Monday, April 21, 2014

Heathwood Hall Episcopal School (HHESS) was praised in a recent State article (, hailing their multiple environmental and sustainability initiatives. The School of Environmental Education or S.E.E.D., was created to organize all environmental activities. A team of 25 faculty, administration, student council officers and parents represent seven subcommittees to help direct the program’s goals and avoid redundancies.

One of the SEED co-founders and environmental leaders on campus, Jim Morris, continuously promotes the idea of a “green hour”, teaching kids how to reconnect to the outdoors. Jim says that these environmental initiatives began as a top-down approach but now includes everyone. From the start, HHES has fostered a culture of sustainability with practices, curricula, and policies. HHES recognizes that students who understand and practice sustainability have a competitive advantage down the road and can become the next generation of leaders.


Walking around campus reveals an abundance of activities. A lush vegetable garden yielded so much produce, that 250 pounds were donated to Harvest Hope.

Multiple rain gardens surround the campus, helping reduce the problems associated with a flood plain location. In another attempt to overcome this issue, many riparian zones have been planted near the school’s aquatic areas. These zones serve as an interface between land and water, acting as bio-filters to protect from excessive sedimentation, surface runoff, and erosion. In addition, xeriscaping is implemented, reducing the need for supplemental irrigation systems.

Biology Buddies is a unique partnership between students. This program pairs preschoolers with high school students on agricultural projects.

To promote service learning and community outreach, annual plant sales help fund students’ senior trips to rehabilitate homes on Johns Island. 

Other notable projects include a Green Roof Demonstration Table, making 600 gallon rain barrels through the biology 2 class, and replanting the storm water pond with native plants to mimic a wetland.

Future ventures include composting waste from their cafeteria, waste free lunches, anti-idling campaign, an edible forest, and a wetland with a boardwalk at the retention pond.

HHES has received the following recent grants and awards: 

  •  2011 Neighborhood Grant Award
  •  2011 SC DHEC Champions of the Environment Grant
  •  2011 Palmetto Pride (Buffer/riparian zone along pond)
  •  2011 Palmetto Pride (Restored/Enhanced Habitat. Manmade wetland in a storm water pond)
  •  2010/2011 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Outdoor Classroom)
  •  2011 City of Columbia People’s Choice Award (Best Educational Garden) 

For more information, contact Todd Beasley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Jim Morris at morrisj@heathwood






"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It's not." — Dr. Seuss, from The Lorax

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