Story in Brief
The Central Savannah River Area Environmental Science Education Cooperative (ESEC) is a variety of governmental, private and nonprofit groups committed to environmental education. The ESEC group held an annual ECO-Meet as an environmental science competition for area middle schoolers. Students from four counties in South Carolina and seven counties in Georgia were invited to participate in the even, held in North Augusta, South Carolina in November of 2019. With education systems pushing programming that promotes STEM learning, Central Savannah River Area educators from counties in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) solicited outside sources to help with this science, technology, engineering and math curriculum. One of the goals of the ESEC group was to enrich STEM education and give middle school children a hands-on event to showcase major issues that exist in the local environment. ESEC sanctioned the ECO-Meet in 2003 as a fun and educational contest to engage area 6th-8th graders in this science and environmental learning experience. Led by the UGA Richmond County Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension agent, the ESEC group hosted the ECO-Meet competition in North Augusta, South Carolina. Each team consisted of four youth in grades 6th-8th from various schools in the Central Savannah River Area. To prepare for the contest, six of the member organizations from the ESEC prepared a learning package related to a subject that each organization promoted as a mission. The 2019 ECO-Meet hosted 31 teams (124 youth) consisting of 19 area middle schools with 42 volunteers to help with the event.