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April 26, 2012
USC professor wins 2011 Environmental Awareness Award
University of South Carolina (USC) Distinguished Professor Dr. Patricia J. DeCoursey has been named winner of the 2011 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award. Dr. DeCoursey, who has served as a Professor of Biological Sciences at USC since 1976, was recognized for her volunteer efforts to create small urban forests and gardens at a ceremony April 26 at the S.C. Forestry Commission's Environmental Education Center at Harbison State Forest in Columbia.
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. This unique property serves as an outdoor field classroom and laboratory for USC undergraduates and as a metropolitan site for conducting a broad spectrum of educational outreach programs.
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.
Each year the public is invited to submit nominations to the awards committee. The committee is made up of representatives from the state's natural resource agencies, including the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, the S.C. 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.
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.
Previous winners include:
- 2007 - Dr. Richard Porcher Jr., professor emeritus at The Citadel
- 2006 – Rick Huffman, founder, South Carolina Native Plant Society
- 2003 – Burris Family, owners, Cypress Bay Plantation Tree Farm, Beaufort
- 2001 – James D. Elliott Jr., founder, South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey
- 1999 – Kenneth Strickland, environmentalist, Florence
- 1997 – Brad Wyche, president, Friends of the Reedy River, Greenville
- 1992 – Rudy Mancke, naturalist, S.C. Educational Television
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- USC professor wins 2011 Environmental Awareness Award
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