Students at Dutch Fork High School will have more opportunities to study conservation and environmental stewardship this year, thanks to a grant provided by the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (RSWCD) through its Conservation Education Mini-Grant program.
Dutch Fork High School received a $500 Mini-Grant for a greenhouse renovation. Students from the Earth Club, Young Women in Engineering, and Life Skills classes will work together to remove the existing rock floor of the school’s greenhouse and replace it with a weed barrier and solid flooring. This project will make the greenhouse more accessible for students with limited mobility and increase planting and research opportunities. This project will make the greenhouse more accessible for students with limited mobility and increase planting and research opportunities. David Kennedy, a mathematics teacher and the Earth Club sponsor, serves as the project lead.
“We are so grateful to RSWCD for their support and are so happy to partner with them to keep students aware of our need to protect the resources around them,” Kennedy said. “Last year, our Earth Club, Young Women in Engineering Club and Life Skills class began renovating our greenhouse that had been neglected since COVID. We pulled up weeds, put down weed barrier cloth and gravel, and used recycled pallets to build planting tables and planters. Unfortunately, the weeds continue to grow through the rocks and the gravel is hard for some of our less mobile students to navigate. Now, thanks to this generous grant we will be able to put down new flooring which will better prevent weeds from returning and allow easier access to the planting tables for our Life Skills classes. This greenhouse will serve our Life Skills classes as well as allow for STEM research and Earth Club projects.”
The RSWCD offers Conservation Education Mini Grants each fall and spring to support a variety of conservation efforts at local schools.
“Our school children learn about the life benefits of plants and animals in their environments as they participate in hands-on activities supported by RSWCD Mini-Grants,” said Carol Kososki, a local donor and longtime chair of the Richland County Conservation Commission.
The next application deadline is Feb. 6, 2023. To apply for a Conservation Education Mini-Grant for your school or to learn how to support conservation education efforts through the Friends of the RSWCD, visit www.richlandcountysc.gov/rswcd.