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December 2, 2016

DHEC Awards Eight South Carolina Schools as Champions of the Environment

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Eight schools won grants to support innovative efforts to educate the next generation of environmental stewards, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today.

"From studying alternative energy to managing stormwater runoff, the 2016-2017 Champions of the Environment grant program winners will cultivate a culture of environmental stewardship," said Amanda Ley, DHEC's coordinator for the Champions of the Environment program. "By increasing opportunities for students to get hands-on environmental education, the Champions program is helping students and teachers make a lasting impact."

This year's Champions of the Environment grant winners are:

  • Dent Middle School, Richland County-The Gills Creek Watershed Student Organization will partner with local environmental organizations to construct a rain garden on campus designed to mitigate stormwater running off to Carys Lake.
  • Windwood Farm School, Charleston County-Usinga technology toolkit, students will study live biological data servers to research how the ecological health of honey bees is affected by environmental conditions.
  • Richland Two Institute of Innovation, Richland County-Studentswill learn about alternative energy by using a Read and Ride bicycle to generate power for small wattage applications while promoting healthy lifestyles.
  • Leaphart Elementary School, Lexington/Richland Counties-A small off-grid solar panel energy system will power the school's greenhouse and teach students about alternative energy and renewable resources.
  • Carolina Springs Middle School, Lexington County-Studentsstudying world languages will learn about gardening and environmental concerns in their target language by constructing and maintaining a water-efficient, handicap accessible raised vegetable garden.
  • Sneed Middle School, Florence County-The Environmental Action Club will use compost made from cafeteria food waste and vermicomposting to enrich the soil of two pollinator gardens on campus.
  • Northwest Middle School, Greenville County-The Panthers Eco Club will help improve the school's recycling program while special education and science classes install bird houses and research native bird species.
  • Newberry Academy, Newberry County-Newberry Academy will work with community partners to revamp the school's recycling program and restore the natural environment on campus.

Champions of the Environment provides resources and support to foster environmental education and action in South Carolina's kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms. The program is sponsored by DHEC, International Paper and SCE&G, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina. For more information, visit


DHEC Media Relations