Protecting Land & Water | Advocacy | Balanced Growth
It’s a strange and bewildering time, but Upstate Forever is still hard at work to protect the critical lands, waters and unique character of our region.

Although the need for local conservation predates COVID-19, the ongoing crisis has shown just how critical it is to protect even more land across the Upstate, especially in fast-growing counties like Greenville. Our Executive Director Andrea Cooper recently wrote a letter to the editor of the Greenville Journal outlining three key reasons our region has an urgent need to protect more land:

  • We need more natural spaces for recreation and refuge.
  • We should also protect farmland to strengthen local food supply chains for a more resilient economy.
  • Finally, we must safeguard water quality through strategic land protection.

Virtual Citizens Planning Academy
Our interactive course that equips City of Greenville leaders to play a more effective and influential role in planning and land use policy efforts is moving online this fall! We will host six lunch and learn-style sessions (1 hour each) on Wednesdays in September-October. Click here to learn more & apply online
Stormwater and flooding tools
Our region has almost met its average annual rainfall for the year — with the remainder of hurricane season and autumn storms still to come. All of that rain has made concerns about stormwater and flooding top-of-mind for many. Clean Water Advocate Megan Chase recently compiled this list of tools to help you prevent flooding and sediment runoff.
Volunteer Opportunity Sept. 26
We are partnering with TreesUpstate for a safe and socially distanced morning removing invasive plant species and spreading mulch at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve. We'll have two shifts to limit group sizes, require face masks, and encourage volunteers to bring their own supplies. Learn more and RSVP here
New Upstate Advocate coming soon
Our Communications team is working on the next issue of our twice yearly print newsletter, the Upstate Advocate. While you await the Fall/Winter 2020 newsletter, you can catch up on past editions by clicking here. If you'd like to be added to the mailing list to receive the upcoming issue, please send an email to
National Make-a-Will Month
There's a holiday for just about everything these days — even writing your will. August is apparently National Make-a-Will Month and while it's not your typical cake and balloons holiday, now is a great time to sit down (go on, treat yourself to some cake anyway) and consider the legacy you will someday leave.

By including Upstate Forever in your will, trust, or estate plans, you can help protect our region's high quality of life for future generations. If you would like to learn more about planned giving or to receive a copy of our free estate planning guide, contact Aldon Knight, Director of Development and Community Relations.
Our GVL2040 advocacy priorities
The City of Greenville's comprehensive planning process is moving forward this fall. With a draft plan anticipated to be released to the public soon, UF's Land Planning and Policy team has developed advocacy priorities for the city's new comp plan. Read them on our blog
Upstate homes face flood risk
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps show 8,700 homes in the Upstate are at risk for flooding — but a new study shows that 40,000 Upstate homes could actually be at risk. We must protect the lands critical to safeguarding our water, encourage local governments to mandate riparian buffers, and steer development away from blueways. Read more from the Greenville News
Grant to fund land planning work
Hollingsworth Funds has awarded Upstate Forever a grant for $75,000 to empower and equip Greenville’s community leaders, citizens, and quality-of-life stakeholders with land use solutions to help address the most urgent issues facing our community. Thank you!
Keeping lights on for our neighbors
As the impacts of COVID-19 continue, many in the Upstate are struggling to keep electricity on in their homes. We are proud to partner with a new effort called SC Connected in Crisis to raise awareness of this issue and ensure SC's public utilities are regulated to act in the best interest of ratepayers. Learn more at and sign up for updates and action alerts here.
Do you know about our other mailing lists?

Thanks for signing up for the Upstate Update, Upstate Forever's general email newsletter. We also offer email lists dedicated to specific topics like clean water and legislative issues. To sign up for one or all of the lists below, please click here and select the list(s) you'd like to join.

Greenville County Comprehensive Plan Updates
Upstate Forever wants to help demystify and empower citizens to influence the Comprehensive Plan update process. Join this dedicated mailing list to receive updates and alerts for all Greenville-based comp plans.

Planning & Growth Updates for Spartanburg County
Spartanburg County is growing rapidly, with more than 60,000 new residents projected by 2040. Whether you live or work in Spartanburg County or just care deeply about its future, our Land Planning & Policy team will keep you informed and actively engaged in shaping Spartanburg's future growth.

Protect More Land
Land protection is the key to protecting what we love about the Upstate, but more funding is needed to protect our region's special places while we still have the opportunity. Get the latest updates on initiatives that support increased funding for conservation in the Upstate.

SC Legislative Updates
While the State Legislature is in session from January through May of each year, we dispatch a weekly Legislative Update recapping each week's important energy and conservation news. We also issue Action Alerts on critical, time-sensitive issues and provide the tools you need to contact your elected officials.

The Water Log
Water is our planet's most precious natural resource, and Upstate Forever is working to safeguard both the quantity and quality of water in our region. Our Clean Water team sends out a periodic newsletter dedicated to clean water issues and advocacy.
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Your tax-deductible gift to Upstate Forever will go directly toward protecting critical lands and saving special places in the Upstate.
Click the icons below to learn more about our work
Upstate Forever is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects critical lands, waters, and the unique character of Upstate South Carolina.  Over the past two decades, we have worked to protect the natural assets that make the Upstate so special — our farmlands, forests, natural areas, rivers, and clean air. We are committed to ensuring that our communities are vibrant and retain their green spaces, outdoor heritage, and unique identities in the face of rapid development and significant sprawl. Our vision is an environmentally healthy, economically prosperous Upstate that offers a high quality of life now and for future generations.

For more information, visit our website at or send us an email.