Young people bring a great deal of energy and enthusiasm to their activities. The Coalition began establishing partnerships with schools and other youth groups in the Spartanburg, South Carolina, area during 2006 and has continued this initiative each year since then. These young people were made aware that they can use their talents to battle kudzu in their communities. The consequences of this work are perhaps best summarized in a letter sent by Spartanburg Urban Youth Corp to thank Coalition volunteer Paul Savko for his help.
Because of the success of the early work with students, the Coalition decided to formalize this program for schools, and name it "Students Knocking Out Kudzu". You can listen to an audio interview (MP3, 4 MB, 8 Minutes) conducted by Doug Keel of South Carolina Educational Radio about the program, and read Chapman High School teacher Tina Gragg (PDF, 14 KB) describe her experience in "Kudzu Wrangling at Chapman High School". At one time the program included events such as Kudzu Kapers, which included art and writing contests. No future Kudzu Kapers is planned. The Coalition shall encourage other scholastic methods of stimulating student creativity, such as by providing kudzu topics for science fair projects. The Coalition hopes to help fund these activities by seeking donations and supplying tools used to remove kudzu.
We also seek information to help us carry out this work. One such example is Building a Framework for Service-Learning: The South Carolina Experience (2000, PDF, 2.2 MB), by former South Carolina State Superintendent of Education Inez Tenenbaum. Let us know if you know of similar sources of information. Please contact us if you do.
Here are pages on this website that show how they made a difference, and had fun doing it.