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2023 Annual Award Winners


As a professor and agricultural science curriculum specialist with Clemson University, James Frederick, PhD, oversees and coordinates youth and community education programs related to ecosystems and natural resources conservation. He has launched projects such as the Outdoor Education Trail at Clemson’s Pee Dee Research and Education Center to provide opportunities for youth and community education, and the Research Courtyard Program to provide ecosystem research opportunities for middle school students. Frederick has also conducted research on the sustainability of bioenergy and agronomic crop production in South Carolina throughout his 33-year career with Clemson University.

Green Business of the Year - ReSoil Compost & Green Energy Biofuel

Green Energy Biofuel and ReSoil Compost are local recycling companies, co-owned by “Bio”Joe Renwick, that provide zero landfill solutions for reducing waste and recycling in South Carolina. Green Energy Biofuel has been recycling used cooking oil since 2008 with its original plant in Winnsboro, SC. The company has since three additional plants in Aiken, SC, Knoxville, TN and Selma, NC.

ReSoil is an industrial scale composting facility in Elgin, SC that accepts and recycles yard debris and food scraps from regional haulers as well as from Columbia-area restaurants, schools, hospitals and government offices. ReSoil diverts waste from landfills while producing compost certified by the US Composting Council's Seal of Testing Assurance Program for use in local gardens and farms.


Sustaining Way is an interfaith non-profit based in Greenville, SC, that uses education, collaboration and advocacy to create sustainable, caring and equitable communities for current and future generations. Values of Sustaining Way include practicing stewardship and addressing race, equity and justice.

Recent accomplishments of the organization include establishing two new community gardens; creating a network of community organizations to address food security; reducing energy consumption by 56% for initial Energy Home Visit participants; distributing more than 12,000 meals through Meals and Masks; and coordinating over 1,700 hours of Steward Youth program engagement. 


Emma McCaffrey is a Future Farmers of America (FFA) student and a rising senior at Batesburg-Leesville High School in Lexington County School District 3. In the 2022-2023 school year, she and her fellow FFA club members launched a pollinator garden through SC Green Step Schools—a certification and award program for school-based efforts where students learn, do, and teach others about environmental stewardship. McCaffrey also coordinated several environmentally-focused guest speakers for her FFA club meetings.

“In all my years with Green Steps, [McCaffrey] is the first student to lead her school into the Green Steps program,” says SC Green Step Schools coordinator Jane Hiller. McCaffrey will attend a Youth Leadership Class at the Governor's School for Agriculture this summer. Following graduation, she plans to attend Piedmont Technical College and then transfer to Clemson

University to major in Horticulture.



    Amy Umberger is a Resident Scientist at Dutch Fork Elementary Academy of Environmental Sciences in District 5 of Lexington and Richland Counties. She holds a B.S. in K-8 Elementary Education and an I.M.A. in Natural Sciences K-8, and she has been teaching for 29 years. Umberger has been named the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher (OEST) for the state of South Carolina by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

    OEST awards are given for "exceptional contributions to the stimulation of interest in the Earth Sciences at the pre-college level." This award recognizes Umberger’s excellence in Earth Science teaching. Her teaching focuses on inquiry and real-world application. She teaches students to work collaboratively in groups outdoors and on field studies.

    2022 Annual Award Winners

    EEASC would like to congratulate all 2022 award winners!

    Outstanding Youth Award - Isaac Brewer

    Outstanding Environmental Educator - Chanda Cooper

    Outstanding Legislator - Senator Nikki Setzler

    Outstanding Non-Profit: Watershed Ecology Center 

    Outstanding Green Business - Sal's Ol' Timey Feed & Seed

    2021 Annual Award Winners

    Nancy Thompson

    EEASC is pleased to recognize long-time SC Project WILD coordinator, Nancy Thompson, for her many decades of service to the students, teachers, and informal educators of South Carolina…first as a school teacher, and then as SC’s Project WILD coordinator.  EEASC member Matt Schnabel shares this wonderful tribute to Nancy: “Nancy Thompson has always been a role model for me and was especially helpful when I began coordinating the Project Learning Tree program. She was always a willing and able partner in EE and I always enjoyed facilitating workshops with her and her husband Ray.  Even more so, Nancy and Ray were fun people to hang out with after the “work” was done.  I hope to have half of the outdoor adventures they got to have in my lifetime!

    ” Nancy has passed the Project WILD baton to the Sara Green and Sarah Whitmire of the SC Wildlife Federation and Conestee Nature Preserve, but EEASC is forever grateful to her for her dedication to the Project WILD program.

    Green Business of the Year - Columbia Natural Awakenings Magazine
    In the front of each community issue, this magazine presents global news and views as a complement to news and events of local interest. EEASC is happy that Columbia Natural Awakenings Magazine highlights sustainable education as well local events that support the mission of EEASC. Congratulations to you all and thank you for your continued support of environmental education!

    Rising Star Youth Award - Roman Phillips

    Roman was nominated by Anna O-Brian and Brandy Carroway. He is a 14 year-old Eagle Scout and rising freshman at Fort Mill High School. He is vigilant in his  pursuit of ways in which his local community can benefit from conscientious recycling, consumption, and preservation.

    To promote educational educational literacy in the Baxter Village community in Fort Mill,  Roman started a plastic film recycling effort on January 1, 2020. To date, he has encouraged his neighborhood to recycle 550 lbs of plastic film, which is equal to over 41,000 plastic shopping bags. He has also started a Stream Clean Up in his neighborhood. In 7 workdays, his volunteer group has removed 5000 lbs of trash from storm drains feeding into the Jones Branch which eventually leads to the Catawba  River. As part of his Eagle Scout project, Roman built 8 wood duck boxes and added 4 mallard nesting tubes to Lake Elliott in the Baxter neighborhood. As a result, the ducks have returned to the lake to have  their ducklings. All of these projects can be viewed on Facebook where he updates his neighbors on the  progress of each project: Baxter Ducks, Baxter Plastic Film Recycling, and Baxter Stream Clean Up. Roman's work in his neighborhood helps to keep the water clean and plastic bags out of landfills. We recognize his care for  the environment and tireless efforts to protect our natural resources and look forward to more to come in the future. Congratulations, Roman! 

    Outstanding Youth Award - Lydia Cox

    Lydia Cox was nominated by Jessica Runyon from the Charleston Museum and is a rising senior at Academic Magnet High School in North Charleston. Lydia has been a volunteer counselor at the Charleston Museum’s Nature Trailers Camp for the past three summers where she has helped staff to educate and engage young Charlestonians with the environment. 

    Lydia also came up with the idea to begin a project to document the diversity and distribution of plants and animals at the Dill Sanctuary using the nature app ‘iNaturalist’. She spent many hours over two summers finding, photographing, and identifying almost 200 organisms. The iNaturalist project she created for the Dill Sanctuary will be a great educational tool for future camps, and also a way to share biodiversity information from the sanctuary and to continue to build the Sanctuary's species list over time to better understand biological trends.  

    Based on her experience, Lydia has become so proficient with iNaturalist that she is now volunteering with the Charleston Parks Conservancy to develop iNaturalist projects for over twenty City of Charleston Parks where the goal is to involve the public as citizen scientists in documenting the many plants and animals in parks. Lydia was also selected to serve on the 2020-21 City of Charleston’s Youth Mayor’s Commission, where her main issue of concern is the environment.  

    We expect Lydia to make contributions to environmental literacy for years to come. Congratulations Lydia!

         Educator of the Year - Will Green

        Will Green is a 7th grade science teacher and Certified Green Steps Team Leader at Irmo Middle School. He is the only teacher in Lexington/Richland School District 5 that holds the title of “Greenhouse Commander” from his students. Will has established a Monarch and Milkweed habitat along with his 7th grade students. The awareness in and around the community he has generated by narrowing the focus on one specific species of concern and using that as the impetus for a longitudinal student-driven project is a worthy model for others to follow.

        Every spring he collaborates with his 7th grade team to put on an amazing plant sale that his students completely design and organize. He has taken students to Irmo Town Hall meetings to advocate for more controlled spraying of pesticides to protect Monarchs as well as increase the planting of Milkweed in the local area. He and his students have also sold milkweed at the downtown Soda City farmers market. Will has also led professional development events for teachers on how to integrate Monarch and Milkweed education across the curriculum. Congratulations, Will!

        Special Recognition to Jane Hiller 

        Jane Hiller, Sonoco Recycling Education Coordinator, Green Steps School Program Founder and Director, long-time EEASC Board Member and Central Section Director, and all-around environmental MVP—was  recently named the winner of the 2020 Environmental Awareness Award! The South Carolina General Assembly established the award in 1992 to recognize outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation and improvement of South Carolina’s natural resources. Jane will be retiring from her position at Sonoco Recycling later this summer, but she plans to remain active in EEASC during her retirement. Jane, we are so proud of you, and we are celebrating this award with you! 

        2019 Annual Award Winners

        Every year, EEASC recognizes those who make a difference in supporting environmental education in South Carolina. Congratulations to the 2019 Annual Award Winners!

        Environmental Educator of the Year: Anna Catherine (A.C.) Parham

        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. 

        Green Business Award: SMART Recycling

        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. 

        Non Profit of the Year: Moore Farms Botanical Garden

        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.



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