February 24, 2020
Norman Pulliam of Spartanburg has been honored by Upstate Forever in Greenville with the Tommy Wyche Land Conservation Champion award for his visionary leadership as the board chair of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
The award was presented Feb. 24 at the ForeverGreen Annual Awards Luncheon, held at Embassy Suites in Greenville, where conservation organization Upstate Forever honored exceptional individuals for their contributions to conservation and sustainability in the Upstate.
Pulliam was appointed to the SCDNR Board of Directors by Gov. Mark Sanford in 2006 and was appointed chair by Gov. Henry McMaster in 2017. During his tenure as chair, Pulliam has overseen, and in some cases directly shepherded, several critically important conservation projects in the Upstate, including:
- The completion of the observation tower in 2019 at Sassafras Mountain, South Carolina’s highest peak and from which the tremendous viewshed benefits of conservation easements can be readily understood.
- The permanent protection of the 56-acre McKinney Tract in Travelers Rest that adds to the protection of the federally endangered bunched arrowhead plant and the seepage bogs where they grow. SCDNR worked with Naturaland Trust to negotiate the sale of the property, which had been slated for development, to SCDNR's Heritage Trust Program and successfully secured funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete the purchase in early 2019.
- The permanent protection of the 1,757-acre Tall Pines tract in northern Greenville County, now serving as the Tall Pines Wildlife Management Area and including about a mile of South Saluda River frontage. SCDNR supported the project's application to the South Carolina Conservation Bank, and on Pulliam's direction, provided the final $1 million to bring the project to fruition in early 2019.
As SCDNR board chair, Pulliam holds an ex officio position on the South Carolina Conservation Bank Board and also worked extensively on the successful reauthorization of the Conservation Bank, culminating in it being made a permanent agency in 2018.
Pulliam and his wife, Jo, also hosted a gathering at their home on behalf of Upstate Forever, prior to the launch of the "Crossroads Campaign," further solidifying Upstate Forever's presence in Spartanburg and enhancing the organization's ability to continue protecting critical lands in the Upstate.
Named after visionary conservationist Tommy Wyche, the award that Pulliam received recognizes a business, organization or individual who has made a significant contribution to the protection of forest lands, natural areas, farmlands or other special places in the Upstate.
The Feb. 24 event was also a celebration to honor Brad Wyche, who left a successful law practice to found Upstate Forever in 1998. At the awards luncheon, it was announced that Upstate Forever’s Extraordinary Achievement Award will hence be known as the Brad Wyche Extraordinary Achievement Award.