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Local Gardening Enthusiasts Make Gift Toward Conservation Education

CRBR Biz Wire //May 16, 2023//

Local Gardening Enthusiasts Make Gift Toward Conservation Education

CRBR Biz Wire //May 16, 2023//

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Members of the Palmetto Garden Club of South Carolina recently made a $9,000 gift to the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District to support local K-12 conservation education efforts during the upcoming school year. Kathleen Finlay and Elizabeth Laffitte, Palmetto Garden Club auction co-chairs, presented the gift to RSWCD commissioners, associate commissioners and staff.

Richland PIO – Conservation education efforts of the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District (RSWCD) recently received a generous boost from the Palmetto Garden Club of South Carolina.

Members of the Palmetto Garden Club (PGC) recently presented RSWCD with a check for $9,000 to support K-12 conservation education in Richland County during the upcoming school year. PGC members held a virtual silent auction to raise the funds.

“The PGC chose to support the RSWCD because the County’s Mini-Grants program for conservation education fit our mission to stimulate knowledge and love of gardening,” said Kathleen Finlay, PGC auction chair. “We felt the amount we hoped to give would make a substantial impact in our community.”

Conservation education for K-12 students is one of RSWCD’s core program areas. RSWCD promotes hands-on, nature-based learning in Richland County schools through projects such as school gardening, composting, water conservation, and creating and managing wildlife and pollinator habitats. RSWCD provides financial support for such projects through Conservation Education Mini-Grants, which are offered twice each school year and can provide up to $1,000 for environmental projects.

“We are so grateful for this generous gift from the Palmetto Garden Club,” RSWCD chairman Kenny Mullis said. “These funds will allow more children in our communities to plant seeds, to care for the soil, to harvest crops, and to learn about how our actions affect the environment.”

PGC is an affiliate of the nonprofit Garden Club of America (GCA), which is composed of nearly 200 member clubs and about 18,000 club members nationwide.

Education Efforts Bear Fruit

Since the launch of RSWCD’s Mini-Grants program in 2012, RSWCD has awarded 96 grants totaling $43,300. Much of the funding for the program comes from individual donors, businesses and community support through the Friends of the RSWCD.

In addition to grants, RSWCD provides technical assistance and mentorship to educators who implement environmental projects. In her role as RSWCD’s Green Step Schools mentor, Jennifer Mancke visits participating schools at least twice annually to assist with environmental projects. Her support helps to improve the success and sustainability of school-based conservation efforts.

“I’m here to help teachers and students achieve success with their environmental projects,” Mancke said. “Sometimes this means I’m finding ways to combat powdery mildew in school gardens, and sometimes it means I’m helping students repurpose pallets to build compost bins.”

In South Carolina, soil and water conservation districts are political subdivisions of state government under the local direction of five-member boards of commissioners. RSWCD promotes the wise use and care of natural resources for long-term sustainability. Richland County supports RSWCD’s work with staff and other resources.

To learn more about RSWCD programs, or about how you can support conservation education efforts through the Friends of the RSWCD, visit