Trees are beautiful, and they provide us a shady respite on a hot summer’s day, but few of us realize the true economic value of our “green infrastructure." For example, the U.S. Forest Service estimates that an average 20-year-old tree returns $102 in annual energy savings, stormwater runoff reduction, cleaner air, and higher property values for every $15 spent on planting, mulching, pruning and watering. In fact, over the course of its lifetime, a large tree in the South will provide roughly $4,240 in environmental and economic benefits, including cleaner air, reduced energy use in nearby buildings, carbon dioxide storage, stormwater absorption, and increased property values.
In order to showcase these amazing benefits and increase public awareness of the true value of trees, Upstate Forever, with the help of public and private partners, have begun placing tree tags on trees in highly visible public areas. Each tag provides specific information on the estimated economic benefits of that particular tree in that location. The project launched on National Arbor Day, April 26, with tree tags posted at various locations in Anderson County, City of Greenville, Furman University, Pickens County, and City of Spartanburg.
Partners in this innovative educational project include City of Greenville, The Noble Tree Foundation, City of Spartanburg, Furman University, Pickens County Stormwater Partners, Anderson County, Spartanburg Trees Coalition, and TreesGreenville.
For more information about Upstate Forever’s tree project, contact Erika Hollis, Clean Air and Water Project Associate, at (864) 250-0500 ext. 17 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2010, Upstate Forever began work on a multi-year project funded by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Sustainable Skylines Initiative (EPA SSI) aimed at reducing air pollution and climate change emissions across the region. As that project begins to wrap up, we wanted to share a number of our successes to date. With help from Pickens County partners, we generated and recently updated a Business Case for Biodiesel, which we have used over the past several years to encourage other counties to explore producing and utilizing biodiesel as a way to reduce fleet emissions and save money in the process. According to recent figures, Pickens County has saved an average of $1.08 per gallon of biodiesel produced based on average diesel prices since their production began. At that rate, the county should recoup capital costs, totaling approximately $200,000, by the end of 2015.
Another focus of the EPA SSI project was identifying ways to improve regional multimodal transportation. We supported the development and adoption of a Memorandum of Understanding by area Metropolitan Planning Organizations and the Appalachian Council of Governments that formalizes staff-level communication between the three entities to make it easier to achieve a regional approach to planning, an effort led by Ten at the Top. More recently, we developed a set of recommendations to improve access to different modes of transportation across the region. Upstate transportation planners were convened, interviewed, and surveyed to collect data that informed the final Upstate Multimodal Recommendations. During the next few years, Upstate Forever plans to seek resources to implement a number of these strategies and advocate for a more robust and meaningful multimodal transportation system in the Upstate.
Finally, Furman University’s completion of the GHS Swamp Rabbit Trail Year 1 Impact Study, which Upstate Forever and other partners have used to advocate for more local greenways such as the Pickens Doodle, would not have been possible without funding through EPA SSI. Upstate Forever was selected to present the results of this study, along with Year 2 study results, at the upcoming Making Cities Livable conference in Portland, OR in June. Year 2 study results will be released this month in celebration of National Bike Month.
(photo: Dick Carr)
Upstate Forever continues to work with our partners the Pickens County Soil and Water Conservation District and Lake Hartwell Association on the dam removal and cleanup projects on Twelve Mile River. Upstate Forever and our partners had concerns about PCB-contaminated sediments that may have remained in the river and quickly moved downstream towards Lake Hartwell after the removal of the first two dams. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently evaluated the PCB levels in the river and lake to determine if Schlumberger, Inc., the responsible party, needs to perform additional cleanup. The EPA presented their findings in April at the Pickens County Council Chambers, deeming the river safe for all recreational uses. However, these findings do not affect the longstanding fish consumption advisories, which will remain in place.
The nationally syndicated radio program “eTown” has selected Upstate Forever Executive Director Brad Wyche as one of its “E-Chievement Award” winners this year. The awards are given to “true everyday heroes” who help to make their communities a better place.
Broadcasting weekly for the past 21 years, the Boulder, Colorado–based eTown mixes live music from top performers in a wide variety of styles with conversation and information about our communities and environment, including the weekly presentation of the E-chievement Award. Now airing on over 300 stations across the nation, eTown’s mission is to educate, entertain and inspire a diverse audience, through music and conversation, to create a socially responsible and environmentally sustainable world.
“I’m deeply honored to receive this award,” Brad said. “But as I said on the show, I’m sharing it with our amazing staff. They’re doing great work everyday and are the ones responsible for our accomplishments.”
The episode featuring Brad will air locally on WNCW on Sunday, May 19, at 6 p.m. or online at www.wncw.org. Other affiliate stations nationwide will air the show between May 15 and 21. The show is streamed online at www.etown.org, where listeners can also access the podcast.
In addition, Brad will be the featured guest on SC ETV Radio’s “Walter Edgar’s Journal,” airing statewide on Friday, May 31 at noon. The program, which explores the arts, culture, and history of South Carolina and the American South, will include a broad-ranging discussion about Upstate Forever’s accomplishments and goals. More information about the program, including streaming and downloading podcasts, is available at www.scetv.org/index.php/walter_edgars_journal.
And if you missed hearing Nell Newman, keynote speaker at Upstate Forever’s ForeverGreen Annual Awards Luncheon in February, you have a second chance. Nell recorded an interview with Donna London for SC ETV Radio’s “Your Day” program, which aired on April 29 but remains available online here.
Our seventh annual Art and Conservation Celebration took place April 30 at Larkin's on the River in downtown Greenville. With about 200 people attending, tickets were sold out, and our silent auction made for an evening of friendly outbidding. This year's event brought new artists, such as San Francisco-based photographer Ben Nixon, painter lsabel Forbes, basket weaver Jerry Maxey and jewelry artisans Melinda Crowe and Rosemary McLeod. And long-time friends, such as Scott Cunningham, Dorothy Josey and Ben Geer Keys contributed as well. We'd like to thank our sponsors The Greenville News, TD Bank, KPMG, Erwin and Nancy Maddrey, Spartan Photo, Interim Healthcare, Erwin Penland and Larkin's on the River, as well as all of you who attended and purchased art, for helping make this year's Art and Conservation our most successful yet!
Saturday, May 18
Oconee Forever's Rally in the Valley
Calyx Farms, 155 Red Apple Lane, Walhalla
The Rally is Oconee Forever's annual cycling event to celebrate and raise awareness for conservation in Oconee County, South Carolina. More information can be found on Oconee Forever’s Rally in the Valley website. We're also offering a special incentive for riders that would like to participate in Rally in the Valley and Upstate Forever's Preservation Ride in September. For bicyclists that register for both events, we're offering a FREE Upstate Forever Preservation Ride jersey from 2012 while supplies and sizes last. For more information on this special offer, email email@example.com for details.
Saturday, May 18, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Discover Your Watershed
Lyman Lake Lodge, 200 Lyman Lodge Road, Lyman
A free event for the whole family, with bounce houses, crafts, and prizes for kids, kayaking and canoeing, nature walks, and educational displays. The first 300 people to sign in will receive a free lunch. Bring in a bag of recyclables for a chance to win door prizes provided by Pratt Recycling!
Saturday, June 1, 10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Land Trust Day at Mast General Store
111 N. Main Street, Greenville
We are thrilled that Mast General has once again chosen Upstate Forever's Land Trust program to receive 20% of all sales on the first Saturday in June. Make plans now to shop Mast General Store for dads, grads and…yourself!
Saturday, June 15, 11:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Better Block Duncan
153 W. Main Street, Duncan
One block of downtown Duncan will be temporarily transformed with park amenities, streetscape improvements, and entertainment. Better Block Duncan is a demonstration project by Upstate Forever, the Town of Duncan, and other partners to showcase key elements of a great walkable, vibrant downtown. Interested citizens, businesses, and organizations may contact Sherry Barrett at(864) 327-0090or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more. This is the second event in Upstate Forever's 2013 Active Living Event Series, sponsored by the Mary Black Foundation. The series is designed to encourage community dialogue about policies and infrastructure that promote physical activity to improve public health.
July 9 (Greenville) and July 11 (Spartanburg), 5:30pm - 7:00pm
Upstate Forever's 15th Anniversary Open House
Upstate Forever’s Offices: 501 Pettigru Street, Greenville and 100 East Main Street, Spartanburg
Join us to celebrate 15 years of protecting special places and promoting sensible growth in the Upstate! More details coming soon.
Saturday, September 14
2nd Annual Preservation Ride
Strawberry Hill U.S.A., 3092 Highway 11, West Chesnee
Save the date for our second annual Preservation Ride! We'll be sending out a special email soon with information on registration, fundraising, routes, jerseys and much more so stay tuned! Until then you can view photos and sponsor information from last year on our ride website.
Community Vibrancy Workshops: Join In! Ten at the Top is holding events in Spartanburg and Greenwood on May 22 and in Clemson and Greenville on May 23. Then on June 6, plan to attend the “Our Upstate Vision Forum” on Natural Resources and the Upstate Economy in Greenville.
Vegetables Seen as an Economic Salvation for Forgotten South Carolina. Small farms may save rural economies, especially in the 26 counties of South Carolina where as many as one out of three lives in poverty.
Researchers Warn of Future Toxic Algae Blooms. The culprits, according to the article, are phosphorus from agricultural practices and climate change, subjects Upstate Forever is working to address in the Upstate.
Will Electric Bicycles Get Americans to Start Pedaling? Electric bicycles are already popular in Europe and in China, which has more e-bikes than cars on its roads.
DNR Releases Shelved Climate Report. South Carolina’s wildlife department has finally released a climate study that agency scientists completed more than a year ago. The report says South Carolina should brace for the effects of global warming and begin planning for those changes. A warmer climate could lead to the invasion of exotic species from Florida, the death of salt marshes, increased diseases in wildlife and flooding that could swamp oceanfront homes.
A New American Revolution: Walking in Pursuit of Happiness and Health. The next big health care breakthrough – which could cut rates of heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s by at least 40 percent and save Americans $100 billion a year – is as simple as taking a walk.
And After Your Walk…Once you’ve polished off that bottle of wine, you can recycle the cork at Biltmore Estate or your local Whole Foods and Earth Fare stores.
“For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver."
-- Martin Luther, 12/24/1538