Every year, EEASC recognizes those who make a difference in supporting environmental education in South Carolina. Congratulations to the 2019 Annual Award Winners!
Anna Catherine (AC) Parham started a nonprofit called Suffering to Suffrage in early 2017 with the initial goal of helping formerly incarcerated individuals register to vote and become connected with "ex-convict friendly" employers to reduce potential recidivism.
Shortly after starting Suffering to Suffrage, AC realized that the children of currently and formerly incarcerated individuals have less educational opportunities and resources than their peers. So, she shifted the main focus of her organization to cater to the needs of underprivileged children in South Carolina, especially children of formerly and currently incarcerated individuals.
One of the key components she incorporates in all of her individual, group, and classroom lesson and tutoring sessions is environmental advocacy, conservation, and preservation. Miss Parham felt that most environmental education initiatives are geared towards affluent children and mostly occur in a private school setting, and that in order to really and truly make a difference in the environment, she needed to target the underprivileged children who aren't familiar with recycling or being "green."
Many affluent children grow up going to upscale grocery stores such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes that advocate for environmental protection as well as see their parents pay a little extra to have a recycling company come along and pick up their recycling every week. This early exposure to environmental advocacy is often not found in less fortunate neighborhoods, as low-income individuals often cannot pay the luxury prices of Trader Joes or Whole Foods and definitely cannot find the money for a weekly recycling service. So, Miss Parham tailors her environmental advocacy lessons to her audience and shows them real ways that they can reduce, reuse, recycle, and also respect the environment around them. At the beginning and end of all her tutoring sessions, Miss Parham says "THERE IS NO PLANET B" and invites her pupils to repeat this mantra.
She is instilling lifelong environmental consciousness in a class of children that are often left out of the environmental conservancy conversation altogether. When these less fortunate children were continuously denied a seat at the table, AC Parham pulled up a chair for them and invited them to learn about the wonders of their environment and how they can cherish and protect throughout their lives.
SMART Recycling is an organics and food waste hauling company dedicated to diverting food waste from the landfill to local composting facilities. Their Table-to-Farm Soil Sharing Program helps close the loop on sustainable food sourcing. We buy back finished compost and returning it to local farms and community organizations that are doing their part to support a local, pesticide free food culture. When we host these events, we invite our Program partners to come out, meet their farmers, and get their hands in the dirt. Grow food, not landfills.
Moore Farms Botanical Garden (MFBG) is a non-profit organization committed to creating gardens that inform, inspire and delight. By combining cutting edge horticultural practices and rural gardening traditions, MFBG staff are reinterpreting what it means to be a Southern garden. The staff is comprised of dedicated professionals who are not only passionate about gardening, but also enjoy sharing this special place with others. MFBG has provided extremely generous support for EEASC and, in particular, for EEASC's 2019 summer conference, and we are hugely indebted to Rebecca Turk and her team for their hospitality and generosity.