Posted March 27, 2013
BERRY NAMED OUTSTANDING CONSERVATION EDUCATOR
IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Blake Berry, Agri-Science Instructor and an FFA advisor at Pendleton High School, has been named the Outstanding Secondary School Conservation Educator in South Carolina by the SC Association of Conservation Districts, according to John W. Parris, director of the SC Agri-News Service and media consultant to the Pendleton High School Agri-Science Department. The award was presented at the association’s annual conference in Columbia, SC, in February. Berry represented the Anderson Soil and Water Conservation District as its Conservation Teacher of the Year Award recipient.
Berry was recognized for his exceptional leadership in teaching Natural Resource Conservation and Environmental Quality. In addition to his successful classroom instruction, Berry has achieved an enviable record of accomplishments in preparing students to compete in FFA Career Development Events. During his four years as an Agri-Science instructor at Pendleton, he has coached three State FFA Championship Land Evaluation and Soil Identification teams that competed in the national finals in Oklahoma. He has also trained two State FFA Championship Wildlife Management teams and one State Championship FFA Agronomy team for national finals held in conjunction with the National FFA Convention each year.
Among Berry’s other outstanding accomplishments during the 2011-12 school year was his selection to receive a $5000 Busch-sponsored grant to use in developing a sophisticated project to educate his students about Natural Resource Conservation Technology. This project concentrates on soil and water conservation, composting, vermiculture, biotechnology, food waste recycling and rain water catchment, retention, distribution and micro-irrigation. Many of the activities of the project are taking place in the FFA Market Garden and Sustainable Mini-Farm developed by Berry and his students on land adjacent the school campus.
Berry planned and conducted two very special Environmental Education Study Tours in 2012 including a four-day Wildlife Study Tour to the Low Country of South Carolina with visits to Hobcaw Barony Wildlife Refuge and Research Facility and Waites Island, an undeveloped barrier island near North Myrtle Beach. He also planned and coordinated the first-ever International Study Tour for Agri- Science students to the Republic of Costa Rica in 2012. The trip was designed to provide the students an opportunity to experience the agriculture and ecology of another country.
“In other professional recognition, Berry has been named Teacher of the Year at Pendleton High School, the Outstanding Agricultural Educator in the Piedmont Region of South Carolina, an Outstanding Young Leader in Up-State South Carolina, president-elect of the historic Pendleton Farmers Society and president-elect of the SC Agricultural Educators Association,” Mr. Parris said. “The Pendleton High School Agri-Science Department was named the Outstanding Program in the Southeastern States Region and one of the top six programs in the nation in 2012.”