Every year, EEASC recognizes those who make a difference in supporting environmental education in South Carolina. Congratulations to the 2015 Annual Award Winners!
Randall Isherwood is the owner of Gardener’s Outpost, a local garden center in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina in Business and Environmental Studies and is a Certified Professional Nurserymen.
Mr. Isherwood has developed a strong business model that focuses on local, sustainable and organic products and practices. Mr. Isherwood has taken a decade of experience working in wholesale and retail gardening, coupled with a lifelong passion for gardening, and created innovative and sustainable ways to garden. His gardening techniques stem from the fundamentals of nature, and he adds the human touch to create an ecosystem for plants to thrive. He can adapt his technique to virtually any application, such as hydroponics, raised beds or lawn repair and maintenance.
Mr. Isherwood regularly reaches out to the community to provide educational opportunities on a variety of sustainable gardening practices. He recently hosted a Bokashi composting workshop for local government agency educators; he welcomed a group of teachers participating in an environmental education professional development program at USC for a session on outdoor classroom tips, tricks, and ideas; and he provides exhibits and demonstrations for local environmental festivals such as Earth Sunday at Forest Lake Presbyterian Church.
Finally, he also works with residents in nearby apartment complexes to compost food waste and share his enthusiasm for gardening.
We are pleased to honor Gardener’s Outpost as the 2015 Green Business of the Year award.
Creative Connections is an adult group devoted to creative expression, growth, and inspiration through art. For several years, Creative Connections has supported SC environmental education through their art projects. For three years they have made repurposed sculptures to highlight local species, such as an eye-catching frog, a sea turtle and a spider, to bring awareness to how these species are being affected by climate change.
Their art projects have been displayed with educational information at local events, libraries and museums. Also, each year, they make items to donate to silent auctions for EEASC, Recycling Coalition of SC and Keep the Midlands Beautiful. Many of our EEASC members have purchased their wonderful paintings on repurposed wood and window blinds. They have also painted and donated a repurposed plastic “rain barrel.”
The power of art is only surprising to those who have not displayed a creative art sculpture on an education table at an event. Queen La Leap Frog, their first eco-creation, has hopped throughout Richland, Lexington, Charleston and Beaufort counties. Turtles made from bicycle helmets and plastic bowls and spoons are very popular with teachers; and, a spider, built on a broken umbrella, is a favorite of children. Environmental educators are allowed to “borrow” the sculptures and then bring them back for other environmental educators to borrow. There is always a waiting list of educators wanting to borrow them.
Creative Connections responds every year to requests by environmental educators, and their creations never disappoint. Recently, without being asked, they donated a new, repurposed sculpture named Peacocky, who will make his debut at the Summer Celebration of Water in Columbia in August.
We are pleased to honor Creative Connections with the 2015 Non-Profit of the Year award.
With only 5 years as a professional educator, Lisa has established herself as one of the leading voices of environmental education in the state. After graduating from the Honors College at College of Charleston, she moved to Nashville, TN, and gave many hours of her time each week to the Warner Park Nature Center, helping to organize festivals and hikes for children and assisting with educational courses for children and adults.
She returned to South Carolina and received her Master’s in the Art of Teaching from the University of South Carolina in 2009. Lisa spent the summer of 2009 as the director of Fast Forward Environmental Science Camp, and added Middle Level Science to her teaching certificate. She began her first position as 7th grade science teacher at Lexington Middle School and immediately began an informal recycling program, carrying much of the material to be recycled off campus in her own vehicle. She secured grant funding the following school year and began an official program that continues today. She partnered with the art teacher to produce beautiful recycled art and to raise awareness on campus about the importance of sustainability.
Lisa added 30 hours of graduate classes over the next three years, including many environmental education and wildlife biology courses. She took courses in Project Wild and Project Learning Tree, and they became an important part of her diverse curriculum. She moved to Florence, SC, in the summer of 2013 and began teaching 7th grade science at Sneed Middle School in the fall. She secured grant funding and began the first recycling program in Florence School District 1 at the beginning of the school year. Her recycling program is now self-sufficient, and she has organized an Environmental Action Club that has enjoyed a stellar first year. She is an active volunteer at Kalmia Gardens in Hartville, a certified Master Gardener, and a certified facilitator for Project Wet. Lisa serves on the Board of Directors of Keep Florence Beautiful as Secretary and is working to develop an education curriculum for the organization. She is also active with our own Environmental Education Association of South Carolina.
We are very happy to honor Lisa Perry with the 2015 Environmental Educator of the Year award.