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August 30th, 2022
Each month, we introduce you to a member of the Upstate Forever staff through a few rapid fire questions. This month, get to know Land Conservation Specialist Richard Carr.
What do you enjoy most about working for Upstate Forever?
I could answer this in so many ways, but the foundational joy in my job is working with people who are completely dedicated to what we do. The big mantra you hear these days in business is finding the “why” in what you do, but you don’t have to search far to find Upstate Forever’s “why.” It’s all around us — the mountains that lead into the foothills, the creeks that lead into the rivers, the fields and forests that give the Upstate its natural character. Representing these parts of our world that do not have a say in what we do to them is a singular passion that drew most of us to Upstate Forever, and it makes “going to work” a deeply satisfying part of my life.
What does a typical day on the job look like?
There isn’t one, which is kind of nice! But it can be a world of two extremes. I spend a lot of time in the office reaching out to new landowners, coordinating easements, applying for grant funding, OH!... and attending lots of Zoom meetings. But then there are the days I can get out on the land and meet with landowners, visit new properties, and help steward our current easements. But I like having that mix, it keeps life interesting.
What has been the most unexpected part of your role?
Hands down, drafting conservation easements. I will never forget the first easement I worked on. I mean, you really have to see one of these legal documents to understand the level of detail. So, there I was this wayward, former pastor tasked with crafting a document that would pass muster with the landowner, the county, the state, and the IRS! Thank goodness for intelligent and patient co-workers who held my hand every step of the way.
Where’s your favorite spot in the Upstate?
I love swamps. Yes, I know… It’s weird. But I have loved swamps ever since my dad first drug me into the middle of one on a cold, rainy November duck hunt when I was just a kid. To me they are a magical place where the boundary between land and water ceases to exist, merging instead into one of our most diverse and abundant eco-systems. Thoreau once said he’d rather dwell in a “dismal swamp” than “in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived.” I guess I’m in good company. Yep, give me a big ol’ swamp, a pair of waders, and high temps in the 40s and I am lost in wonder.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A hunting guide… My parents intervened. Some days I am glad they did.
More about Richard
Richard Carr joined Upstate Forever in 2021 after serving two previous careers in the Textile Industry and in Ministry with the Presbyterian Church (USA). A lifelong resident of Spartanburg, Richard has spent most of his life in the outdoors of the Upstate hunting, fishing, canoeing, and camping. Much of that time centered on his family’s ancestral farm located on the Broad River near Lockhart. A graduate of the Outward Bound School, he also enjoys backpacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
After graduating from Presbyterian College, Richard spent a number of years in Sales and Marketing working for traditional and niche textile manufacturers. In 2008, he transitioned to seminary and obtained his Masters of Divinity before serving churches in Southwest Georgia and York County, SC. Eventually, it was Richard’s love of the land and his concern for our stewardship of it that led him to Upstate Forever, and he is excited to put his talents in building relationships towards Upstate Forever’s mission.
Richard and his wife, Shay, both share Spartanburg as their hometown and are excited to be moving back there to live. They have three children, all in various stages of early adulthood, who remind them daily that time never stands still. In his spare time, Richard enjoys working in the yard, spending time in various outdoor activities, reading, and playing guitar.