Richland County announces conservation initiatives for local schools

August 18, 2021

As a new school year kicks off, the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (RSWCD) is again offering opportunities for conservation engagement by K-12 students, teachers and staff, through Conservation Education Mini-Grants and the Youth Conservation Poster Contest.

Conservation Education Mini-Grants

Richland County public, private and alternative schools are eligible to apply for up to $1,000 in grant funding to support conservation projects and youth environmental education initiatives.

Mini-Grants may be used to support conservation-related student projects including, but not limited to:

  • outdoor classrooms
  • school gardens
  • nature trails
  • wildlife habitats
  • composting initiatives
  • air quality campaigns

Awards are competitive, and proposals will be evaluated on the project’s conservation impact, feasibility, student and community involvement, and educational outcomes. Two award periods are available, one in the fall and one in the spring. Applications for grants are due Oct. 1 (fall funding) and Feb. 4, 2022 (spring funding).

To apply, visit

Youth Conservation Poster Contest

Richland County students are encouraged to combine their artistic skills with scientific knowledge for this contest. Participants are asked to create a poster based on the theme “Healthy Soils: Healthy Life.”

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

Posters must be submitted on 14-by-22-inch paper, and RSWCD can provide up to 24 sheets of 14-by-22-inch poster paper per school. A completed entry form must be attached to the back of each poster. For entry forms, visit Entries are due by April 15, 2022.

Year-Round Conservation Engagement

To further connect students with the poster contest theme, the RSWCD is promoting classroom conservation programs focused on keeping soil healthy.

Conservation educators with the RSWCD are available to present these programs for schools and youth groups on a limited basis. All programs are correlated with South Carolina academic standards for science and tailored to each grade level. Programs include:

  • Wonderful Worms: Vermicomposting in the Classroom
  • Supersoil: Soil Science 101
  • Where Would We BEE Without Pollinators?
  • Watershed Explorer

“We’re excited to promote soil health and soil conservation through our classroom presentation series and this year’s youth poster contest,” said Chanda Cooper, conservation education analyst for the RSWCD.

“Healthy soil is essential for food and fiber production, and it also helps keep our water clean, reduces runoff and flooding, and can help mitigate climate change. There are things all of us can do to improve and protect our soil resources,” Cooper said.

To learn more about the County’s classroom conservation programs, visit