Protecting Land & Water | Advocacy | Balanced Growth
This week, Duke Energy and solar energy advocates from across the Carolinas — including Upstate Forever — announced an agreement that could offer Duke's future rooftop solar customers significant up-front savings to go solar, while enhancing grid reliability and setting new solar pricing signals to reduce utility costs for all customers.

What would this mean and why is it breaking news? Our Energy & State Policy Director Shelley Robbins explains:

"This new proposal for solar customers is about more than the solar panels on a roof. This structure is about how our homes — and the way we consume energy, conserve energy, and export energy back to the grid — actually have value as part of the system as a whole when we pay attention to timing. Technologies such as smart meters and smart thermostats have become more agile and responsive, and they allow us now to be more than just an end-user of energy. When our homes become an integral and valuable asset for the grid, we can use this flexibility to avoid the construction of expensive fossil-fuel peaking generation and grid upgrades that would have to be paid for by all customers.

This is the beginning of the traditional electricity market and utility structure paradigm getting flipped on its head. Upstate Forever commends Duke Energy for their partnership in crafting this proposal, and we are proud to be at the head of the pack on this issue nationally."

Read more about this landmark solar agreement from the Charlotte Business Journal or Utility Dive.
Protect Greenville's rural lands
Greenville County Council's Planning & Development Committee recently took up a proposed ordinance to amend the county's Land Development Regulations (LDR) to better protect the county's most rural areas. Join us in urging Council to support the ordinance and protect the county's rural communities by signing this petition.
Welcome, Virginia and Gray!
Virginia Kolb recently joined our team as Receptionist / Finance Assistant. Originally from Sumter, Virginia fell in love with the Upstate and moved here four years ago. Gray Williams joins us as an intern with our Development & Communications teams this fall. She is a senior at Clemson University studying Political Science with a minor in Nonprofit Leadership.
Volunteers needed Saturday 9/26
There are still a few spaces left for our socially distanced morning removing invasive plant species and spreading mulch at Lake Conestee Nature Preserve with TreesUpstate. To maintain social distancing and smaller group sizes, we have two shifts available, will require face masks, and encourage volunteers to bring their own supplies. Learn more & RSVP
Spartanburg comp plan updates
On our blog, Land Policy Manager Sherry Barrett shares the latest news of Plan Spartanburg, the City of Spartanburg's comprehensive plan update process, and how you can participate in shaping the future of one of our region's fastest-growing cities. Read more on the UF blog and click here to join our Spartanburg planning & growth email list to receive news and alerts in your inbox.
Protected properties for sale
Conservation easements are at the core of our nationally-accredited land trust's work to protect critical lands across Upstate South Carolina. These easements, also referred to as conservation agreements, are a voluntary contract between a landowner and land trust, which allows the landowner to legally restrict certain land uses from occurring on their property, such as residential subdivision development or commercial operations, while allowing traditional rural land uses, such as farming, grazing, hunting, and timbering to continue.

Are you interested in owning a property that has a conservation easement with Upstate Forever? We are updating with conservation easement properties that are currently for sale, like the 130-acre Rocky Fork Farm in Oconee County, pictured above.

Do you own a property that has a conservation easement with Upstate Forever that you would like to sell? We are happy to feature your property on our website with a direct link to the real estate listing. You or your real estate agent may contact Land Stewardship Manager Christina Sprecher at for more information.
A true Renaissance man
Lawyer, conservationist, and father of UF founder Brad Wyche, the late Tommy Wyche made an enormous impact on our region. You can learn more about in Renaissance Man: The Life of Tommy Wyche, available now from M. Judson Booksellers & Hub City Writers Project. All proceeds benefit Naturaland Trust. Contact booksellers directly to purchase.
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 receive a copy of our free estate planning guide, contact Aldon Knight, Director of Development and Community Relations.
Barbecue for a great cause
Lake Conestee Nature Preserve's annual Great Blue Barbecue fundraiser is adapting to the COVID era with a virtual kickoff event, to-go barbecue pickup, and online auction. All proceeds go towards sustaining LCNP's conservation and education programs. Visit their Eventbrite page for details and to purchase your barbecue tickets.
Want to save on your energy bills?
Do you want your home or business to switch to more energy efficient practices but don't know where to start? The SC Energy Office has created a new online tool to help consumers & businesses. Click here to answer a few quick questions to find energy saving tips and programs available to you.
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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.
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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.