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DHEC Awards ‘Champions of the Environment’ Grants to 10 South Carolina Schools

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Ten South Carolina schools are recipients of grants that will support efforts to educate the next generation of environmental stewards, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) announced today. 

“The Champions of the Environment program represents an excellent opportunity for schools to inspire environmental stewardship in the youth of our state,” said Dr. Mike Marcus, Chief of DHEC’s Bureau of Water.

Champions of the Environment grants are issued each school year to foster environmental education and action in South Carolina’s classrooms, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Students, teachers and environmental educators apply for grant funding by outlining their educational project that focuses on pollution or waste reduction, water or energy efficiency, or preservation of natural areas. The grant program is sponsored by DHEC, Dominion Energy, and International Paper, with assistance from the Environmental Education Association of South Carolina.

“Thanks to additional partner funding this year, we’re excited to increase the number of awards presented, as well as the award amount,” said Amanda Ley, DHEC’s coordinator for the Champions of the Environment program. 

This year, each grant winner will receive $2,500. The 2019 Champions of the Environment Grant winners are:

  • Bluffton High School in Beaufort County; an existing garden will be enhanced by adding a drip irrigation system and composting program
  • Blythewood High School in Richland County; students will learn real-world laboratory skills while creating biodiesel from recycled cooking oil
  • James B. Edwards Elementary School/Mount Pleasant Academy in Charleston County; students will restore a salt marsh habitat and contribute relevant data to an international database for global analysis of climate change
  • Windsor Elementary School in Richland County; a low-maintenance watering system will be integrated into the school’s garden to ensure year-long hydration
  • Henry L. Sneed Middle School in Florence County; students will establish a habitat for wildlife displaced from nearby development and provide a year-round food source for native pollinators
  • Polo Road Elementary School in Richland County; Camp Discovery staff will lead the Outdoor Learning Club in the study of soil conservation and the importance of relationships in habitats
  • Walhalla High School in Oconee County; the Green Steps class will expand two existing gardens by increasing the number of flowering plants and establishing an irrigation system
  • North Myrtle Beach Middle School in Horry County; students will demonstrate water and energy efficiency by creating a vertical garden using recycled bottles as flower pots and rain barrels to capture rain water
  • Emerald High School in Greenwood County; students will establish a vegetable garden, include a pollinator element to attract local bee populations, and install a school bee hive
  • Dent Middle School in Richland County; magnet program students will learn how to collect outdoor air quality data and identify factors that influence air quality

For more information, including a list of previous years’ recipients, visit