RCE Georgetown - 2022


Bucksport, South Carolina, USA
Coastal Carolina University 125 University Blvd.
United States
Bucksport, SC Sustainability Assessment
Basic Information
Title of project : 
Bucksport, SC Sustainability Assessment
Submitting RCE: 
RCE Georgetown
Contributing organization(s) : 
Coastal Carolina University, Association for the Betterment of Bucksport, The Winyah Riverkeeper Alliance, The American Rivers Alliance, The Coastal Conservation League, Furman University, the National Estuarine Research Reserve, The Southern Environmental Law Project, Clemson University
Focal point(s) and affiliation(s)
Pamela Martin
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coastal Carolina University
Janae Davis and Cheryl Cail
Organizational Affiliation: 
American Rivers Alliance
Becky Ryon
Organizational Affiliation: 
Coastal Conservation League
Format of project: 
Manuscript and Power point
Language of project: 
Date of submission:
Saturday, January 15, 2022
Resilience Planning
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Disaster Risk Reduction
At what level is the policy operating?: 
Geographical & Education Information
United States
Bucksport, SC
Address of focal point institution for project: 
Coastal Carolina University 125 University Blvd.
Kearns Hall 114F
Conway, SC 29528
Target Audience:
Socioeconomic and environmental characteristics of the area : 
Bucksport is a rural unincorporated town in South Carolina, USA, in the southwestern part of
Horry County, west of Myrtle Beach at the coordinates 33°40’37” N, 79°6’54” W. It is
nestled with the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge to the east and west. Bucksport sits
on two bodies of water; the Waccamaw River and the Cowford Swamp and is also near the
Great Pee Dee River. Bucksport is along US highway corridor 701 and is made up of forests and
farmland. Bucksport has a poverty rate of almost 30%, double that of the Myrtle Beach metro area. It has a rich Gullah Geechee heritage and a strong community, but has suffered from multiple years of storms and flooding, plus the pandemic, that have greatly impacted the community. These challenges are compounded by heirs property ownership issues - land passed down through generations with out deeds or a will. Without legal deeds, community members face obstacles in repairing their homes from floods.
Description of sustainable development challenge(s) in the area the project addresses: 
This project addresses the following Sustainable Development Goals: 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; 17: Partnerships; 8: Economic Development, 3: Good Health and Well being; 13: Climate Action; 1: No Poverty; 15: Life on Land; 14: Life on Water; 6: Clean Water and Sanitation; 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities through the lens of equity and reducing inequalities (SDG 10). The specific challenges are working within a historically underserved community, rich in Gullah Geechee heritage and culture, that has been impacted by multiple years of floods and storm events. This assessment project in collaboration with the Association of the Betterment of Bucksport measures community challenges and projects through the metrics of the SDGs for transparency and community strategic planning.
August, 2021 to May, 2023
This sustainability and resilience assessment was conducted to provide the baseline data and information for the Bucksport community so they can set goals and targets and measure progress, as well as apply for federal and state grants for sustainable development.
1. Understand the SDGs in the context of localizing the goals within a community
2. Work within a community-class collaborative partnership for sustainability planning
3. Examine best methods to measure community resilience and sustainability
4. Communicate the sustainability assessment to the community and to stakeholders for strategic planning and continued measurement
Activities and/or practices employed: 
1. Community dialogs
2. Qualitative and quantitative data collection
3. Flood mapping
4. Forest cover measurement
5. Climate data analysis
6. Economic development statistical analysis
Size of academic audience: 
By embedding a class of sustainability students within a community with multiple stakeholders in a coalition, students engaged in real resilience and sustainability planning and coordination. The students used multiple quantitative and qualitative methods to assess the SDGs in the context of Bucksport, SC to create a baseline for yearly evaluation and strategic planning for the community. As a result of this collaboration, the community secured a federal grant of $65,000 for sustainability planning. It is also now conducing a flooding assessment and pursuing new agricultural initiatives for locally grown produce. This assessment has formed the basis of community strategic planning and will be re-evaluated and updated annually.
Lessons learned: 
In the realm of education for sustainable development, we learned that embedding students in a community requires significant time in a semester outside of class to engage in field work and interviewing. This requires a more flexible semester schedule - something that place-based education for sustainable development emphasizes. As an SDG collaborative initiative, the sustainability assessment for Bucksport has demonstrated the strength of multiple stakeholder engagement for community sustainable development. This coalition consisted of nonprofits, researchers, and universities that came together to support the Bucksport community in their quest to create more resilient and sustainable planning and improved quality of life for its residents. Students engaged in this project saw firsthand the challenges and celebrations of working together at the local level to implement the SDGs.
Key messages: 
Localizing the SDGs within a community requires deep engagement with multiple community members and a foundation of community history, heritage, and culture. Collaborating with a community to engage the SDGs means letting the community lead the discussions, providing support and skills where needed to jointly craft SDG goals, targets, and indicators that accurately reflect community needs and vision for the future. The SDG Community Assessment project is a very valuable real world learning tool in the classroom, and a useful tool for future community planning.
Relationship to other RCE activities: 
This project was embedded in a Sustainability Methods and Tools class in the Sustainability and Coastal Resilience major at Coastal Carolina University. It was also part of the coalition for the Association for the Betterment of Bucksport and was used to support resilience planning grant initiatives, as well as a grant to continue the work in fall and spring 2022 and 2023.
This Sustainability Assessment was used as the foundation for grant funding for fall and spring 2023 sustainability planning grants at Coastal Carolina University.


File Name Caption for picture Photo Credit
Image icon FFDB13F2-CBF3-4FC4-95E1-285412EFEDB4.jpeg (983.79 KB) Presenting the Sustainability Assessment in Bucksport, SC Pamela Martin
Image icon 7335B17B-8568-405E-AAD2-A313C1798000.jpeg (3.07 MB) Working with the Bucksport Community Pamela Martin
References and reference materials: 
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
(https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs) and other themes of Education for Sustainable Development (ESD)
SDG 1 - End poverty in all its forms everywhere 
SDG 2 - End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture 
SDG 3 - Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages 
SDG 4 - Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all 
SDG 6 - Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all 
SDG 8 - Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment, and decent work for all 
SDG 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation 
SDG 10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries 
SDG 11 - Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable 
SDG 12 - Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns 
SDG 13 - Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts 
SDG 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development 
SDG 15 - Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and halt and reverse land degradation, and halt biodiversity loss 
SDG 16 - Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels 
SDG 17 - Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development 
Disaster Risk Reduction 
Traditional Knowledge  
Curriculum Development 
Plants & Animals 
ESD for 2030-Priority Action Areas
Priority Action Area 1 - Advancing policy 
Priority Action Area 2 - Transforming learning and training environments 
Priority Action Area 3 - Developing capacities of educators and trainers 
Priority Action Area 4 - Mobilizing youth 
Priority Action Area 5 - Accelerating sustainable solutions at local level 
I acknowledge the above: