Spartanburg Water presents grant to Watershed Ecology Center

December 28, 2017

SPARTANBURG - Spartanburg Water presented an $18,000 grant to the Watershed Ecology Center for classroom instruction of watershed protection for 21,000-plus area students.

Spartanburg Water continues to support community engagement programs that actively protect area watersheds by awarding the efforts of the Watershed Ecology Center. This successful, ongoing initiative serves to collect, analyze and disseminate sound scientific information on the ecology of the region. Special emphasis is placed on water conservation, watershed education, water quality and the study of organisms living in the area encompassed by a watershed.

“In 2017, this group served nearly 20,000 K-8 students with presentations throughout Spartanburg County, including public, private and home schools,” said Ken Tuck, Spartanburg Water Director of Water Treatment. “Educating students, our future customers, about the significance of our watersheds is something we see as very important. It is also quite important to provide teachers with resources and enhanced training to support a water-themed curriculum – the Watershed Ecology Center is a leader in this field by supplying educational kits, training opportunities and encouraging teachers to adopt curriculum that enhances the learning experience.”

The grant allows the program to expand, adding another instructor to teach more groups of students, said Dr. Jack Turner, Director of the Watershed Ecology Center. “By the end of the 2018 calendar year, we hope to reach more than 21,000 students – I’d love to be able to reach 22,000. This money from Spartanburg Water was a wonderful opportunity to add to our teaching staff,” he said.

Turner said many eighth grade students in the county have progressed through the program since they began kindergarten. “They love when we bring in animals, and talk about their (animal) habitats and needs. It is great to see the impact we are making.”

In addition to the classroom programs, including the Project WET curriculum for training educators, the Watershed Ecology Center offers several public participation programs. The Center’s public participation programs include an Adopt-A-Stream program. To date, the Watershed Ecology Center has focused many of these efforts around Spartanburg Water’s reservoirs and the watershed.

The volunteer stream monitoring program initiated in Spartanburg County includes a training and certification process for citizens interested in participating in a more rigorous and scientific approach to water quality monitoring at a local level. Inspired by the Georgia Adopt-a-Stream Program, the Watershed Ecology Center focuses on training more teams to support a model program in South Carolina.

ABOUT SPARTANBURG WATER: Spartanburg Water, an award-winning utility, is comprised of Spartanburg Water System and Spartanburg Sanitary Sewer District. It serves a population of more than 180,000 within Spartanburg County, as well as others in parts of Greenville, Union and Cherokee counties. With the help of its dedicated team of more than 250 employees, each day it produces an average of 25 million gallons of drinking water and cleans 12 million gallons of reclaimed water for its customers and community. For more information on Spartanburg Water’s water quality efforts, visit us at spartanburgwater.org.