughout the project. Also, a biodiversity survey will be conducted before the project is begun and upon completion. Information gathered regarding the pond’s plants and wildlife will be posted on kiosks around the pond.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Clemson University Agricultural Extension Service, South Carolina Aquarium, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and master gardeners will partner with students on the project.

As a Champion of the Environment, West Ashley High School will receive a grant to implement the project. The school will also be featured on the Champions’ website and a commercial will be made about the project 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, International Paper, Sonoco Recycling, Inc., WCSC-TV, and WIS-TV with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. More about the Champions of the Environment can be found at http://www.scdhec.gov/champions.

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For more information:
Amanda Ley – (803) 898-4183
Email – champs@dhec.sc.gov