2022 - 2023 Champions of the Environment

$2,500 Winners

Ashley Hall School, Charleston County
Sweetgrass Restoration Project

Honors Biology II students will work with environmental infrastructure growers and the Gullah Geechee community to establish a sustainable stand of native Sweetgrass on Ashley Hall’s athletic campus. Students will learn how Sweetgrass provides wildlife habitat, how an established stand can address stormwater runoff, the threats to sweetgrass communities, and the cultural importance of Sweetgrass to African American basket weavers.

Beechwood Middle School, Lexington County
Pollinator Garden and Nature Trail Project

Beechwood Middle School WACH News Story

The Project Citizen Club and seventh grade science classes will establish a pollinator garden and nature trail. The garden will support their participation in the Great Pollinator Census through the University of Georgia and the nature trail will provide opportunities to learn about biodiversity.

Coastal Montessori Charter School, Georgetown County
Longleaf Pine Habitat Improvement Project

Students will work with community partners to develop an outdoor educational space adjacent to the school that will include the restoration and management of a long leaf pine habitat. A nature path with “Habitat Exploration” boxes, pollinator habitat, sensory garden, playscape, and educational signage will also be included in the space.

Dacusville Middle School, Pickens County
Sustainable Gardening Project

The Garden Club will purchase a greenhouse to support the development of a sustainable botanical garden on campus. The garden will provide food and shelter for wildlife, as well as food for students and the community. Clemson Extension, Alice Farms, Double B Ranch, and school volunteers have donated time and/or resources to support the project.

Glenforest School, Lexington County
Pollinator Garden and Vernal Pool Habitat Project

At this Green Step school, students will use computer software to plan and design themed gardens attractive to birds, bees, butterflies, and frogs. For example, the vernal pool garden will attract the local population of Southern Chorus frogs. Paths will be smooth and level so that everyone can enjoy the gardens, and plant identification will be available in Braille and bilingual signage.

Liberty STEAM Charter School, Sumter County
Garden/Outdoor Classroom Project

Students will design, plant, and maintain a school garden. It will also be used as an outdoor classroom to study pollinator habitats, seasonal changes, sustainable gardening practices, and healthy food options. The Sumter Master Gardener Club and parent volunteers will support the students through this project.

Mid Carolina High School, Newberry County
Litter Prevention and Pollinator Garden Project

At this Green Step school, students will work with Newberry County Soil and Water Conservation and Master Gardeners to create a pollinator garden using native plants. They’ll also develop an anti-litter campaign, creating educational materials to be shared with the school and surrounding community.

Richland Two Institute of Innovation, Richland County
Wind Turbine Project

Students at this Green Step school will learn about generating clean, sustainable energy in urban areas using wind turbines. They will build a vertical turbine on campus, test it, and learn how to optimize its associated rechargeable battery.

Trident Academy, Charleston County
Rain Garden Project

Students will improve the water quality of Wakendaw Lakes by working with Community Hydrology to create a rain garden designed to intercept stormwater runoff. The garden will incorporate plants rescued from land planned for development and locally harvested native seeds. 

Waccamaw High School, Georgetown County
Gardening Project

The Life Skills class will practice work skills by planting and maintaining a garden that includes trees, vegetables, herbs, and flowers attractive to pollinators. Composted waste from lunch and culinary classes will enhance the garden, and walkways will be covered with natural and recycled materials to prevent erosion.

$2,000 Winners

Brookdale Elementary School, Orangeburg County
Hydroponic Gardening Project

Brookdale Elementary School WOLO News Story

Students will learn about Deep Water Culture and Wick System hydroponic gardening. After planting, they will maintain the growing systems by checking the temperature and water daily, while keeping logs of their observations.

Lugoff Elgin High School, Kershaw County
Pollinator Garden Project

At this Green Step school, students will design and plant a garden using milkweed and other native plants to attract bees and Monarch butterflies. They will also raise and release Monarch butterflies to coincide with the Spring migration.

Palmetto High School, Anderson County
Adopt-a-Stream Project

Students will learn about water quality by charting biological, chemical, and bacterial data collected from a nearby stream by their teacher, a trained Adopt-a-Stream volunteer monitor. They’ll also perform litter clean-ups of the stream.

Plain Elementary School, Greenville County
Eco Brick Project

Students will collect plastic bottles and coffee containers, clean them, dry them, and cut them into strips to be incorporated in bricks. Parent volunteers will help students create a bench from the bricks and it will be placed in the school courtyard as a reminder that waste materials can be repurposed into functional items.

$1,000 Winners

Darlington Middle School, Darlington County
Outdoor Classroom Project

The school will construct an outdoor classroom where students can learn about solar energy, rainwater harvesting, composting, stormwater reduction, biodiversity, and the importance of native plants. Although the area will be used primarily for middle school classes, community organizations will be encouraged to utilize the space too.

Greer Middle College Charter High School, Greenville County
Monarch Butterfly Garden Project

Students will design, plant, and maintain a native plant habitat to serve as a waystation for the endangered Monarch butterfly. Signage will also be placed in the garden to educate students and visitors about the Monarch butterfly.

Leaphart Elementary STEAM Magnet, Lexington County
Urban Wildlife Preserve and Garden Project

Leaphart Elementary WACH News Story

In partnership with the SC Wildlife Federation, students at this Green Step school will design, plant, and maintain a garden using native plants to attract pollinators. They’ll also post signage to educate visitors about the plants.

Mitchell Road Elementary, Greenville County
Pollinator Garden Project

Students at this 2022 National Blue Ribbon school will create a sustainable pollinator garden in raised beds. The garden will also be used as a lab to study weather, insects, soil, and plant-related experiments.

Swansea High Freshman Academy, Lexington County
Pollinator Garden Project

Students in the garden club and agricultural science classes will expand a garden that is currently on campus and add a pollinator garden. Clemson will provide transplants for the garden which will help mitigate costs.

Wellford Academy of Science and Technology, Spartanburg County
Garden Project

Students will plant a pollinator garden outside and create container gardens for study inside.  Multiple rain barrels will be purchased and installed to provide sustainable irrigation.