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November 22nd, 2021
We are proud to share with you the latest issue of the Upstate Advocate, our twice-yearly print publication. Below, read the letter from Executive Director Andrea Cooper introducing the Fall/Winter 2021-2022 issue celebrating our region's special native species.
When my sons were young, we used to hike every summer in Jones Gap and Caesars Head state parks. The biggest draw to these outings were the natural creatures we could find. The boys' eyes were trained to spot salamanders, frogs, snakes, spiders, crayfish, and all sorts of bugs. Newts and Chinese mantises were their favorites. These hikes helped instill a love of nature in my children at a young age.
When Upstate Forever assesses land for permanent protection, we prioritize properties that have outsized impacts on water quality and high-quality habitat for plants and animals. The lands we protect provide refuge for black bear, wild turkey, migratory warblers, Oconee bell, American Chestnut, brook trout, quail, and more.
Preserving habitat for local flora and fauna has tremendous benefits for humans as well. Thriving ecosystems are essential for water quality, pollination, flood mitigation, carbon sequestration, and even disease control. We are healthier and happier when we live in balance — not conflict — with the ecosystem around us.
What's more, the plants and animals who call the Upstate home greatly enrich our quality of life by contributing to recreation, scenic beauty, and educational opportunities. This high quality of life is largely what draws so many people and businesses to the Upstate.
However, to fully realize the economic and social benefits of this growth, we must proactively protect the wilderness and its inhabitants. Otherwise, we face the dreadful irony of destroying the natural assets that make the Upstate so special and attractive to begin with.
So far this year, Upstate Forever has permanently protected more than 2,000 acres of high-quality habitat — forests, fields, wetlands, and mountain coves — with an additional 6,000 acres slated to close this year.
This issue of the Upstate Advocate features stories and perspectives about the furry, feathered, and flowered friends who share this land with us. As you read it, I hope you'll consider making a gift to Upstate Forever so we can continue our work to protect habitat, reduce sprawl, and safeguard water quality, now and for future generations.
Thank you for your support! We could not do this work without you.