Switch off your lights four an hour at 8:30 p.m. March 24 to show support for the earth. This symbolic lights-out event is this largest in the world, as individuals, communities, businesses and organizations in more than 180 countries and territories take part. Follow the hashtag #EarthHour on social media for more.

Local nonprofits have a chance to earn one of four $2,000 grants from The Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. To enter, nonprofit volunteers must post a photo before April 11 on the foundation’s Facebook page of themselves holding #LowcountryVolunteers sign that explains why they volunteer. Details are at www.cf-lowcountry.org.

Beaufort County residents will need to bring reusable bags or be prepared to pay for bags at local supermarkets starting in October. The county is the first in South Carolina to adopt a countywide ban on single-use plastic carryout bags at retail establishments. Businesses have been given eight months — until Oct. 14 — to stop providing plastic bags at checkout counters, but are allowed to implement the ban sooner if they choose. Supporters of the ban say it will be instrumental in protecting local wildlife and reducing litter.

Al Stokes recently was awarded with the Alice Glenn Doughtie Good Citizenship Award at the Hilton Head-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce Ball. As the manager of Waddell Mariculture Center, Stokes is responsible for keeping area waterways pristine and stocked with diverse sea life, while supporting the state’s fishing industry. Shrimp, redfish, cobia and saltwater striped bass have been replenished through his efforts.

TangerKIDS is accepting entries for grants for schools in Bluffton and on Hilton Head Island. The grants can be used for school-wide programs, equipment, academic materials and supporting athletic and band programs. Teachers and administrators from local schools may submit grant applications through March 16. For more information, go to www.grants.tangeroutlet.com.

Property owners and resort guests still have access to free beach parking at Sea Pines Resort, but visitors are now required to pay a $10 fee. Those who wish to park at the Sea Pines Beach Club will have to pay the $10 fee if they do not get one of the first 50 available parking spaces. The new rule is in effect from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

The Town of Hilton Head Island has been named the first public Audubon Sustainable Community in South Carolina for its achievements and dedication to planning for a sustainable future. The effort included pollution prevention, improved air quality, and increased access to local foods and transportation options.

The TV series “American Pickers” will be filming in South Carolina this winter. The History Channel documentary show explores the world of antique hunting as stars Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz search back roads for treasures to recycle and rescue. If you or someone you know has a large private collection or accumulation of antiques that the show can explore, call 855-653-7878. 

After a contentious two years, the Beaufort County Board of Education has hired an outside independent consultant to help with its issues. Wayne Worner was hired with a majority 7-4 vote at a cost not to exceed $8,000. He has worked with 50 to 60 school boards in the past, at least half of which were focused on issues internally or with their superintendent. The current board plans to go on a retreat with Worner ahead of an April 21 referendum and the November elections, in which seven current board members are up for re-election. 

The University of South Carolina Beaufort’s planned Hilton Head Island campus is months from opening on the south end of the island — but improvements to Office Park and New Orleans roads must be completed first, according to an agreement between the Town of Hilton Head and USCB. The work will add additional lanes to both roads, and construction is expected to take 120 days. Much of the work will be done at night, but lane closures should expected during construction. 

Bluffton resident Chris Hervochon, a certified public accountant and political activist, has announced his candidacy for the Republican Party nomination in the Beaufort County Council race for District 8. The seat currently is held by County Councilman Rick Caporale, who has decided not to run for another term. This is Hervochon’s first run for public office; he currently serves as the treasurer of the Greater Bluffton Republican Club. District 8 encompasses Hilton Head Plantation and Windmill Harbour on Hilton Head Island, plus Moss Creek, Colleton River and Belfair plantations in Bluffton. 

For the ninth year, WHHI-TV will broadcast Lowcountry area high school basketball games. The Covert Aire High School Basketball Series returns Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. New to this season, WHHI-TV will also broadcast the girls varsity basketball games in addition to the boys. The boys varsity games will air at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays, 1 p.m. Saturdays and 6 p.m. Sundays. Girls varsity games will air at 6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 p.m. Sundays. Spectrum subscribers can tune to channel 3 and Hargray users can tune to channel 8. For more information, go to www.whhitv.com.

The Coastal Discovery Museum is offering training for those interested in leading education programs. Interested volunteers should be able to work well with children and adults, have good public speaking and people skills, and be interested in learning and teaching historical and environmental subjects. The Coastal Discovery Museum team inspires thousands of visitors and residents through engaging, educational and enjoyable walks, talks, tours and programs. Training events will take place February through April. For more information, call the museum at 843-689-6767, ext. 228