The Upstate Update: February 2024

February 19th, 2024

UF finalized conservation easements on nearly 800 acres last year

The numbers are in! Thanks to your support, last year our Land Trust worked with property owners to permanently protect an additional 783 acres of forests, farmlands, waterways, and green space across the Upstate via conservation easements. That's hundreds of acres critical to local agriculture, water quality, and wildlife habitat that will never be developed. 

These special properties boast a range of diverse conservation benefits: prime soils, headwater streams, wetland ecosystems, outdoor classroom sites, and spectacular views of Grant Meadow and Table Rock, to name a few. What's more, additional projects with conservation partners — the South Carolina Farm Bureau Land TrustNaturaland TrustThe Nature Conservancy of South CarolinaSpartanburg Area Conservancy (SPACE), and Upper Savannah Land Trust — where Upstate Forever was integral to the effort’s success comprised 3,000 additional acres across Upstate South Carolina last year.

In 2023, South Carolina was named the fastest growing state in the nation, meaning these conservation efforts are more necessary than ever. We are tremendously grateful to the forward-thinking landowners, partners, and funders who helped make these projects happen for the benefit of future generations of Upstate residents. Without funding assistance from local, state, and federal entities like the Greenville County Historic and Natural Resources TrustUpstate Land Conservation Fund, and South Carolina Conservation Bank, much of this critically important land protection work would be impossible. 

Read more here. 

Also in this month's newsletter:

  • Executive Director transition
    This spring, Aldon Knight will assume the role of Executive Director and current Executive Director Andrea Cooper will step into a new role at UF. Aldon has been on the team since 2015, and brings 30+ years experience and passion to his new position. Read Andrea's letter
  • Volunteers needed!
    Join us to remove invasive plant species at Rocky River Nature Park in Anderson on Thursday, March 14 from 10 am - 12 pm. Help enhance foraging and nesting areas for native and migratory species. Wear long pants and sturdy shoes and we'll provide tools and gloves. Register
  • Haynie-Sirrine public meeting
    The City of Greenville wants to hear from Haynie-Sirrine residents about updating the 2002 neighborhood master plan. Attend the public meeting at the Preserve at Logan Park (70 Thruston St.) at 5:00 PM on February 20, or take the neighborhood survey here
  • Our 2024 advocacy priorities
    We have set our 2024 local and state advocacy priorities, and we're pushing for policies that protect natural resources, fund conservation, support sustainable energy infrastructure, and protect water resources. Click here to read more about our priorities.

Historic Schoolhouse on the grounds of Soapstone Baptist Church in Pickens

The Green Book of South Carolina: A Guide to African American Cultural Sites is a great resource for Black History statewide

As spring approaches, many of us are beginning to plan our next outdoor adventure around the state. If you've been inspired by Black History Month this February, or if you're generally interested in the state's rich African American heritage, then let The Green Book by the WeGOJA Foundation be your discovery guide.

According to WeGOJA Executive Director Dawn Dawson-House, thirty years ago there were only 36 sites associated with Black History that were marked or registered in SC. Through WeGOJA's dedication, they have added over 300 new historical markers and dozens of listings to the National Register, including several here in the Upstate.

Many of the sites in our region are set against a natural backdrop. We suggest taking a stroll around Soapstone Baptist Church in Pickens (under conservation easement with Upstate Forever), Old City Cemetery in SpartanburgFort Hill Slave Quarters in Clemson, and Holly Springs School in Belton. As you visit these sites, remember the roles that historic preservation and conservation can play in social justice.

Read the WeGOJA interview. 

Read more in the February Upstate Update

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