TEAM Ecology, a program largely supported by the Laurens County Master Gardeners Association (LCMGA), is the recipient of the 2019 South Carolina Community Star Award in the Collaborative category. The award was presented during a Laurens County Council meeting on February 25, 2020.
TEAM Ecology was initiated in 2012 as a collaborative effort of the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce (represented by Greg Alexander, Chamber CEO and Marilyn Easter, Chair of the Beautification Committee), the Laurens County Soil & Water Conservation District (Connie Daniels, Associate Commissioner and Marie Milam, District Coordinator), the Joe R. Adair Outdoor Education Center (Debbie Bishop, Director), School District 56 (Dr. David Pitts) and Debbie Vaughn, who had knowledge of the Pickens County Trash Bash program. Marilyn Easter had contacted a representative from the Pickens County Trash Bash program to talk to the Beautification Committee about their program which Marilyn hoped to use as a guide for Laurens County to teach students about recycling. Connie Daniels had been working on programs to take into the schools to teach about protecting our natural resources. Both Marilyn and Connie could see the benefit of working together on this education, thus TEAM Ecology was initiated.
The Master Gardeners Association has many members who loyally volunteer annually to teach during the 4 day program. The Master Gardeners also make desk top worm bins for all 3rd grade teachers 6 weeks in advance of TEAM Ecology. The students are to care for the worms and bring their bin with them to TEAM Ecology to count the numbers of worms in their bins. The LCMGA provides a small recycling bin to the class with the highest number of worms surviving.
Master Gardeners have taught at all the educational stations during TEAM Ecology including: Air Quality, Enviroscape for Waste Management, Enviroscape Watershed, Nature Hike, Recycling, Soils, Vermicomposting and Recycle Art.
To date approximately 4000 3rdgrade students have participated in TEAM Ecology which had its first program in 2013.
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This page was updated June 29, 2023