The SC Governor’s School for Agriculture at John de la Howe (JDLH) and the Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests (FMS) have more than a few things in common - first, Agriculture, and second, they have a passion to educate and mentor the youth of South Carolina.
A partnership could not have evolved more organically; it is all falling into place with the coordination and help of USDA Forest Service’s Sub-Regional Volunteer and Service Program Specialist (SC/GA) Jules DeFriese, who arranged for a young adult trail crew recruited through Student Conservation Association (SCA) to train and to assist with trail work on the school grounds.
Jules Defriese commented, “The Forest Service is committed to shared stewardship, which often means creating connections and facilitating conversations among trusted partners that have the potential to change the way our public lands are managed in collaboration. Working alongside the SC Governor’s School for Agriculture and SCA, we hope to not only accomplish critical on-the-ground projects but also train the next generation of conservation stewards. We are excited about fostering and growing this new partnership and see incredible potential for success!”
The SC Governor’s School for Agriculture is not only a new concept; it is being executed and carried out at a historical landmark. It is also being touted as an innovator and currently one of a kind curriculum! Hunter Morton, Environmental & Natural Resources Teacher at JDLH, stated, "Outdoor recreation is one of the many ways for our students to get outside and enjoy the peace and quiet our forest has to offer. We are excited to have the SCA work on our trails alongside our students, sharing their purpose and passion while improving our trail system!"
Timothy Keown, the President, stated, “I am looking forward to meeting each young adult coming to our campus as they blaze new trails in our forest land. I envision our partnership to continue to grow as our School, and the SCA share many of the same goals and overall mission to conserve our natural resources for future generations."
What role do the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests play in this partnership?
Rick Lint, Francis & Marion & Sumter National Forests Supervisor stated, “This is a great opportunity for students in South Carolina interested in working in natural resources and agriculture. The Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests has a lot to offer from being a good neighbor for the teachers and students to use for their learning to partnering on projects and gaining field experience, i.e.” (The Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture).
Both organizations are working on more projects this next year and we will be reporting out what materializes, so stay tuned!
To learn more about these three organizations click on the links below: SC Governor’s School for Agriculture at John de la Howe https://delahowe.sc.gov/; the Francis Marion & Sumter National Forests www.fs.usda.gov/scnfs, and the Student Conservation Association https://www.thesca.org/.