2013-2014 Champions of the Environment
Pickens County Career & Technology Center, Pickens County
The Prairie Project: Restoring and Preserving a Piedmont Prairie Ecosystem
The Pickens County Career & Technology Center (CTC) was named the top 2013-2014 Champion of the Environment for their Prairie Project. Students will learn about the environmental benefits of a piedmont prairie ecosystem by restoring and preserving a fully functioning prairie site located on CTC property. The site will serve as an outdoor learning lab with a historical and cultural “Prairie Trail” for students and the community to visit and learn about this unique ecosystem. Students will get to see and study first- hand the diversity of plants and animals within this early successional habitat.
The Pickens County Beautification Committee will partner with organizations such as the Native Plant Society and Clemson Extension to provide guidance on the project.
Strom Thurmond Career & Technology Center, Edgefield County
French Fries to Football
The Strom Thurmond Career & Technology Center ranked among this year’s highest scoring Champions of the Environment projects for their French Fries to Football project. The Pre-engineering Program and the Agribusiness program at the Strom Thurmond Career and Technology Center will team together to produce bio-diesel using oil from the high school cafeteria. The bio-diesel will be used to fuel the district’s activity bus and the lawn mowers that cut grass on the high school campus athletic fields.
Edgefield County football fans can claim bragging rights for years over this innovative project. The announcer will tell fans at local football games that fuel to cut grass was produced by students using oil from the cafeteria. The bio-diesel conversion system will also make the rounds at local festivals and other schools to promote the project.
Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Richland County
S.E.ED Team Projects
Heathwood Hall Episcopal School also ranked among this year’s highest scoring Champions of the Environment projects. Student members of the School Environmental Education (S.E.ED) Team will learn about energy, food waste composting and meteorology by carrying out three projects. Project I will test the efficacy of a passive solar wall heating system for use in a classroom or home at reduced energy costs. Project II will implement a composting program using an EarthTub, a commercial in-vessel food waste composting system, to produce high quality compost for the school’s garden and landscaping projects. Project III will enhance the current Heathwood WeatherBug System through the purchase of two LCD monitors to display real-time weather data and implement the WeatherBug Achieve curriculum. Heathwood’s WeatherBug System is part of an 8,000 site network of weather stations world-wide.
Staff from the Conservation Voters of SC will publish and distribute the passive solar science curriculum developed during this project to schools throughout SC.
Adam Enggasser with Greenville Senior High Academy, Greenville County
Citizen Science Adopt-a-Stream Initiative
Under the leadership of Adam Enggasser, a student at Greenville Senior High Academy, a core group of students and a teacher will implement a water quality monitoring program following procedures from Georgia’s Adopt-a-Stream program (GA AAS). Participants will be trained to become certified with GA AAS in test methods and the monitoring site(s) will be registered in the GA AAS database tool. Monitoring data will be shared through the GA AAS database to promote awareness, provide an assessment of current conditions, and help detect changes.
In addition to establishing an annual monitoring program, the goal is to also incorporate water monitoring into other school topics to promote environmental awareness. Environmental law, data interpretation and environmental engineering are just a few examples of real-world education opportunities provided by this project.
Jane Edwards Elementary School, Charleston County
Butterflies by the Beach
Students at Jane Edwards Elementary School will plan and design a butterfly garden using native plants and herbs. The goal is to establish a Monarch Way Station to protect and promote the lifecycle of the butterfly and enhance student awareness of air pollution issues. Jane Edwards Elementary School has partnered with Brookwood School in Manchester, Massachusetts allowing South Carolina students an opportunity to Skype weekly with another school on the Monarch migratory path and share developments and information.
Community partners such as local businesses, contractors and volunteers will assist the students in the construction and installation of the butterfly garden. Additional support will be provided by a grant from Lowe’s Toolbox for Education, a WholeKids grant from Whole Foods and the Muhammad Ali Peace Garden grant.
West Ashley High School, Charleston County
Just Add Fish
West Ashley High School students will install an aquaponics food production system for their project. Just as this system relies on a symbiotic relationship between plants and animals, so will many different groups of students work together to learn about its benefits. Engineering students will plan, design and build the system. Marine Biology students will care for the freshwater fishes and Culinary Arts students will harvest the vegetables and herbs grown in the system for the school’s food pantry for homeless and dire need students. Special needs students will be included in all parts of the planning, design and implementation of the project, and will care for the garden and the fish.
This project will be used in conjunction with a vermiculture project and to enhance an existing raised garden. A master gardener and an aquaponics gardener will also be invited to be guest speakers in the Marine Biology and Engineering classes.
The Center for Advanced Technical Studies, Lexington/Richland Counties
Sustainable Roofing Materials Project
Students from the Clean Energy Technology Program and the Building and Construction Program at The Center for Advanced Technical Studies will collaborate on this project to study a locally viable clean energy technology. They will learn how modifications to building materials can reduce urban air temperature and offset carbon dioxide emissions.
Students will construct several different scale-model building structures using different roofing color, materials and insulation, then collect comparative energy efficiency data for analysis. The students will present their findings and demonstrate the project to tour groups, and will also promote this clean energy technology at other schools and local venues.
Sandlapper Elementary School, Richland County
Recycling at Sandlapper
Students at Sandlapper Elementary School will be expanding their recycling program this year to include Lunchables, ink cartridges, cell phones, small electronics, writing utensils and tape dispensers. Students will develop an action plan, organize the collection of recyclable items, build business partners throughout the community to help recycle the various materials and get the items distributed to the business partners. Events such as a “Recycled Art Gala” and “Recycling Extravaganza” will be held to promote the program.
Teachers will utilize activities from Action for a Greener Tomorrow, Palmetto Pride, and the South Carolina Department of Education K-12 Litter Curriculum to help support these recycled focused projects.