Heathwood Hall is proud to be the recipient of this year’s Green Neighborhood/Community Group Award from Keep the Midlands Beautiful. The award recognizes the school both for all the gardens and other green projects on campus and for the clean-up and beautification work student and parent volunteers have done in the surrounding community.
Much of that work, both on campus and beyond, is an outgrowth of Heathwood’sSEED program. Formed in 2011, SEED (School Environmental Education) is a faculty, parent, and student environmental education team that organizes and shares environmental efforts. Students and SEED volunteers have created, and continue to maintain, many of the distinctive gardens around campus, including the art gardens, the edible forest, the medicine wheel, and the sacred and holy plants garden.
Student and parent volunteers have also been active in clean-up efforts in the local community, including extensive work keeping a section of South Beltline Boulevard free of trash and debris. That work also recently earned Heathwood recognition for “outstanding volunteer efforts” from the Gills Creek Watershed Association.
These kinds of projects, says SEED co-director and Heathwood science teacher Todd Beasley, are a natural outgrowth of Heathwood’s identity and its location. “Sustainability and engagement with the natural world have always been part of Heathwood’s mission,” Beasley says. “And because we are fortunate enough to have this large, ecologically diverse campus, we’re able to take advantage of it and use the outdoors as a teaching tool across the curriculum.”
School-wide appreciation for all that our campus has to offer is one reason Heathwood has become a Green Steps school, committing itself to being actively engaged in conserving, protecting and restoring the environment. The school’s efforts in living up to these commitments have been extensive, earning Heathwood recognition as one of 17 Certified Green Steps schools in South Carolina.
It was Heathwood’s many Green Steps projects that earned the school a nomination for the Keep the Midlands Beautiful award, Beasley says. But just as important, he notes, is the work of Heathwood’s grounds crew, students, and parents: “Winning this award is great recognition for all the SEED group, including faculty like Jim Morris, Mary Stuart Hardy, Molly Roddey, and Valerie Moore, parent volunteers like Gina Elliott, the ‘adopt a garden’ volunteers, Willis Ware and our community service program, Stan Wood and the PEAK program, Walt Spiegel and his staff who work so hard to keep our grounds beautiful, and of course our students. Great job, everybody—thank you for the time and effort you have given!”