Seeing Through Their Eyes

January 13th 2021

The Spartanburg Science Center, the Spartanburg Area Conservancy, and the USC Upstate Foundation have launched a community STEAM program for children in the Spartanburg Community. 

“Seeing Through Their Eyes: A STEAM Program” provides an opportunity for youth to document what they see in nature and around their neighborhoods during the pandemic by using a disposable camera. 

“The idea is to get kids off screens, outside, and learning during the winter months,” said Mary Levens, Executive Director of the Spartanburg Science Center. With so much e-learning taking place during the pandemic we wanted to create a safe space for students to engage with nature, and our animal room at the Science Center is a perfect fit.” 

“We think it’s important to give children a way to express themselves, especially after a year like this,” said Amanda Mathis, Executive Director of the Spartanburg Area Conservancy. “We’re providing suggestions on what to take photos of at certain locations like the Cottonwood Trail, but allowing children to create through their own lens is key to the initiative. As a parent of three little ones, any creative outlet is helpful right now.” 

“Our Arboretum at USC Upstate provides ample opportunity for families to space out and roam around,” said Kim Jolley, USC Upstate Foundation. We’re delighted that Dr. Jon Storm, Professor of Biology at USC Upstate, will be offering the students participating in the program two opportunities to join him on a guided tour through the Arboretum as well.“ 

PASOS, Spartanburg City Parks & Rec, and the Spartanburg Science Center will distribute 250 STEAM camera kits in English and Spanish, complete with a camera and nature guide, and passes to the Science Center, a guided tour on the Cottonwood Trail, and a guided tour of the Susan Jacobs Arboretum. Each location will have clues for suggested photos. 

“We’re thrilled that the partners have included our Hispanic community in their STEAM program efforts this year,” said Nora Curiel-Munoz, PASOS Program Coordinator. ‘Our community has been deeply impacted by the pandemic and having a program over the winter months for our children to engage in intellectually and creatively will make a difference.” 

“The opportunity to provide the children who attend our community centers with a STEAM Kit that focuses on nature over MLK weekend is not lost on me,” said Kim Moultrie, Director of Spartanburg Parks & Rec. “Dr. King recognized that we are so modernized and need at times to get back to the simple rural life and commune with nature.”

For children who may not be able to access these locations due to transportation issues, the ‘nature guide’ will include items they can easily photograph in their yard or around their neighborhood. 

Parents can reserve a kit and pay the $5 kit fee in advance through the Spartanburg Science Center website. Kits will be available for pick up on Friday, January 15th from noon – 4pm at the Spartanburg Science Center. SPARTANBURGSCIENCECENTER.ORG/SEEINGTHROUGHTHEIREYES 

Seeing Through Their Eyes Art Show, March 18th 

The photographs will be developed by Spartan Photo and promoted in a public digital gallery for the community to vote on in February. The ‘community choice’ pictures will be framed for a March 18th art event at the Chapman Cultural Center that will mark the year anniversary of the pandemic shutdown, showcasing the work of the children and their vantage point during this unusual time. 

Generous funding support for this program has been provided by Spartanburg County Foundation, USC Upstate Foundation, Mary Black Foundation, and EMK Foundation. 


January 13th

Registration opens

January 15th

Kit pick up at Spartanburg Science Center from 12-4pm, Saturday from 11am – 3pm

Week of February 1st

Camera’s due back to Spartanburg Science Center by February 5th

February 15-28

Community voting on digital gallery photos 

March 18th

Student Art Show in Chapman Cultural Center Lobby during ArtWalk 5-8pm 


The mission of our foundations is to support the University of South Carolina Upstate in all of its educational, research, instructional, scientific, literary, service, charitable and outreach endeavors.


The Spartanburg Science Center is the premier STEM Hub for quality science education in downtown Spartanburg. The Center boasts over 23 exhibits, an animal room and a museum room. The live animal room features an assortment of reptiles, amphibians, and fish. The museum room has a collection of fossils, bones, skulls, rocks and minerals. The Science Center is open Thursday through Saturday at 10am, located at 200 East St. John Street above Ballet Spartanburg at the Chapman Cultural Center. 


Spartanburg Area Conservancy (SPACE) is a nonprofit organization based in Spartanburg, SC, known in the community for our system of public preserves, most notably the Cottonwood Trail, where we work to provide public access to green spaces and the natural world. We work with private landowners and partner agencies to conserve land through voluntary conservation easements and currently protect over 5,000 acres of land in our community. The mission of SPACE is to promote, protect, and preserve natural resources and open space in the Spartanburg community. 


Kathryn Harvey 646 234 0734

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