2012-2013 Champions of the Environment
Ocean Bay Middle School, Myrtle Beach
From Seeds to Shoreline: Engaging Students in Salt Marsh Restoration
Ocean Bay Middle School’s seventh grade science classes will study the characteristics and life cycle of Spartina alterniflora (Saltmarsh Cordgrass) and learn how organisms are interdependent upon the salt marsh. The students will grow the Spartina plants from harvested seeds in a greenhouse and then transplant them into salt water marshes in Oyster Bay at Huntington Beach State Park. Staff and students from the Marine and Wetland Studies Department at Coastal Carolina College will work with the 7th graders to place oyster reefs (constructed by 5th graders) on the water’s edge of low tide and then plant the seedlings behind the oyster reefs.
Students will also participate in a Marsh Sweep and raise awareness about the need to protect and preserve salt marshes for the ecological and economical benefits they provide to coastal communities. Ocean Bay Middle School will replicate this project for many years to ensure sustainability.
Bookman Road Elementary School, Columbia
Fifth graders at Bookman Road Elementary School will compost cafeteria food waste and use the compost to enrich the soil in the school’s flower and vegetable beds. The students will record the weight of food waste collected from lunch each day. Three different types of compost bins will be used, including a turning unit, a static unit and a worm compost bin, so that the students can also compare different methods of composting. By recycling food waste into compost, the need to buy outside compost and mulch will be reduced.
Chanda Cooper, Education Program Coordinator with the Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District, will serve as a Compost Mentor on the project. Bookman Road Elementary School hopes their Compost project will help make South Carolina a little “greener”.
The Barclay School, Columbia
The Barclay School Community Garden with Sustainable Earthen Classroom
Special needs students at The Barclay School will utilize “green”/sustainable building techniques to plant and maintain a garden that will include animals, raised beds for planting, and compost. Artesian builders from Kleiworks Natural Alternative Building will teach the students how to build an outdoor classroom from recycled, reused materials, and sand, clay and straw. The classroom will also include a living roof and rain barrel water system. In addition to helping with almost all phases of the classroom construction, the students will “meet and greet,” provide tours, and answer questions from visitors and parents about the school and the project.
This project will provide special needs students at The Barclay School with real life experiences and an understanding of “green” gardening and building practices.
Beaufort-Jasper Academy for Career Excellence (ACE), Ridgeland
ACE Alternative Energy
The Beaufort-Jasper ACE Alternative Energy project will teach students about the long-term environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy sources. Students in the Electricity class will construct two functioning solar panels. Building Construction students will help build a housing frame for the solar panels using wood and plastic. After the panels are assembled, the students will test for voltages and current produced. Students will pass along what they have learned by giving a demonstration of the completed solar panel energy functions.
Beaufort-Jasper ACE plans to expand on this model with students in future classes. Lighting, a circulating water pump and a fan could be added to demonstrate wider use of the energy system. The school’s greenhouse could be heated with solar heated water during cold weather. This knowledge will prepare these students for seeking solutions to their personal and professional energy efficiency decisions.
Eleanor S. Rice Elementary School, Greenwood
The Eleanor S. Rice Elementary Meadow Garden Expansion
Fourth and fifth grade students at Eleanor S. Rice Elementary School will learn how to prevent environmental problems caused by storm water runoff, while also learning about ecological communities and food webs. The meadow garden will be expanded using Filtrexx erosion control “socks” filled with Milkweed and mulching material to prevent erosion caused by storm water runoff from the school’s parking lots. The Milkweed will provide habitat for Monarch butterflies while students study the butterflies’ migratory range and conservation status. A bluebird house will also be installed, equipped with a wireless camera, to allow the students to observe nesting bluebirds and their life cycle.
Students and visitors to Eleanor S. Rice Elementary School will get to tour the garden and receive a visual lesson on erosion control, soil preservation, and watershed stewardship. Greenwood Master Gardeners, Lander University, and Davis and Floyd will be assisting on the project, so the community will be involved as well.
A J Whittenberg Elementary School, Greenville
Recycled Bottle Greenhouse and Rain Water Collection Station
Students and adult volunteers at A J Whittenberg Elementary School will construct a greenhouse using recycled two-liter plastic bottles. The roof will be constructed so that rainwater is filtered into a series of rain barrels, reducing storm water runoff and nonpoint source pollution, and encouraging water conservation. The water collected in the rain barrels will be used to irrigate plants in the garden and seedlings grown in the greenhouse. The greenhouse will be an outdoor classroom where students in multiple grades can study plant life cycles, analyze water quality, and learn first hand about waste reduction and reuse.
The City of Greenville is partnering with A J Whittenberg through the Connections for Sustainability Project. The Livability Educator, Jaclin DuRant, will work with the students to create outreach materials about the project that will be available online and signage that will be located next to the greenhouse.
Loris Middle School, Loris
“Growing in Education”
Students and parent volunteers at Loris Middle School will construct a hydroponics greenhouse to learn about the benefits of growing plants in nutrient solutions in water instead of soil. Students will discover how a hydroponics system can reduce soil-born diseases and produce fruits and vegetables faster, better, and in higher yield. The system will be maintained throughout the school year by the science club and summertime maintenance will be shared by various community groups such as garden clubs and Boy and Girl Scouts of America.
The hydroponics greenhouse at Loris Middle School will teach students and community members a quick way to grow healthy plants, in abundance, for family consumption.
Gateway Elementary School, Travelers Rest
Bunched Arrowhead Restoration
Gateway Elementary School will restore and maintain the habitat of the bunched arrowhead, a wetland-dependent plant which is currently endangered by storm water runoff issues on the school’s property. The storm water runoff will be channeled instead to a rain garden constructed with native plants. Students will also learn what plants and planting mediums work best to infiltrate storm water. A project workbook and informational kiosk will educate students and the community about the importance of protecting this federally listed endangered plant and its habitat.
The South Carolina Native Plant Society and Furman University will be working closely with Gateway Elementary to preserve the bunched arrowhead and the natural area that surrounds it at the school.