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2011 South Carolina
Environmental Awareness Award







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.


Invitation to Ceremony

Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 11:00am at Harbison State Forest Environmental Education Center

Call for Nominations

The state of South Carolina is seeking nominations for an award to recognize individuals who are doing extraordinary work for the natural environment.
Nominations for the 2011 SC Environmental Awareness Award will be accepted through December 31, 2011. This award acknowledges outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation, and improvement of South Carolina’s natural resources.

The SC General Assembly established the SC Environmental Awareness Award, now in its 19th year, during the 1992 legislative session to recognize outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation and improvement of South Carolina’s natural resources. Each year the public is invited to submit nominations that are then reviewed by an awards committee, which considers excellence in innovation, leadership, and accomplishments that influence positive changes.

Committee members represent the SC Sea Grant Consortium, SC Department of Natural Resources, SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, and the SC Forestry Commission.

Nomination Guidelines and Form (pdf)


Press Release Calling for Nominations

Past Winners

2010 – Frank S. Holleman, III, President, Naturaland Trust
2009 – Dr. Fred Holland, Coastal Ecologist, Charleston
2008 – Benjamin Ziegler, Chairman, Pee Dee Land Trust
2007 – Dr. Richard Porcher, Jr., Professor Emeritus, The Citadel
2006 – Rick Huffman, Founder, South Carolina Native Plant Society
2004 – John L. Knott, Jr., President, Noisette Company, North Charleston
2003 – Burris Family, Owners, Cypress Bay Plantation Tree Farm, Beaufort
2002 – Dr. Jack Turner, Director, Watershed Ecology Center, Univ. of South Carolina
2001 – James D. Elliott, Jr., Founder, South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey
2000 – Dr. Dave Hargett, Conservationist, Greenville
1999 – Kenneth Strickland, Environmentalist, Florence
1998 – Yancey A. McLeod, Jr., Environmental Educator, Eastover
1997 – Brad Wyche, President, Friends of the Reedy River, Greenville
1996 – Beaufort County Clean Water Task Force
1995 – Dr. Whitfield Gibbons, Senior Research Ecologist, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory
1994 – Marion Burnside, Chairman, SC Department of Natural Resources
1993 – Dana Beach, Executive Director, SC Coastal Conservation League
1992 – Rudy Mancke, Naturalist, SC Educational Television



SECTION 48-55-10. Selection committee; chairman and secretary; expenses. [SC ST SEC 48-55-10]
A. The Environmental Awareness Award must be presented annually by a committee of two members appointed from each of the following:
(1) South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control by its commissioner;
(2) State Commission of Forestry by its chairman;
(3) South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium by its executive director;
(4) Water Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources by the department's director;
(5) Wildlife and Freshwater Fish Division of the Department of Natural Resources by the department's director;
(6) Land Resources and Conservation Districts Division of the Department of Natural Resources by the department's director; and
(7) Coastal Division of the Department of Health and Environmental Control by the department's director;
(8) Marine Resources Division of the Department of Natural Resources by the department's director.
B. The committee shall elect from its members a chairman and a secretary. Each department or commission shall provide for the expenses of its members, except collective expenses must be shared by the departments and the commissions. Members are not eligible for mileage or per diem.

SECTION 48-55-20. Committee to establish procedures for meetings, nominations, and selection of recipient.[SC ST SEC 48-55-20]
The committee shall establish procedures for:
(1) conducting and scheduling its meetings;
(2) receiving nominations for the award; and
(3) selecting the recipient of the award.

SECTION 48-55-30. Award criteria; presentation of award. [SC ST SEC 48-55-30]
Presentation of the award and all related announcements must be made annually the first week in February. It must recognize outstanding contributions made toward the conservation of South Carolina's environment for the previous year. The recipient shall:
(1) exemplify extraordinary dedication to preserving and protecting the environment and natural resources of South Carolina through statewide efforts or efforts in his community or neighborhood;
(2) possess upstanding moral character; and
(3) meet other reasonable criteria considered appropriate by the committee.


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