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Action for a cleaner tomorrow
Outstanding School Environmental Club Outstanding School Recycling Program Recycling Teacher of the Year Action Interactive Media Education Programs

Take Action Today Awards

The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling (Office) is pleased to announce a call for nominations for the fifth annual Take Action Today Awards Program. 

The Office will recognize an Outstanding School Recycling Program, an Outstanding School Composting Program as well as an Outstanding Recycling Teacher of the Year.  The 2013-14 award recipients will be recognized at a summer teacher workshop.

To enter, please e-mail a completed application (provided here) along with two pictures and any supporting documentation to Additional entry guidelines can be found in the application.

All nominations must be received by 5 p.m. on May 16, 2014.  If you have questions about the application or the summer workshops, please call 1-800-768-7348.

Take Action Today Award Winners

The following schools were recognized for their outstanding recycling efforts during the 2012-2013 school year.


Outstanding School Environmental Club Award

The Outstanding School Environmental Club Award was presented to Round Top Elementary School. The club, which is in its second year, consists of fifteen students between first and third grade and is funded by a grant from the Richland County Conservation Commission (RCCC). Club members meet once a week after school to learn about nature, birds, gardens, science and teamwork. The club is designed to coordinate with the second- and third-grade science standards so that science skills and knowledge taught in the classroom are reinforced through club activities.

During the 2012-2013 school year, the club took a field trip to City Roots Urban Farm to learn how to garden and compost. They built a worm composting bin, prepared and planted a Carolina Fence Garden and developed an appreciation for wildlife by meeting two bearded dragons, a corn snake, hissing cockroaches, ducks, chickens and a horse. The club also is learning about horticulture and plans to learn how to hybridize and cross breed a daylily of their own by visiting a daylily farm.

Students have learned about science by meeting professionals from various environmental fields and completing projects such as building a mini-greenhouse, planting a garden, making bird houses, setting up a critter camera, learning how to care for reptiles and even learning how to ride a horse. Speakers from the U.S. Geological Survey, the University of South Carolina, RCCC, DHEC, Clemson Extension, Catawba Trail Elementary School, the Midlands Beekeepers and several others have all offered time and expertise to help the students become environmental stewards.

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School Environmental Club of the Year

Holly Threatt and Sandy Cromer from Round Top Elementary School accept the award for Outstanding
School Environmental

Outstanding School Recycling Program Award

The Outstanding School Recycling Program Award was presented to Oakview Elementary School in Greenville County. More than 1,150 students and 120 parents, teachers, administrators and cafeteria workers support this school’s recycling programs. Working together, the school recycles about 90 percent of their paper and organic waste. The school recycles more than 14 tons of paper each year for a total of more than 238 tons of paper over the past 19 years. As of January 22, 2013, Oakview recycled almost 2,000 pounds of aluminum cans for the school year, valued at $1241. Proceeds are donated to the S.C. Firefighters to fund fire educational programs and to support Camp Can Do -- a camp for burn victims. Students work with cafeteria staff to save all fruit and vegetable waste for compost that is used to enrich the soil in the butterfly garden. They give cardboard boxes, bubble wrap and packing peanuts to a mother who reuses them for her business and recycled more than 2,100 six-pack rings this school year through the Ring Leader Program. The school also recycles cell phones, ink cartridges, plastic bottles and batteries for recycling.

In addition to their year-round recycling efforts, Oakview celebrates America Recycles Week each November by making signs, performing skits and challenging students to recycle something every day of the week. During this week, the school has collected tennis shoes for Soles for Souls and Nike’s Reuse-A-Shoe Program and glue sticks through TerraCycle. Through their glue stick recycling program, Oakview donated over $118 to the World Wildlife Fund and adopted 8,490 square feet of protected land. In 2010, the school started recycling juice pouches and uses the money to purchase compost bins and buckets and to send teachers to environmental conferences and workshops.

Oakview reduces waste through their “Ban Styrofoam from Their School” Program. The school installed hydration stations to enable students to reuse plastic cups for water in the cafeteria, reducing the use of plastic bottles. Oakview begins each year by teaching students the importance of recycling. The Earth Savers club members reinforce this through skits and announcements on the morning news program. "Whooo recycles? We do!" That’s the motto of the wise Oakview Owls.

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School Recycling Program Award

Kathy Miller from
Elementary School

accepts the award for Outstanding School Recycling Program.

Recycling Teacher of the Year

The Recycling Teacher of the Year Award was presented to Barbara Wagner from Wren Elementary School in Anderson County. She has devoted nine years to the recycle club at her school through which fourth- and fifth-grade students meet monthly to collect the school's mixed paper, cardboard and newspaper to recycle. To extend that sense of responsibility outside of school and home, Wagner invites guest speakers from companies in the community to discuss recycling their efforts.

The recycle club members create commercials for recycling that are aired on the morning news show and create recycled crafts and cards for the Shriners’ Children’s Hospital. Wagner has taught the students the value of reusing by showing students how to create jewelry from recycled materials that are then sold in the school store. Student-created recycle posters hang in the hallway of the school reminding everyone to recycle and save the earth.

Wagner has been instrumental in writing Keep America Beautiful and other grants to make sure each teacher at the school has recycle bins in their classrooms. She also encouraged a colleague to write a Carolina Fence Garden grant, which the school received. Through the grant, the garden now has native plants and flowers, wren birdhouses, new trash cans and “Please Do Not Litter” signs. Wagner was a leader in establishing the school as a Green Step School, winning awards for the past two years.

Wagner also led a B2 Breathe Better campaign in which students created postcards for drivers and buses in the car lines to cut down on idling emissions. Decreased idling has reduced emissions by 80 percent due to this effort.

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School Recycling Program Award

Barbara Wagher from
Wren Elementary School
was named the
Outstanding Recycling Teacher of the Year
for 2013.



This Web page was last updated on August 30, 2013.