Environmental Education

“In the end, we will only conserve what we love. We will only love what we understand. We will only understand what we are taught.” Baba Dioum.

Inspiring science learning and environmental stewardship:

We strive to provide students an exceptional educational experience that will not only reinforce understanding of their science and math requirements, but also stimulate their curiosity and inspire them to ask questions about the world and its inhabitants.

We offer our students the unique opportunity to appreciate their role in stewardship of our coastal ecosystems through service projects that allow them to apply their knowledge of ecosystems to make a tangible improvement in the environment.

bi6Environmental education was the primary motivation for founding the SEWEE Association in 1996 and it remains the cornerstone of Friends of Coastal South Carolina’s mission today.  Our emphasis on education is rooted in the belief that the future needs knowledgeable, engaged, and motivated citizens making decisions to continue to protect the valuable ecosystems of our national forest and wildlife refuges.  In a time when society is increasingly disconnected from its natural resources, the experiences our programs provide might be one of the only opportunities many children have to make a meaningful connection with nature.

When we began providing education programs about the ecosystems of Cape Romain and the Francis Marion National Forest at the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Center in 1997, we reached about 75 students a year in our first two years. Today we conduct over 14,000 interactions a year with students along the South Carolina coast, and have added Waccamaw and E.F. Hollings ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuges as partners. Our growth has been due to one teacher telling another about our programs. We think this is the best testament to the value of our offerings.

For more information or to schedule a program contact Education Programs Coordinator Crystal Herron at 843-928-3268 or email.

Earth Stewards








A 10-week scientific investigation program for fifth and seventh graders.
For 16 years our Earth Stewards program has been the cornerstone of our environmental education efforts. We believe this in-depth investigation program is one of our most effective educational tools.  This program is a combination of field investigations on the refuges and forest and in class lessons conducted at the participating school.

Earth Stewards, initially developed in conjunction with US Fish & Wildlife Service, is a ten week, standards-based curriculum which utilizes the plethora of natural resources provided by our national wildlife refuges and national forest to engage elementary and middle school students in real outdoor science investigations. Students begin by getting out of the classroom and onto the refuges and forest to investigate and collect data on freshwater wetlands and the salt marsh. Throughout the year we build on the knowledge gained from the initial investigation with field trips and in-class lessons about the flora and fauna of our local ecosystems. The data students collect (along with data from ongoing research projects on the refuges and forest) is used to give real world connections to the math, science, and critical thinking skills that they are learning in their classrooms.

One-day excursions and scientific investigation lessons.
Programs are available on topics ranging from reptiles, red wolves, and swallow-tailed kites to water quality and climate change.  Our programs are designed for elementary and middle school students and have been developed around the South Carolina educational standards.  Programs are offered free of charge and are available to all public, private and home school groups.

Our programs are conducted on the Francis Marion National Forest, Cape Romain, Waccamaw and ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuges and at the Sewee Visitor and Environmental Education Centers and the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge Visitor and Environmental Education Center.

Although most of our programs are offered during the school year our summer programs are equally popular.

Hear what our teachers are saying. 

Eva with her granddaughter in Alaska.

Eva with her granddaughter in Alaska.

“One of my Belle Hall fifth graders, Caroline, shared her excitement over participating in Earth Stewards with this statement,  “I was so excited about our field trip to the swamp, I couldn’t sleep last night.”  Doesn’t every teacher want that enthusiastic response to learning?  The Earth Stewards Program is a unique program and a teacher’s dream. Enthusiastic experts offer hands-on, real-life learning that is wrapped in the South Carolina science standards.   I am fortunate to have worked with this program for over ten years. Earth Stewards makes a difference in lives, teaching respect for our natural world. The lessons remain a part of those they touch.” 

Eva Stratos, NBCT
Belle Hall Elementary
SAIL Teacher