About the Director: Dr. Jack Turner
The Watershed Ecology Center was founded at the University of South Carolina Upstate by Dr. Jack Turner in 1999. Dr. Turner's vision for the center includes scientific research on the watershed ecology of the region, community outreach, and educational programming for local schools. The center is a privately funded endeavor supported by local businesses, water utilities, and grants.
In August 2001, the Watershed Education Program was started as an outreach program because center believes that touching a child, touches a family, which in turn touches a community. WEC programming is designed to educate children in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade about the value of aquatic environments and the need to be caretakers of our water resources. The programs are designed around South Carolina science standards, prepares students for the PACT, and are offered at no charge.
During the center's first year of educational outreach, over 3,389 students were reached under the leadership of Ingrid Q. Norris who only worked part-time. Ingrid began the center's educational programming by offering only one type of program, but quickly developed a variety of programs that required a full-time educator.
Currently, the center serves over 17,000 students and adults in our educational programming and community outreach events, and is staffed by one full-time and two part-time educators. Programming has extended into the summer to include pontoon classroom and several science camps. Representatives of the center can also be found at special community events throughout the year.
Today, the center continues to grow. At this time, over 100 animal artifacts, specimens, and live animals are stored at the center. The WEC continues to pursue scientific research and development of new environmental education curriculum.
Read more about Dr. Turner here.