Stop your engines: DHEC honors local school for going green

(Brandon Geier/WCIV)

DANIEL ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- Daniel Island Academy got a visit from Department of Health and Environmental Control officials Tuesday.

The private preschool was presented the Spare The Air Award for its "anti-idling" campaign. The Breathe Better (B2) project made staff, students and parents aware of the negative health and environmental impact of vehicle idling.

"It shows that we are taking the steps in educating our children on saving the quality of our air and how important that is," said Director of Daniel Island Academy Kerry Nowosielski. "We educate our families as well that when they come to drop their children off at school, whether it's 95 degrees outside or 35 degrees that it is important that you shut the car off, get out and walk your child in so they're not breathing in those fumes of the cars."

When parents enroll their children into the private school, they also sign the anti-idling policy that's included in the school's handbook. How did the parents respond?

"For some families it was a bit of a switch because when it is really hot they want to keep their car running to keep it cooled," said Nowosielski. "But when you educate them and say 'This is why' and we want the children to breathe clean air when they get out of their cars, every parent shuts off their engine."

The school also encouraged families to use alternative forms of transportation including{} bicycles, golf carts and walking.

Charleston Mayor Joe Riley accepted the award on behalf of the school. He spoke on how important it is to adopt green initiatives and educate children on how they can improve the environment.