Champions of the Environment: Recent Winners

$2,500 Winners

Academy for the Arts, Science, and Technology, Horry County
“Fishpond Habitat Restoration Project”

Environmental Engineering students will learn about stormwater mitigation by caring for different aquatic habitats on campus. One group will restore a fishpond, another group will test the water quality of a stormwater pond and a creek, and a third group will create a bog garden with carnivorous plants. Project progress will be shared through newsletters, school website updates, and social media posts. 

R.B. Stall High School, Charleston County
“Stall Student Garden Project”

Environmental Science classes and the 4-H Club at this Green Step School will study soil management, organic pest control, and sustainable gardening as they create a school garden. In addition to developing environmental awareness, students will also become advocates for cultural connection by partnering with the Newcomer Program which works to mainstream newly arrived English language learners. 

Loris Middle School, Horry County
“Growing Pride Garden”

Funding for this project will help students construct and maintain a greenhouse, raised garden beds, an irrigation system, and a vegetable garden. The project will also help this rural school give back to the community by sharing the garden produce with the school and students’ families and friends.

St. John Catholic School, Charleston County
“St. John’s Outdoor Classroom”

Students at this Green Step School will create an outdoor learning classroom and nature paths for use by the school, the church family, and the Special Olympics. Pollinator and herb gardens will support the local bee population and a rain barrel will provide water year-round.  The outdoor classroom will be carefully maintained so it will be available for future generations of the St. John community.

Starr-Iva Middle School, Anderson County
“Bees and Trees through Water Efficiency”

Academic Enrichment Classes will preserve a natural area on campus by creating a pollinator garden and outdoor learning lab. Students will learn about stormwater reduction by using water collected in rain barrels. Agriculture classes will construct native bee houses, a trellis, a bat house, and garden benches for the project. Clemson Extension and the school board will provide support on the project.

Busbee Creative Arts Academy, Lexington County
“Hydroponic Gardening at the Academy”

The school will create a hydroponic garden that will engage students through engineering, chemistry, and biology as they analyze data regarding lighting, nutrient solutions, and plant growth. Project updates will be shared through social media, while workshops and garden events will educate the school and surrounding community about the benefits of hydroponic gardening. 

South Conway Elementary School, Horry County
“SCES Garden Club”

Third through fifth grade students will learn how worms break down food scraps to create compost that will enrich their new garden. They will also learn how a greenhouse can extend the growing season of plants. As students address the environmental issues and challenges of gardening, they will also develop a greater awareness of environmental issues in their community.

Nation Ford High School, York County

The Art Club and National Art Honor Society will incorporate art into nature by adding stepping stones and a bird bath made with mosaic materials in the creation of a native plant garden.  Community partners, including a Master Naturalist and the Fort Mill Garden Club, will provide support on the project.

Forts Pond Elementary School, Lexington County
“FPES Living Classroom”

Students will learn how to sustainably grow their own food in small spaces using an aquaponic system and vertical gardens. They will also learn how to reduce waste by using recycled materials to create vertical gardens. Staff from the Lexington Soil and Water Conservation District will mentor students throughout the project.

D.R. Hill Middle School, Spartanburg County
“Native Pollinator Garden”

After touring the Hatcher Garden Woodland Preserve in Spartanburg, the D.R. Hill Garden Club will create raised bed pollinator gardens on campus to support local pollinators and increase native biodiversity. The Preserve, local businesses, and parents will support the project by volunteering their expertise and time.

Reuben Elementary School, Newberry County
“Nothing is Finer than to Live in South Carolina”

Students in this farming community will learn how to garden sustainably and preserve our state’s history by integrating South Carolina state symbols, such as the state bird and state flower, into a native plant garden. The SC Wildlife Federation’s Carolina Fence Garden program provides resources on how to combine both natural and cultural elements into the garden.

$1,500 Winner

Riverview Charter School, Beaufort County
“Empty Bowls Garden”

“Empty Bowls” is a Hunger Awareness service-learning project that brings awareness to the school and community about world hunger. The Champions project will contribute to “Empty Bowls” by composting cafeteria food scraps to create compost for 12 new raised garden beds, one bed for each classroom. The produce from the gardens will be shared during the “Empty Bowls Evening” the school hosts each year.

2022-2023 Champions of the Environment


Champions Coordinator: Amanda Ley, (803) 898-4183