Protecting Land & Water | Advocacy | Balanced Growth
The history of redlining — the government-sanctioned concentration of minorities within certain neighborhoods that were deemed hazardous by financial institutions — is a major contribution to the environmental conditions experienced in black and brown communities. The impacts of redlining felt by vulnerable communities across the country, even here in Upstate SC, include industrial pollution, heat islands, landfills, stormwater runoff, flooding, and more.

Next Wednesday, February 24 from noon - 1 pm, join local community and environmental leaders for “Erasing the Redline: How Communities of Color are Disproportionately Exposed to Pollution and How to Fix It,” a virtual panel discussion about the adverse effects that pollution has on communities of color, and how to provide sustainable solutions for those communities. This event is free, but registration is required. Please click here to register

You can find more details about the event and read participant bios here.
Announcing the 2021 ForeverGreen Award Recipients

Since 2002, the ForeverGreen Awards have honored individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions in fields related to conservation and sustainable growth in Upstate South Carolina. While we are disappointed we cannot celebrate together with our annual luncheon this year, we are delighted to announce the 2021 ForeverGreen Award recipients: Dr. David L. Hargett, The Southern Environmental Law Center, Sustaining Way, Ms. Ginny Stroud, Ms. Judy I. Cromwell, and Dr. Drew Lanham.

Click here to learn more about each of these award recipients, and stay tuned for a special edition of the Upstate Advocate celebrating these extraordinary individuals and organizations arriving later this spring.
2020 Donor Impact Report
Our mission to protect the Upstate’s critical land and water resources has never been more relevant or urgent, but we could not do any of this crucial work without your support. If you did not receive our 2020 Donor Impact Report in your mailbox, click here to read our highlights and success stories from 2020.
Clean drinking water action alert!
Communities across SC face dangerous levels of toxic chemicals in their drinking water systems. Senators Thomas McElveen and Katrina Shealy and Representative JA Moore have introduced joint resolutions that require SCDHEC to limit PFAS and other toxic contaminants in our drinking water. Click here to urge your legislators to support these bills!
Virtual Citizens Planning Academy
Our interactive course that equips Greenville leaders to play a more effective and influential role in planning and land use policy efforts is going online this spring and expanding to eight one-hour, virtual lunch and learn sessions on Wednesdays from April - June. Click here to learn more & apply online
Revised tree ordinance adopted
Good news! Greenville City Council finalized adoption of the revised tree ordinance at its second reading in late January. The new tree ordinance will be reviewed every two years to understand its impact in actually preserving and protecting remaining tree canopy in Greenville. Read more about the ordinance and tree planting initiatives
Why do you support Upstate Forever?

Recently, we asked our email subscribers to share why you support Upstate Forever's work to balance our region's growth with the protection of its natural resources. Here's what a few of you had to say...

"We need to preserve the beauty of the Upstate for our descendants to enjoy." – Stanley Pauls

"Advocating and fighting for environmental justice is another way we can protect black and brown lives that have been disproportionately affected by harmful environmental practices." – Morgan Danyi-Burton

"Without protections, balance and good planning, we will lose the things we love about the Upstate. Stopping growth isn't a solution. Being smart about it is." – Laura Godfrey

Stay tuned as we share more testimonials in future newsletters. Want to share your "why?" Email us at
What exactly is a UDO?
Greenville County is drafting a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to replace current zoning and land development regulations. It will decide how and where Greenville grows and how that growth impacts current and future residents and the environment. Click here to learn more about the UDO and how you can encourage Greenville County Council to reflect the community's vision.
Greer stream bank repair
We were proud to work with Clemson Extension and the City of Greer to repair a portion of the Brushy Creek stream bank in Century Park last month. Planting native plants and seeds and lining the bank with matting will help prevent erosion, protect surrounding trees, safeguard water quality & protect wildlife habitat. Visit our blog to learn more and see before and after photos.
More news & updates

UF staff anniversaries
Join us in congratulating Director of Development and Community Relations Aldon Knight, who is celebrating five years with Upstate Forever this month, and GIS Coordinator Katie Hottel, who is celebrating her eighth anniversary!

SC Energy Efficiency Roadmap
For the past year and a half, our Energy & State Policy Director Shelley Robbins has been working with more than 70 energy efficiency stakeholder representatives, the Energy Office within the SC Office of Regulatory Staff, and Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions to develop the South Carolina Energy Efficiency Roadmap. This comprehensive plan is aimed at increasing energy efficiency investment across the state and identifies the barriers and opportunities on the road toward greater efficiency. You can read the full Roadmap here.

2020 conservation successes across SC
Many of the properties protected across the state would not be possible without the South Carolina Conservation Bank, a state funding source with a mission to improve the quality of life in SC through the conservation of significant natural resource lands, wetlands, historical properties, archeological sites, and urban parks. The SCCB recently released its 2020 Annual Report, which offers a great look at recent conservation successes from the Upstate to the Lowcountry. Read it here.

Protected properties for sale
Are you interested in owning a property that has a conservation easement with Upstate Forever? Visit our website at to view properties that are currently for sale. For more information about a particular property, please contact the listing agent directly.

What legacy will you 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 request a copy of our free estate planning guide, contact Aldon Knight, Director of Development and Community Relations.
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 land protection. 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 Land Planning & Policy Issues
Greenville County is growing rapidly, and our team is working to ensure that land use policies are in place that support smart, balanced growth. Sign up to receive these periodic updates and action alerts about land planning and policy issues in Greenville.

Planning & Growth Updates for Spartanburg County
Rapid change is already underway in Spartanburg, as are planning processes to better manage anticipated growth. 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.