Protecting the Gills Creek Watershed through Conservation, Advocacy, Restoration, and Education.
Banner Image: USC's Belser Arboretum contains an armored unnamed tributary of Gills Creek.
The elementary students at Cutler Jewish Day School enjoy more time outdoors than the typical 15 minute recess. Nature-based learning is prioritized, and exploring the environment, climbing trees, and playing in the stream in the woods on campus are an integral part of their education. But concerns over water quality have kept the children out of the stream this year.
We were introduced to a teacher at the school who requested that we come out and test the stream water. So we grabbed our monitoring kit and led Ms. Val's class through the Adopt-a-Stream testing process.
Results showed that the dissolved oxygen in the water was abysmally low (bad for aquatic critters) and bacteria levels were alarmingly high (bad for tiny humans).
The kids' teacher didn't take the news that they have to stay out of the creek sitting down. Instead, she said,
"What can we do to make it better?"
With her refusal to accept keeping her students out of the creek as the end of the story, Ms. Val echoed the basic principle behind the existence of GCWA. How can we make it better? Let's start with the school's campus and make sure they've taken all the steps recommended in our Watershed Champion program, designed specifically to help individuals improve water quality in the watershed around them.
Then, with the help of the other teachers and the students, we'll take our message to the neighborhoods surrounding the school, and maybe, with enough of us working in tandem to "make it better," we'll actually improve the water quality in the tiny, unnamed creek that flows beside the school. Stay tuned as this community project unfolds!
- This stream becomes a "water feature" on the Forest Lake Golf Course and then pours into Forest Lake.
Thank you to Leonora Dillon (City of Columbia Water) for contributing the photo.
Thank you to Chanda Cooper (Richland Soil and Water Conservation Division) for introducing us to Ms. Val!
- Shout out to GCWA volunteers Courtney Rucker and Caroline Eastman!
Finally, thank you to Val Hoyt-Parrish and her class for welcoming us to their school and working to improve the watershed!
Want to learn more about the recently released Statewide Resilience Plan?
The SC Office of Resilience is hosting an information session in Columbia.
When? Monday, November 13th, at 1 p.m.
Where? Earlewood Park Community Center
Click HERE for details. See you there!
Board Member Honored as a Yale Distinguished Alumnus
Tom Kohlsaat is retired from the SC Department of Natural Resources, where he established and managed the SC Heritage Trust land protection program and the Nongame and Endangered Species management program. He was instrumental in establishing the Congaree Land Trust and remains active in a number of local organizations, namely as a board member for GCWA and the chairperson of our Technical Committee.
We're grateful Tom chooses to plug his energy for the environment in with us at Gills Creek, and we were so proud to learn that he would be honored by the Yale School of the Environment for his work identifying top conservation priorities. His work eventually led to the conservation of thousands of acres of ecologically significant lands in South Carolina. Make sure to give him a big pat on the back the next time you see him for all he has done and continues to do.
Read all about it HERE!
(BTW, the Technical Committee is seeking new members. Join us at our next meeting, Wednesday, Nov. 8th, @ 4 p.m. in the conference room of the Hamilton - Owens Airport.)
Remember back in August when we were so excited to be filming for a segment on SCETV's "Making it Grow?" Well the air date is next Tuesday!
Tuesday, Nov. 14th | 7 p.m. | SCETV
If you watch the episode, please remember: we filmed on the hottest August day ever. Don't judge our flushed faces!
We've been hanging out at the Forest Acres Farmers Market once a month, sharing information about Gills Creek and selling canvas bags. We'd love for you to stop by and say hello or join us as a volunteer!
Click here to volunteer as a table host at the Farmers Market
Our NEW Adopt-a-Highway location - Fort Jackson Blvd - will allow us to clean up along a portion of the Palmetto Trail and will help us regularly maintain Gills Creek at Crowson Road.
Native Plants Improve Water Quality
Celebrate Arbor Day and do your part to be a Watershed Champion by choosing to include native plants in your home landscape.
Where can one buy native plants?
Midlands Native Tree & Shrub Sale
Saturday, Dec. 2, 2023
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Woodrow Wilson Family Home, 1705 Hampton St., Columbia, SC
Details and plant list can be found HERE.
My goodness, there's a lot of information packed into this month's newsletter! But we can't stop before we thank each and every one of you who attended our Fall Celebration and Annual Meeting last week!
We had a blast getting to know you and sharing some of what we've been up to over the last year. And we want you to know that this relationship is reciprocal! Reply to this email and let us know what you think.
We're proud to be part of the community within the Gills Creek Watershed, and we hope you'll continue to support us - in whatever form that takes for you - as we near the end of this year and look towards 2024. Thank you!
Thanks as well to our many volunteers, the Parlor Project for donating their musical time, and Trish Jerman for submitting photos of the evening!
All content written by Bailey Slice Parker, Executive Director, GCWA
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