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News Releases

DHEC Awards Eleven South Carolina Schools as ‘Champions of the Environment’

Schools will use grant funding for composting bins, rain barrels, a greenhouse and more

November 24, 2021

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

“Champions of the Environment” awards are issued each school year to foster environmental education and action in South Carolina’s classrooms, from kindergarten through 12th grade. Teachers 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.

“We were unable to hold the grant competition last year because of COVID, so we were even more excited to award funding to schools again this year,” said Amanda Ley, DHEC’s coordinator for the Champions of the Environment program. “We’re proud of the projects these schools are implementing that put a focus on how important it is to care for and understand the world around us.”

The 2021 Champions of the Environment are:

•    Ballentine Elementary School, Richland County
•    Blue Ridge Elementary School, Oconee County
•    Castle Heights Middle School, York County
•    Cherokee Creek Boys School, Oconee County
•    Walhalla High School, Oconee County
•    Chesnee High School, Spartanburg County
•    Dr. Rose H. Wilder Elementary School, Clarendon County
•    Draytonville Elementary School, Cherokee County
•    Pleasant Hill Elementary School, Lexington County
•    Riverwalk Academy, York County
•    SC Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, Greenville County

Details about these schools’ environmental projects are provided online at Projects include composting bins, rain barrels, butterfly gardens, a solar-powered greenhouse and more. 

"Creating an understanding of our environment and the protective measures that enhance our environment for school-aged children is essential in building an appreciation for a healthier environment,” said Nathan Haber, DHEC Director of the Water Quality Division. “Champions of the Environment is a meaningful tool that achieves this objective in all areas of South Carolina."

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



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