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Conservation grants to aid schools' tree-planting efforts

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Students in Spring Valley High School’s Adopt-a-Stream Club recently completed a litter cleanup in cooperation with the Congaree Riverkeeper. The students will next plant tress on campus. (Photo/Provided)

Three Richland County schools will celebrate South Carolina’s observation of Arbor Day tomorrow by planting trees.  

Celebrated nationally in April, Arbor Day is observed in December in the Palmetto State, as that month’s climate is more conducive to tree planting, according to a news release from Richland County.  

Students at Blythewood High School, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School and Spring Valley High School will plant trees through efforts funded by conservation education mini-grants from the Richland Soil and Water Conservation District.  

The mini-grants, in amounts of up to $1,000, are offered to county K-12 educational institutions twice a year. The next application deadline is Feb. 4, 2022. For more information, visit or email Chanda Cooper at 

Students in Blythewood High’s Science National Honor Society will plant saplings throughout the community to help offset the school’s paper usage. The students’ work will be supported by a $500 mini-grant.  

“Our goal is to completely offset or surpass our school’s and our personal paper usage,” Robin Henderson, science teacher and Science National Honor Society adviser, said in a news release. “We also want to spread awareness (about) simple ways we can replenish the resources we often take for granted.” 

Heathwood Hall’s fruit forest will receive additional native fruit trees to increase biodiversity. Student researchers are also creating signs to help visitors identify existing trees and adding compost to improve the forest’s soil health and to conserve water.  

The project, involving grade levels from early childhood to sophomores, will be led by Jamie Browder, a science and STEM resource teacher, and supported by a $500 mini-grant.  

At Spring Valley High, students in the Adopt-a-Stream club will use a $250 mini-grant to plant trees on the school’s campus.   

“Planting trees helps our ecosystem,” said Ian Saracila, Adopt-a-Stream club student president. “Trees reduce the amount of stormwater runoff, which may reduce erosion. They are also beautiful, and they offer us their shade.” 

The University of South Carolina will also observe Arbor Day by planning two new trees tomorrow. The trees are part of a campus tree replacement initiative and will join the more than 6,900 trees of 90 different species on the grounds of the university. 

Reach Melinda Waldrop at 803-726-7542.

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