Bell Wins Educator of the Month Award
S.C. Sea Grant Consortium Marine Education Specialist Elizabeth Vernon (E.V.) Bell was selected by the Lowcountry STEM Collaborative as its June 2018 STEM Educator of the Month.
The award is given to an educator in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) field in Beaufort, Colleton, Charleston, Dorchester, Berkeley, or Georgetown counties. WCIV-TV in Charleston is an award co-sponsor.
Bell is the first non-classroom educator to earn the award, which honors someone who increases STEM awareness and literacy and bolsters the STEM workforce. The group surprised Bell with the award presentation on June 21, 2018, while she was directing a teacher workshop for a new program.
Bell is involved in a number of education projects, most notably the From Seeds to Shoreline (S2S) program the Consortium began in 2011 in partnership with the S.C. Department of Natural Resources and Clemson University Extension. S2S teaches students about the importance of salt marshes through in-school germination and marsh-edge planting of Spartina alterniflora, or smooth cordgrass. Bell started S2S and helped it grow to include over 40 schools in the Southeast. By 2018, thousands of students had planted more than 30,000 Spartina seedlings in the region’s marshes.
This year, Bell and the Consortium have joined with Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission, Grice Marine Lab, and Clemson University Extension on the BioDiscovery Project, which will introduce students to microscopic marine invertebrates that build up on discs suspended in natural waterways. She also has been integral in planning a new Palmetto Environmental Education Certification program and helps coordinate the Science Café series, which brings educators together in non-formal settings to hear from experts in STEM fields.
Photo: E.V. Bell by Susan Ferris Hill/S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.