Back-to-School initiatives keep conservation efforts in mind

August 4, 2020

As the new school year approaches, the Richland County Soil and Water Conservation District offers a pair of opportunities for K-12 students, teachers and staff to engage in conservation efforts: the 2021 Youth Poster Contest and Conservation Education Mini-Grants.

Left photo: Longleaf Middle School’s Bee Club received a $1,000 Conservation Education Mini-Grant to purchase beekeeping equipment and create a pollinator habitat at the school in 2019.   Right photo: Irmo Middle School’s Action for Unity program received a $500 Conservation Education Mini-Grant to fund a project called “Our Budding Naturalists Build Nesting Boxes for Backyard Birds” in 2019. Students worked with community experts, including Jay Keck, habitat education coordinator for the S.C. Wildlife Federation (pictured here with students), to enhance the school’s wildlife habitat.

2021 Youth Conservation Poster Contest

Richland County students are encouraged to combine their artistic skills with scientific knowledge for this contest, which asks participants to create a poster based on the theme “Healthy Forests = Healthy Communities.”

County winners will advance to the state contest, with state winners progressing to the national competition. Winners at each level will receive cash prizes.

Students may design posters or images digitally or on paper, but all entries should be submitted electronically. To submit entries, visit Entries are due by April 30, 2021.

Conservation Education Mini-Grants

Faculty and staff at public, private and alternative schools in Richland County can apply for grants worth up to $1,000 to support conservation projects and youth environmental education initiatives.

Examples of such projects include:

  • virtual learning opportunities for students
  • take-home activities promoting environmental stewardship
  • outdoor classrooms
  • school gardens
  • nature trails
  • wildlife habitats

Applications for the grants are due Sept. 30 (fall funding) and Feb. 1, 2021 (spring funding). To apply, visit

For more information on the Youth Conservation Poster Contest or Conservation Education Mini-Grants, contact Chanda Cooper, conservation education coordinator, at 803-576-2084 or [email protected]