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Our Greenville and Spartanburg offices have closed while Upstate Forever staff work from home to help protect the health of each other, our families, and our communities. But while we are not together in the office, we remain together in our continued efforts to protect our region's critical lands, waters, and unique character.

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Human + Nature: Tony Thomas

October 22nd, 2019
By Tony Thomas, Northside Community

Tony Thomas, a Spartanburg County resident, is the Northside Community Engagement Coordinator. Photo by Morgan Yelton

I'm a 54-year-old who has lived in the Upstate for the better part of my life. As the Community Engagement Coordinator for the Northside community in Spartanburg,  I have grown to love and admire the natural beauty of my community and its surroundings. 

Spring is my favorite season of the year because it is a time of re-birth, when the flowers are blooming, trees begin to sprout their leaves and the sound of birds tending their newly born chicks fills the air. The aroma of fresh grass growing for the first time after a frigid winter alerts us that it’s time to go outside and enjoy the new warmth that spring ushers forth.

One of the most meaningful and memorable experiences I’ve had outdoors during the spring was when the White Dutch Clover had sprung up in my yard, nearly covering it. A “just married” couple passing by got out of their vehicle and asked could they take pictures in my yard. I felt honored and replied, “Of course!" 

With the bride in her white gown and the groom in his white tuxedo, needless to say they were stunning. They returned a few months later and offered me a picture in gratitude, and it was beautiful. Now, it is common for folks to ask this of me, and I always oblige. Living in the Upstate is, and always has been, an amazing experience for me — one I could NEVER forfeit!  

This story was initially published in the Upstate Advocate, a twice-yearly print newsletter produced by Upstate Forever, as part of a piece called "Human + Nature: Ten Upstate Residents Share How the Natural World Shapes Their Lives." View the full issue (PDF)

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