Conservation Poster Contest
The National Conservation Poster Contest, sponsored annually by the National Association of Conservation Districts, raises awareness about soil and water conservation issues through youth outreach. The Contest is open to public, private, and home-schooled students in grades K through 12. The 2017 theme is "Healthy Soils Are Full of Life," and Richland County entries are due by April 10, 2017. Click here for details and entry forms.
Mini-Grants for Conservation Education
Faculty and staff members of public, private, and alternative schools in Richland County are eligible to apply for mini-grants (up to $500) for campus conservation projects and youth environmental education initiatives. Two award cycles are available: applications received by October 7, 2016 will be considered for fall 2016 funding; applications received by February 3, 2017 will be considered for spring 2017 funding. Project work and the expenditure of funds must be completed by June 15, 2017. Details and Application
Conservation Education Awards
Each school year, the District recognizes educators who have exhibited an outstanding commitment to conservation and environmental education. Winners receive cash prizes and are recognized at the District's annual banquet. The 2015-2016 Conservation Teacher and Principal of the Year have been announced, and 2016-2017 nomination forms will be posted in January.
Each May, teams of SC high school students gather at the Clemson Sandhill Research and Education Center in northeast Columbia to compete for scholarships and vie for the opportunity to represent the Palmetto State at the North American 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.
Teams consist of 3-5 students plus an alternate (optional) in grades 9-12. Each team must have the support of a team coach. Richland County teams and coaches may receive support from, and apply for team sponsorship through, the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District. If you are a Richland County teacher or student who is interested in participating, please contact us at (803) 576-2080 for information on sponsorship and support.
Visit South Carolina Envirothon for full competition details!
Each fall, Richland County students are invited to celebrate trees by participating in Arbor Day Youth Contests. PreK-12 students compete for cash prizes while learning and teaching others about these important natural resources. Winners from the 2016 contests are posted here.
Class and Community Presentations
The District offers a limited number of class presentations for Richland County preK-12 students on topics including forestry, wildlife, ecology, soil health, water quality, gardening, composting, and agriculture. Additionally, District representatives are available to speak to community and civic groups about District programs and initiatives. Contact (803) 576-2080 for more information.
Conservation District staff members mentor a variety of Green Steps Schools projects, including habitat restoration, water conservation, school gardens, and classroom composting operations at nearly a dozen schools in Richland County. Green Steps 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 www.greenstepschools.com for more information and to learn how your school can become a Green Steps School!
Project Learning Tree (PLT) is an award-winning international environmental education program designed for teachers and informal educators who work with students from early childhood through high school. Richland Conservation District is a SC PLT partner and supports PLT trainings in Richland County. Visit the SC PLT website for more information.
In cooperation with the USC Center for Science Education and College of Education, Richland County School District One, and the Commission on Higher Education, Richland District provides professional development opportunities for elementary school teachers focusing on inquiry-based science education, nature-based instruction, and the development and use of outdoor classrooms.
Named for the “rich land” that has supported a vibrant agricultural economy since colonial days, Richland County still boasts a strong farming community. Farm field experiences can be used to introduce students to important concepts in science, social studies, and health. This brochure provides a listing of local school field trip opportunities.
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!