Ocean Lakes Family Campground in Myrtle Beach, S.C. was awarded the 2010 Earth Day Award by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control at its second annual Earth Day Awards program held on April 14.

The award was presented to Ocean Lakes for its iCare Program aimed at helping reduce the environmental impact of the campground and its guests, according to a news release. The campground’s program uses the slogan “Action and Awareness Count,” encouraging guest responsibility and education and focuses on recycling, pet pollution and litter.

The iCare Program was created in August 2008. Ocean Lakes Family Campground now collects campground recyclables two times a week from its offices and five iCare Stations. However, it will begin collecting recyclables every day once the campground occupancy increases for the spring and summer seasons. In 2009, the campground collected 59,220 pounds of recyclables in a six-month period.

The campground owns and operates five 20-yard rear loader garbage trucks, and in January dedicated one truck to collecting recyclables only. The truck bears the iCare logo to promote its green initiatives program. Since January, Ocean Lakes has delivered eight tons to the Horry County Solid Waste Materials Recycling Facility.

“We are honored that DHEC recognized Ocean Lakes’ iCare Program and its drive to increase guest and campground responsibility,” said Barb Krumm, director of marketing and public relations with Ocean Lakes Family Campground. “We want our campers to enjoy their stay here and while doing so, show the upmost respect for the environment. The iCare Program has proven to be an effective way to educate our guests and teammates and we’re excited for the growth that is sure to come in the months and years ahead.”

The iCare Program also brings awareness to the impact of pet pollution, which has proven to be extremely harmful to the ocean and its marine life. Campground guests are asked to use an “iCare Kit” to pick up after their pets. The iCare Kits are available in several locations and the iCare stations feature a doggie figure holding a martini class full of free dog treats. Donation boxes for the Ark Animal Hospital’s NOAH Program, in nearby Surfside Beach, S.C., are placed near the treats for guests who’d like to support the local rescue program.

The iCare Program also encourages guests to help clean up beach litter. Gloves and specially marked bags are available at the iCare stations. Throughout the campground visitors can dispose of their waste in an iCare trash bag.

As part of the program, in January the campground mounted a Apricus solar panel to the roof of an existing bathhouse to solar heat the water for 12 shower stalls and the sinks.

Last year, Ocean Lakes Family Campground won the 2009-2010 Plan-It Green Award from the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC) for its iCare Program. The award is given to parks that demonstrate they have taken steps and actions to become more eco-friendly. Only three parks in the United States have received such recognition.

Ocean Lakes is the largest campground on the East Coast and one of the largest in the United States with over 310 acres of campsites.