Select Page

USC Professor ­Recognized with State Environmental Award

Jul 10, 2012 | News

Patricia DeCoursey received the 2011 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award, which recognizes South Carolinians who are doing extraordinary work on behalf of our environment.

DeCoursey, a biologist at the University of South Carolina since 1976, received the award for her volunteer efforts in creating small urban forests and gardens.

In 2006, she took over restoration of an abandoned woodlot donated to the university about half a century ago. She tirelessly volunteered thousands of hours (and coordinated the efforts of thousands of other volunteers) to create a valuable teaching and conservation outreach facility, the W. Gordon Belser Arboretum, representing 10 different biomes.

“Her aim was to create represen­tative plant communities typical of South Carolina that would be used for teaching,” said Guy Sabin, Environmental Program Manager with the S.C. Forestry Commission. “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.”

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, S.C. Forestry Commission, and the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium.

Susan Ferris Hill of the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium and Denise Sanger, formerly with the Consortium and now with the Department of Natural Resources, served on the committee.

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

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.