This winter, students at three County schools will plant trees thanks to Conservation Education Mini-Grants from the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District.
The students’ efforts come as South Carolina prepares to observe Arbor Day on Friday, Dec. 3. Founded in 1872, Arbor Day encourages individuals and groups to plant trees, which benefit air, water and wildlife and provide natural beauty. While the holiday is celebrated nationally in April, South Carolina observes the holiday in December, as it is a better time for planting trees in the state’s climate.
Blythewood High School
Students in Blythewood High’s Science National Honor Society will help offset the school’s paper usage by planting saplings throughout the community.
“Our goal is to completely offset or surpass our school’s and our personal paper usage,” said Dr. Robin Henderson, science teacher and Science National Honor Society adviser. “We also want to spread awareness (about) simple ways we can replenish the resources we often take for granted.”
A $500 Conservation Education Mini-Grant will support the students’ work.
Heathwood Hall Episcopal School
Students at Heathwood Hall will add native fruit trees to increase biodiversity in the school’s Fruit Forest, an edible landscape. Student researchers are also creating signs to help visitors identify existing trees, as well as adding compost to improve soil health and conserve water.
Multiple grade levels will take part. Students in the Early Childhood Division will add compost, third- and fifth-graders will research native trees and soil quality, and 10th-graders will design nameplates for trees. The school’s project, led by Dr. Jamie Browder, a science and STEM resource teacher, will be supported by a $500 Conservation Education Mini-Grant.
Spring Valley High School
By planting trees on campus, students in Spring Valley High’s Adopt-a-Stream club aim to benefit the Earth and its inhabitants.
“Planting trees helps our ecosystem,” said Ian Saracila, Adopt-a-Stream club student president. “Trees reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, which may reduce erosion. They are also beautiful, and they offer us their shade.”
The club’s efforts will be supported by a $250 Conservation Education Mini-Grant.
About the Program
Conservation Education Mini-Grants are offered to Richland County K-12 educational institutions twice each school year in amounts of up to $1,000. The next application deadline is Feb. 4, 2022.
Conservation districts are political subdivisions of state government under the local direction of five-member Boards of Commissioners. In South Carolina, conservation district boundaries conform to County boundaries.