The Avian Conservation Center, renowned Charleston based education and conservation center, receives grant from Dominion Energy

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Funding will transform students’ learning and study bald eagle populations in S.C.

The Avian Conservation Center, a renowned educational, conservation, and scientific organization in Charleston, has received a $10,000 Environmental Education and Stewardship Grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation, the non-profit arm of Dominion Energy.

The grant will fund the Lowcountry Environmental Access Program, which combines the Center’s medical, educational, research, and conservation objectives to foster awareness, concern, and protection for South Carolina’s treasured natural resources in the face of increasing and dramatic growth trends and landscape scale alterations to crucial habitat areas.

The Lowcountry Environmental Access Program will utilize the critical insight gained from the professional medical treatment of injured birds in crafting a multi-disciplinary, STEAM-based education curriculum aligned with SC standards for students, teachers, and individuals across the state. The power and beauty of raptors cast them as unparalleled ambassadors in public education, dramatically improving retention of program information among participants. A special focus will be placed on outreach in Jasper and Beaufort Counties. Jasper County also is home to Dominion Energy’s recently completed solar farm.

Additionally, this program will support a Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey to be conducted in January 2019. The annual count is coordinated nationally by the US Army Corps of Engineers as an important tool in monitoring the recovery of bald eagle populations. The Center manages the South Carolina component of the survey which covers more than 1,500 miles of survey routes and coordinates over 135 volunteers.

Collectively this program will impact the lives of an estimated 2,000 students in the Beaufort region and more than 40,000 across the state, give more than 800 injured birds of prey and shorebirds a second chance at freedom, and contribute vital data on the health of bald eagle populations to a national survey. As human activity continues to impose rapid and dramatic changes on the natural landscape, these efforts will encourage environmental stewardship and improve natural spaces across South Carolina for future generations.

“Dominion Energy is truly honored to partner with the Aviation Conservation Center in educating K-12 students and the public about the importance of environmental stewardship,” said Kristen Beckham, external affairs representative for Dominion Energy. “By working with the Center for Birds of Prey, we can play an important role in educating the next generation, preserving natural resources and protecting critical wildlife habitats across South Carolina.”


About the Avian Conservation Center

Founded in 1991 in response to the crucial need of an avian conservation center in South Carolina, the Center utilizes the unique role of wild birds as unsurpassed indicators of the overall health of our ecosystem to preserve the future of the natural world, upon which we all depend. The Center’s mission is to identify and address vital environmental issues by providing medical care to injured birds of prey and shorebirds, and through educational, research and conservation initiatives. The Center for Birds of Prey is the principle operating division of the Avian Conservation Center and is open to the public every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit or call 843.971.7474.

About Dominion Energy

Nearly 6 million customers in 19 states heat and cool their homes and power their businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D). The company’s record of reliable, safe and clean energy regularly places it among American’s most-admired utilities. One of the nation’s leading operators of solar energy, Dominion Energy is one of just three companies to have reduced carbon intensity by more than 40 percent since 2000.

Dominion Energy’s Environmental Education and Stewardship grants support a variety of initiatives that benefit schools, organizations and communities across the country. In 2018, Dominion Energy is awarding $1 million in grants to 129 organizations in 12 states working to improve natural spaces or encourage environmental stewardship. Since 2003, Dominion has donated nearly $32 million to a wide variety of environmental projects across its footprint. To learn more, please visit, Facebook or Twitter.

MUSC named one of the first national telehealth centers of excellence with HRSA grant

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CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ —?The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has been awarded a $600,000 grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The award marks MUSC as one of only two national Telehealth Centers of Excellence in the United States. As a national telehealth coordinating center, MUSC will continue to provide a range of telehealth services at more than 200 locations statewide, leading and modeling the way for health care delivery through advanced technology.

“This is a phenomenal achievement,” said Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., MUSC Health CEO and vice president for Health Affairs. “This grant acknowledges the premier position that our telehealth team has established not only in South Carolina, but across the nation. It serves as another clear affirmation of our institution’s commitment to fulfill our vision – to lead health innovation for the lives we touch.”

As a founding member of the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance (SCTA), a collaboration to empower care providers and patients across the state to effectively use telehealth, MUSC is uniquely qualified to lead these efforts. The institution has a long history of executing its three-part mission in a state with largely rural areas and high rates of chronic disease among a particularly impoverished and medically underserved population. Familiar with the patient care, research, and educational leadership talent within the institution, the South Carolina legislature has generously supported expanding telehealth across the state through the SCTA, acknowledging MUSC’s proven track record of achieving astronomical growth in telehealth services while keeping cost effectiveness at the forefront.

“This is one of the first of its kind HRSA grants with only two awarded in the entire country,” said Shawn Valenta, MUSC Center of Telehealth director. “Grant funds will allow the MUSC telehealth team to leverage the unique qualities intrinsic to our academic medical center and extend this mission nationally to accelerate the dissemination of best practices to achieve effective and efficient care.”

Through the grant, MUSC will continue to:

  • Look beyond using telehealth to merely replicate care over distance.
  • Achieve efficiencies within health care delivery and assess the impact on the patient, the referring site, the consulting provider, the payer, and the health care system.
  • Balance the need for population-level outreach while concurrently using a targeted approach to health system integration.
  • Foster a culture of collaboration and understand the importance of interdisciplinary efforts.
  • Strive for deep understanding of barriers and facilitators for the diffusion of innovations in rural health care settings and team experience in overcoming these barriers.
  • Enhance alignment of historically competing health systems for the benefit of patients.
  • Reinforce the commitment and expertise necessary to use evidence-based, data-driven approaches to identify needs for telehealth services, and to monitor and improve existing programs.
  • Work with legislators and policy-makers to develop and maintain bipartisan support for telehealth initiatives.
  • Demonstrate robust financial accountability and efficient use of resources for telehealth.
  • Rely on proven ability to recognize and facilitate the development and testing of new ideas for improving rural health and the care of underserved populations.
  • Build upon high levels of provider acceptance through innovative education and training initiatives.

“The South Carolina legislature has placed a lot of trust in MUSC and the other members of the South Carolina Telehealth Alliance to use telehealth to improve access to quality health care in our state,” said South Carolina Representative G. Murrell Smith. “This achievement is a testament to the leadership, collaboration and hard work that’s been taking place these last few years. We are proud of what MUSC and SCTA have been able to accomplish thus far, and we take comfort knowing that no matter what happens with the health care debate at the national level, we have an effective and cost-conscious model that we hope one day will enable every citizen of our state to access the high-quality care they deserve.”

Smith’s colleague at the statehouse, South Carolina Senator Thomas C. Alexander, echoed the praise for MUSC and SCTA. “Innovation in health care is a critical component of how we offer forward-thinking solutions to today’s challenges,” he said. “The South Carolina legislature recognized the potential for MUSC and SCTA to carve the path to better health across this state by employing advanced technology and strategic thinking. This grant gives MUSC the opportunity to share that knowledge and success on a national level, and we are proud to support this extended impact.”

About MUSC
Founded in 1824 in Charleston, The Medical University of South Carolina is the oldest medical school in the South. Today, MUSC continues the tradition of excellence in education, research, and patient care. MUSC educates and trains more than 3,000 students and 700 residents in six colleges (Dental Medicine, Graduate Studies, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy), and has nearly 13,000 employees, including approximately 1,500 faculty members. As the largest non-federal employer in Charleston, the university and its affiliates have collective annual budgets in excess of $2.3 billion, with an annual economic impact of more than $3.8 billion and annual research funding in excess of $250 million. MUSC operates a 700-bed medical center, which includes a nationally recognized children’s hospital, the Ashley River Tower (cardiovascular, digestive disease, and surgical oncology), Hollings Cancer Center (a National Cancer Institute-designated center), Level I trauma center, Institute of Psychiatry, and the state’s only transplant center. In 2017, for the third consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report named MUSC Health the number one hospital in South Carolina. For more information on academic programs or clinical services, visit For more information on hospital patient services, visit

CONTACT:? Heather Woolwine

Charleston Parks Conservancy to Receive $50,000 NEA Grant to Fund Art along West Ashley Greenway, Bikeway

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CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Parks Conservancy has been recommended to receive a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for a project that would add public art activities along the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway.

The Conservancy is partnering with the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs and local community groups on a creative placemaking effort, including selection of artists to create public art and arts programming along the Greenway and Bikeway. The Conservancy is partnering with the City of Charleston to lead the master planning and design of a series of projects to transform the existing Greenway and Bikeway paths into connected linear parks. Temporary public art and arts programming will further the design of high-priority sites from the master plan.

The NEA announced 89 awards totaling $6.89 million supporting projects across the nation through the NEA’s Our Town program. Our Town is the NEA’s signature creative placemaking program that supports partnerships of artists, arts organizations and municipal government that work to revitalize neighborhoods. This practice places arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure and public safety strategies to address a community’s challenges. Creative placemaking highlights the distinctiveness of a place, encouraging residents to identify and build upon their local creative assets.

“This is an exciting opportunity to be part of transforming a significant public space that connects so many neighborhoods in the City of Charleston,” said Harry Lesesne, executive director of the Charleston Parks Conservancy. “Improving the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway will be a great benefit to all of the city’s residents, and the addition of public art will make it an even more engaging public space.”

Thanks largely to a $100,000 donation from The Speedwell Foundation, the Conservancy is seeking to develop a master plan for a combined 10.5-mile stretch of the Greenway and Bikeway. In coordination with the master plan and community engagement, the Conservancy will facilitate a series of public art projects and activities in several locations along the Greenway and Bikeway.

Site selection will be guided by priorities outlined in the master plan and the works of art will speak to the unique characteristics of each site and neighborhood. Programming around each public art display will engage community members of all ages.

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said, “We very much look forward to working with the Charleston Parks Conservancy, other local arts organizations, artists, and community members to re-imagine the West Ashley Greenway and Bikeway as centers of recreation, vitality and connectivity in Charleston.”

This project is part of the Conservancy’s new Art in the Parks initiative, a program of adding temporary, contemporary public art in Charleston’s city parks through collaborations with local and regional artists, arts organizations and community members. The Art in the Parks program also will offer educational opportunities and programming for all ages.

In April, the Conservancy awarded its first Charleston Parks Conservancy exhibition prize to Georgia artist Joseph Dreher, who participated in the the annual ArtFields competition showcasing the work of artists around the Southeast. Dreher will create a work of art to be displayed at a City of Charleston park later this year.

Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Darla Moore, the Conservancy is celebrating a decade of connecting people to their parks and creating stunning public spaces and strong communities throughout the City of Charleston.

Through a public-private partnership, the Conservancy works with the City and community organizations, neighborhoods and engaged citizens to transform and activate the city’s parks and green spaces. The Conservancy is currently working in 25 parks, including Colonial Lake, Allan Park, Wragg Square, McMahon Playground at Hampton Park, Magnolia Park and Community Garden, Marion Square, and Medway Park.

About the Charleston Parks Conservancy

The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring the people of Charleston to connect with their parks and together create stunning public places and a strong community. The Conservancy opens doors to individuals and organizations in Charleston wanting to engage with their parks and green spaces in a kaleidoscope of positive ways. With the help of its Park Angels, the Conservancy improves, enhances, and invigorates these spaces, making Charleston even better, stronger, and more successful. For more information about or to support the Charleston Parks Conservancy, please visit

Charleston Parks Conservancy on social media:

Twitter / Instagram @charlestonparks


NEA hashtag: #NEASpring17

West Ashley Greenway Official Website