• HECES Green Steps Header

    H. E. Corley

    Green Steps Program

    "Make Every Day Earth Day"

    H. E. Corley Green Steps logo

    At HEC, it is our mission to do our part as Corley Leaders to educate, advocate for and protect the environment in our school, homes and community for a greener and safer future.

    What is Green Steps? http://www.greenstepschools.com/  South Carolina Green Steps Schools is an environmental education initiative that encourages individual schools to take annual sustainable steps toward becoming more environmentally responsible.

    Recycle Earth

    H. E. Corley Leadership Magnet & Montessori Magnet School is proud to continue our status as an official Green Steps School. As present and future leaders of our environmental community, we continue to maintain and initiate new projects that involve teaching and learning about how to conserve through reducing, reusing, and recycling, how to protect water and restore our soil and habitat.

    Green Step Committee Members

    Jason Pollock, Principal  person hugging the earth

    Rosemary Bowie, Chair

    Robin Howell, Farm to Five Garden Coordinator 

    Khaldoune Bencheikh, Art

     Corley Leaders Recycle

    HECES Recycling Center Banner

    HEC operates a school wide program conserve and reduce the amount of trash that ends up in our local landfill by Reducing, Reusing and Recycling.  Our elementary school has an enrollment of approximately 600 students or more each year.  Our "Go Green" Recycle Leadership Team is made up of approximately 56 Student Recycle Leader Captains (2 captains from each homeroom class in grades K-5).  Leader Captains are responsible for overseeing recycling by their classmates in classrooms in grades K-5.  Fifth grade leader captains are responsible for pick-up of recycled materials in Preschool/4K and other designated areas of the school such as the office/workroom, cafeteria, related arts classrooms, etc. on Tuesday morning of each week.  Our school recycles paper, newspaper, magazines, cardboard, plastic bottles and aluminum cans.  Students also provide tips on how to reduce and reuse items as well as Recycling Reminders/Tips on the school's CNN morning show and postings in our school's RecycleCenter.  Grade levels are recognized for outstanding recycling efforts.  HEC along with other schools across the D5 district, striveHECES Recycling Bins to reduce energy by putting all recycled materials in the large recycle containers on our school property, thus reducing the number of site "pick-ups" per week from a local recycling company in partnership with our district.  

    Thanks to money received through a SCDHEC grant, our team was able to   purchase an additional large yard container to hold increased amounts of materials making our recycle process easier and more efficient.  

    At HEC, we recycle paper, magazines, cardboard, plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and ink cartridges.


                                               DHEC Representative            DHEC Visitation       

    Representatives from DHEC visisted with our 5th graders to teach about sorting recycle materials both at school and at home. 

     Corley Leaders Reduce & Reuse

    Trash Can with measuring tape around middle showing lossing weight

    Students are learning about the impact of waste reduction on the earth.  Our school uses a combination of Tap and Stack and washable trays to reduce the amount of trash generated during the breakfast and lunch meals.  Our school is using washable trays.  The Tap and Stack program is used only if a situation would require the use of disposable trays. We have also set up an ongoing reuseable agreement with new Cafeteria staff to reuse appropriate containers such as plastice strawberry and cherry tomato containers for organization and storage containers throughout the school.


    Reusable Stackables

    Recycle materials were used to make borders for art displays throughout our school.

    Recycled borders

    Under the direction of our art teacher, Mr. Bencheikh, HEC students and other community members, worked together to create a Rangoli artpiece at the Irmo Community Park using eco-friendly materials.


      H. E. Corley Participates in District's Farm to Five Program 

    Farm to Five logo with tractor

    Prior to D5 receiving a Farm to Five Grant, H. E. Corley likes to share that our school was one of the first in our district to initiate Edible Gardening at our school.  Our gardening experience has successfully expanded now that we have support as a part of the Farm to Five Program in our District.

    Corley Leaders at HEC are promoting the importance of a healthy life style.  We have been learning about planting, maintaining, and harvesting an edible garden.  With the support of local farms and nurseries, in our five raised beds, students have planted lettuce, kale, swiss chard, collards, cabbage, tomatoes, squash, zucchini, lemon cucumbers, pickling cucumbers, dark skin cucumbers, corn, lemon basil, cinnamon basil, purple Genovese basil, broccoli, and cauliflower.

    Some of these plants were started from seeds that were donated by Woodley’s Garden Center, and many seedlings came from The Humble Farm in Gilbert, SC.

    We recently received four highbush variety blueberry bushes that are several years old from a farm in Calhoun County.  We look forward to picking, preparing, and enjoying the blueberries in June.  Our vegetables will be harvested several times over the summer and into early fall by our Champs afterschool and summer program students. Some of the produce from our garden is given to the school’s cafeteria to be prepared and served in school lunches and some is given to students to take home and enjoy as a reward for helping in the garden.

    There are some opportunities over the summer where students will be able to work in small groups to prepare their own snacks using the fresh produce grown on school grounds.



         Students planting the vegetable garden      More students planting the vegetable garden  vegetable garden      another picture of the vegetable garden


    Water Barrel


                      platter of potatos, onions, carrots from the garden                 bowls of watermelon and green beans from the garden     student checking the cabbage plants                students showing off the cabbage grown in the garden

    CompostingCorley Crocodile Farmer

    In conjunction with our edible garden, HEC has initiated a composting project in order to feed and restore the soil for growing our plants. Last school year, students constructed a compost bin located between the raised beds in the edible garden. 

    Designated students collect food scraps from the cafeteria as well as dry materials such as leaves from our adjacent Palmetto Garden to produce the compost.  Students throughout the school have been learning about composting and the importance of composting to restore, enrich and protect our soil.

    Students use a rain barrel received through our school's previous "Farm to School" grant to collect water for irrigating our raised beds.

     compost pile      students getting worms for the compost pile      student holding a worm


    raised garden bed and plants ready for planting      plants in the raised garden bed      student showing off the plants in the garden bed

    Breathe Better

    B2 Breathe Better logo

    HEC also has a Green Steps project to protect air quality.  In conjunction with the "Breathe Better anti-idling campaign" sponsored by SCDHEC, HEC students are studying about air quality and ways to "spare the air".  To comply with the "b2" NO IDLING Campaign, HEC parents and district transportation have been asked to turn off the engine when arriving early to the school pick-up or drop off line until the line starts to move! NO IDLING signs are posted in both carpool areas of the school. Idling for 30 seconds uses more gas than restarting the engine! Parents have been provided tips for sparing the air:

    • Carpool with family and friends to school or activities.
    • Give the car a break - walk or ride a bike to nearby places.
    • Steer clear of drive-through windows.  Park and go inside.  Sometimes this actually saves you time!
    • Obey the speed limit.  This saves gas and cuts down on emissions.

    DHEC Ozone Quality Program Using Flags

    HEC is one of several South Carolina schools helping to protect the health of their communities by participating in the Air Quality Flag Program. Each day, students raise one of five different colored flags on the school’s flag pole so residents know when an elevated ozone level is expected and can plan outdoor activities accordingly. Students Share the Ozone Forecast Using Flags: Good, Moderate, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy.  To learn more about the Flag Program use this link.

    Ozone Flag

     HEC Habitat

    HEC continues work to improve our school habitat which was originally a new landscaping project conducted in conjunction with the Irmo Town Arbor Day Committee.  Efforts are to improve our school habitat by adding to new landscapes around our school property.  This year, birdhouse construction using recycled wood was conducted with interested students.  Students continue to learn about habitats and best placement for birdhouses on our school grounds.           


    palmetto tree habitat with flowering bushes      front of the school with new trees and bushes surrounding the flag pole      more landscaping with trees, flowering bushes and flowers


    Palmetto Garden logo



     Make Every Day Earth Day

    HEC leaders focus not only on projects at school, but on teaching their families, friends and neighbors about the importance of recycling, reducing and reusing, protecting our air, soil and water and ways to make Every Day Earth Day!


    In October, 2nd grade held a Family Engagement event where families and students learned about how the weather effects the environment through literacy and fun make and take activities.

                                         2nd grade      2nd grade Family Engagement      2nd grade weather


    In April, second Grade held a family Earth Day Event.  Families came together to learn about ways to save environment including local resources and organizations that they can as a family become involved in.

    Students and their parents and siblings had the opportunity to:

    • Plant seeds
    • Write acrostic poems using Earth Day related words
    • Make stickers and bumper stickers with quotes and artwork related to Earth Day
    • Jointly say and sign an Earth Day pledge
    • Enjoy locally grown refreshments

    Earth Day Family Night     student art work - Save the Earth  Earth Day activities      student art work - Love the Earth Earth Day activities    student art work showing how to recycle

    HEC congratulates second grade on being evironmentally aware! 


    Starfall.com icon  Starfall.com Earth Day Activity