Hampton Wildlife Fund receives grant from Dominion Energy

The Harry R.E. Hampton Wildlife Fund has received a $5,000 Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant from Dominion Energy.

The grant will support the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) Carolina Coastal Discovery Marine Education program, a day-long, outdoor environmental education program designed to help students actively learn the South Carolina State Science Curriculum Standards, expose them to “STEM” careers and create a new generation of environmental stewards of the Charleston area marine ecosystem.

In 2016, 34 percent of all South Carolina 5th grade students scored “Not Met” on the Palmetto Assessment of State Standards (PASS) test in science, indicating a clear learning gap (S.C. Dept. of Education, 2016) and the need for additional methods of teaching science standards.

The Coastal Discovery program’s hands-on approach to learning improves students’ understanding and retention of science standards.

Students spend their day in an outdoor classroom and aboard the 45-foot catamaran Discovery, where an SCDNR educator leads hands-on activities such as dissections or marine life identifications.

Students use the tools of marine scientists to reinforce the state science standards and gain an understanding of their real-world applications. The educators also work to help the students understand their role in sustaining this unique marine environment by practicing wise stewardship. More than 250 students from Charleston area schools will participate in the program.

“As part of Dominion Energy’s ongoing commitment to environmental sustainability, we are thrilled to work with the Hampton Wildlife Fund by supporting innovative education programs for South Carolina’s students,” said Kristen Beckham, external affairs representative for Dominion Energy.

“We believe in the tremendous benefits of environmental education such as critical thinking and real-world problem solving. When we can inspire students by getting them excited about nature, we also believe we can ignite a passion for science and for preserving our environment.”

Dominion Energy has awarded $1 million in Environmental Education and Stewardship grants to a variety of initiatives in states where it does business. Donations were shared by nearly 130 nonprofit organizations and schools working to improve natural spaces or encourage environmental stewardship in 12 states.

The Harry R.E. Hampton Memorial Fund (HWF) was established in 1981 to memorialize Harry R.E. Hampton (1897-1980), an S.C. journalist and conservationist instrumental in the establishment of the Congaree National Park and the S. C. Wildlife Commission, which later evolved into the SCDNR. Hampton was also the first president of the S.C. Wildlife Federation. The fund was begun to endow scholarships in his name and fund conservation projects in South Carolina through the SCDNR, thus continuing his legacy of stewardship.

HWF has provided $3.65 million in financial support to a wide diversity of projects and activities since its inception.

In addition, the Fund has awarded over $472,000 in scholarships to deserving South Carolina students majoring in environmental science or related fields, journalism and law enforcement/criminology. Funds are obtained solely through private donations, special promotional projects and fundraising events. For more information, visit hamptonwildlifefund.org.

Author: Rachel Howell

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