South Carolina Forestry Commission
News Release

April 26, 2012


USC Professor Recognized with State Environmental Award

(Columbia, SC)  Dr. Patricia DeCoursey is the winner of our state’s 2011 Environmental Awareness Award.
The Environmental Awareness Award recognizes South Carolinians who are doing extraordinary work on behalf of our environment.Dr. DeCoursey receiving the Environmental Awareness Award from State Forester Henry E. Kodama.

Dr. DeCoursey, who has served as a Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina since 1976, is being recognized today for her volunteer efforts to create small urban forests and gardens.

Her efforts to “re-forest” the W. Gordon Belser Arboretum as an outdoor teaching center are among the accomplishments which persuaded the award committee to honor her.  In 2006, Dr. DeCoursey took over restoration of an abandoned woodlot donated to the University about half a century ago. 

“Her aim was to create representative plant communities typical of South Carolina that would be used for teaching.  She combined her enthusiasm with her ability to recruit quality volunteers and accomplished her goals at a surprisingly low cost.  Ultimately, she gave an invaluable gift to the people of South Carolina,” says Guy Sabin, Environmental Program Manager with the SC Forestry Commission.

Sabin is on the awards committee.

Each year the public is invited to submit nominations to the awards committee.  This committee is made up of representatives from the state’s natural resource agencies, including the Department of Health and Environmental Control, the Department of Natural Resources, South Carolina Forestry Commission, and the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

The requirements are high.  Candidates should demonstrate innovation and leadership.  His or her accomplishments will have led to positive change or may have influenced matters affecting the natural environment.

Dr. DeCoursey tirelessly volunteered thousands of hours (and coordinated the efforts of thousands of other volunteers) to create a valuable teaching and conservation outreach facility representing ten different biomes.

She will be recognized at a ceremony today at the Forestry Commission’s Environmental Education Center at Harbison State Forest (5600 Broad River Rd., Columbia) at 11:00 am.  Many other nominees will attend as well so they too can be recognized for their dedication to our natural world.

“We’re thrilled to present Dr. DeCoursey this award for her selflessness, leadership, and vision,” the Forestry Commission’s Sabin added.

The S.C. General Assembly established the S.C. Environmental Awareness Award in 1992.  It’s now in its 19th year recognizing outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation, and improvement of South Carolina’s natural resources. 

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News media, for more information, contact Guy Sabin at (803) 896-8593.



2011 SC Environmental Awareness Award



The SC Forestry Commission’s mission is to protect and develop South Carolina’s forest resource
 For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, the industry produces more than $1,800.00 of economic impact.




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