The Hanahan Middle School Eco Challenge team was one of two first-place winners in the national final competition of the Lexus Eco Challenge.
The team will receive $15,000 altogether in prize money with the students receiving $10,000 in college scholarships, $3,000 for the school and $2,000 for the teacher sponsor.
The winning project focused on wetland habitat restoration and oyster reefs. The team informed people around the region about the decline of oyster reefs, which are home to many wetland species.
As part of the project, the students teamed with DNR's SCORE project to help bag recycled oyster shells and test water quality. By attending several local oyster roasts, the team ensured 450 bushels of shells were recycled and bagged.
The team also created a flier and brochure about the issue and mailed more than 300 of them to marinas across the country to post on their docks. With the help of YouTube, Facebook, news media and partnerships, 162,000 people were informed about the issue, said Alexandra Davis, team teacher sponsor.
Videos for the project are still on YouTube under "Oyster Restoration: HMS Eco Challenge."
Team members include eighth-graders Rachael Caddell, Jordan Farley, Alex Krunich, Alyssa Lamp, Amelia McCulloch, Julia Miller, Karly Nemeth, Taylor Parker and Sara Richards.