Columbia Students Awarded DHEC Grant to Learn About, Improve Local Watershed

Mar 24, 2016

A.C. Moore students sample and analyze pond water at their school.
Credit Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

  Nancy Frick is a second grade teacher at A.C. Moore Elementary School in downtown Columbia. In June 2015, Frick was enrolled in a nature-based inquiry class through the University of South Carolina and Richland One School District. Frick says she learned about the importance of watersheds, an area or ridge of land that separates waters flowing to different rivers, basins, or seas. Three months later, when the 1,000-year flood took place, Frick was applying and sharing what she learned in class. (Click here to see how flood waters carried and deposited large debris in neighboring Gills Creek Watershed.) Now, the Richland One teacher is helping her students learn how to take care of their local watershed.

A.C. Moore is one of eight schools to receive the Champions of the Environment award. Given by the Department Health and Environmental Control, the award grants up to $2,000 for K-12 grade students to help protect the natural world and boost environmental awareness. South Carolina Public Radio’s Thelisha Eaddy has more on the story.

A.C. Moore Elementary school is part of the Rocky Branch Watershed. The watershed is primarily located in the City of Columbia (flowing through Five Points, Maxcy Greg Park, and University of South Carolina campus). According to Clear Carolina, a service of the Clemson Extension, Rocky Branch has pollution issues from storm water runoff, including bacteria, sediment, and litter. The watershed also experiences severe flooding, which causes property damage and makes driving conditions unsafe.

Champions rewards K-12th graders for their environmental awareness. The program is sponsored by a partnership between SCDHEC, SCE&G and International Paper.
Credit Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

  Every year, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control grants up to eight Champions of the Environment awards. The program is sponsored by a partnership between DHEC, SCE&G and International Paper. Winners receive grants worth up to $2,000. Runners up receive smaller Seedling Awards or Merit Awards to help get their project started. (Click through DHEC’s Champions Map Tour to see past winners and their projects.)

About Watersheds

When it rains, all the water drains into one body, like a river, lake or stream. Clear Carolina, a service of Clemson Extension, notes that everyone lives in a watershed. When it rains, the water must go somewhere. Watersheds include homes, businesses, roads, farms, and forests, which all drain into a series of small streams that flow into a creek, river or lake. Many small watersheds make up larger watersheds. The water moves from river to river until it makes its way to the ocean.

S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) Watershed Program helps facilitate solutions to water quality issues within the State.  (Click here for DHEC’s searchable Watershed Atlas. ) The application includes watershed descriptions; water quality assessments and trends; monitoring sites and much more.