Mini-Grants for Conservation Education
Richland County public, private, and alternative schools are eligible to apply for grants in amounts up to $1,000 to support campus conservation projects and youth environmental education initiatives through the Conservation Education Mini-Grant Program. Two award cycles are available: applications received by October 2, 2023 will be considered for fall 2023 funding; applications received by January 22, 2024 will be considered for spring 2024 funding. Project work and the expenditure of funds must be completed by June 10, 2024. Click here for details.
Conservation Poster Contest
The National Conservation Poster Contest, sponsored annually by the National Association of Conservation Districts, raises awareness about conservation issues through youth outreach. The Contest is open to public, private, and home-schooled students in grades K through 12. The 2024 theme is "May the Forest Be With You Always," and Richland County entries are due by April 12, 2024. Click here for details.
Each spring, teams of SC high school students gather at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center in northeast Columbia to compete for scholarships and the opportunity to represent the Palmetto State at the international NCF-Envirothon competition. Envirothon teams are tested on their knowledge of five areas of environmental science (wildlife, forestry, soil science, aquatics, and a current topic) and their performance on an oral presentation. Richland SWCD will pay the team registration fees for the first three Richland County teams who submit their completed application packets, and it will also provide a stipend of $500 to the first three Richland County team coaches who submit their completed registration packets. Learn more about these incentives here, and visit South Carolina Envirothon for full competition details!
Class and Youth Group Presentations
The Richland SWCD offers a limited number of class presentations for Richland County preK-12 students on a number of conservation topics, including water quality, soil science, pollinator conservation, and forestry. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to request a presentation for your class.
For a list of other guest presenters who may be available to speak to school and community groups on conservation topics, and a list of conservation-themed field trip opportunities in Richland County, click here.
Borrow Educational Materials
Richland County educators may borrow educational materials, including a Soil Slake Kit, Rainfall Simulator, Adopt-A-Stream Kit, Vermicomposting Kit, and Enviroscape Model, for classroom use. Equipment may be borrowed for a one-week period, and the borrower is responsible for pick-up and return of items. Use the links provided for more information about each kit. To provide feedback on educational materials you have borrowed, use this form.
Environmental Educator Trainings
Project Learning Tree (PLT) and Project WET (Water Education for Teachers) are award-winning international environmental education curricula designed for teachers and informal educators who work with students from early childhood through high school. Richland SWCD facilitates PLT and Project WET educator trainings in Richland County; to request a training for a group of teachers or informal educators, contact us at email@example.com. You may also visit the SC PLT and SC Project WET websites for more information.
Green Steps Schools
Conservation District staff members mentor a variety of Green Step Schools projects, including habitat restoration, water conservation, school gardens, and classroom composting operations at nearly a dozen schools in Richland County. Green Step Schools is a statewide recognition program that provides awards and support to schools in South Carolina who take annual, sustainable steps toward environmental responsibility. Visit the SC Green Step Schools website for more information and to learn how your school can become a Green Step School, and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for support.
- Natural Resource Ramble: This lesson plan allows students to explore examples of natural resources in their daily lives. The lesson is correlated with SC Science Standards in grades one, three, and eight.
- Educators' Guide to Pollinator Conservation: This educators' guide to pollination and pollinator conservation provides background information and lesson plans for teachers, parents, and informal educators to lead engaging, hands-on learning experiences for students in grades one through six. Activities are aligned to South Carolina science academic standards.
SCACD Youth Education Brochure
The SC Association of Conservation Districts (SCACD) and the individual Conservation Districts of South Carolina support several statewide youth education programs. Learn more about them in this brochure!