Richland County Offers Conservation-Focused Opportunities to Local Schools

Students at H.E. Corley Elementary School build soil models during a classroom conservation program led by Richland Soil and Water Conservation District educators.

Richland County, S.C. - With summer winding down and a new school year approaching, the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (RSWCD) is again offering opportunities to K-12 students, teachers and staff for conservation engagement.

These opportunities will include Conservation Education Mini-Grants, an annual Youth Conservation Poster Contest and classroom conservation programs.

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 can be put toward conservation-related student projects, including but not limited to:

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

Students at Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary School work with a mentor to create a wildlife habitat on campus. The Richland Soil and Water Conservation District supports conservation education projects like this one with Conservation Education Mini-Grants of up to $1,000 each.

The 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. Mini-Grant applications are due Oct. 3 (for fall funding) and Feb. 5, 2023 (spring funding).

To apply, visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd.

Youth Conservation Poster Contest

Students in Richland County are encouraged to combine their artistic skills with scientific knowledge for this contest. Participants will create posters based on the theme “One Water.”

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 the RSWCD can provide up to 24 sheets of 14-by-22-inch poster paper per school for entrants. Attach a completed entry form to the back of each poster. For entry forms, visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd. Entries are due by April 14, 2023.

Classroom Conservation Programs

Conservation educators from the RSWCD are available to present classroom conservation 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. Available topics include:

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

Learn more about the County’s classroom conservation programs at www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd.

“Research shows environmental education can improve children’s physical and mental health, promote academic success, and foster environmental stewardship,” said Chanda Cooper, conservation education analyst for the RSWCD. “We are happy to support environmental education in Richland County classrooms through our poster contest, classroom presentations and Conservation Education Mini-Grants.”


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