Officials from Lexington School District Two arrived at West Columbia’s House of Raeford Thursday morning with a signed banner and dozens of thank you cards from students who recently benefited from a donation by the organization.

The South Carolina Waterfowl Association was able to send representatives to every elementary school in the district to educate students on local wildlife thanks to a $10,000 contribution from House of Raeford.

SCWA officials conducted four different sessions with all third through fifth grade classes across the district, bringing in a variety of wildlife including snakes, turtles and ducks for children to observe.

“They would use that to talk about ecosystems as a whole, and how everything is really just a balance, and where humans fit into that. If we understand how that works, we can make decisions that help the environment,” said Joe Gonzalez, SCWA education programs director.

According to Lexington Two PowerSchool Coordinator Casey Hallman, there were four different programs conducted by the SCWA, each focusing on a different type of animal group and environment. Nearly 2,000 students engaged in the programs across the district.


House of Raeford’s Chuck Underhill said he is thankful they were able to help.

“We’re grateful for the school district and the Waterfowl Association for their flexibility – the district’s willingness to allow that to happen during this crazy time. It was a large step of faith to allow folks into their building,” Underhill said. “We’re grateful that we were able to do something cool in a crazy year.”

Underhill also said House of Raeford plans to partner again next year in some capacity, whether it’s taking students out to the SCWA facility, or more hands-on interactions in the classrooms.