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March 20, 2007

Pickens man wins 2006 Environmental Awareness Award

Rick Huffman has been named winner of the 2006 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award.

In a ceremony Tuesday, March 20, 2007 at the South Carolina State House, Tom Davis, Governor Mark Sanford's Chief of Staff, announced the winner and recognized Huffman for outstanding contributions toward the protection, conservation and improvement of South Carolina's natural resources.

Huffman, who lives in Pickens, is being honored for his many achievements including founding theRick Huffman South Carolina Native Plant Society in 1996. “Our winner has logged hundreds of thousands of miles and thousands of hours in the development of the Society into a statewide organization with four regional chapters and numerous successful programs and initiatives,” Davis said.

The Society is an organization whose considerable resources of time, people and money are focused on preserving and restoring native plant communities and in educating the public on the character and importance of native plant communities.

“Due to the hard work of our winner and the many volunteers of the Society, they now own the Lisa Matthews Memorial Carolina Bay; a 52-acre property managed for the protection of the endangered Canby’s Dropwort and other Carolina Bay species,” Davis added. 

In addition, Huffman co-founded, along with US Forest Service soil scientist Dennis Law, the joint S.C. Native Plant Society/USFS native seed collection program.  This very successful program has enabled the US Forest Service in South Carolina to shift almost entirely to local source seeds of native grasses and some wildflowers in their vegetation restoration programs in the three Districts of the Sumter National Forest. 

Senators Thomas C. Alexander and Larry A. Martin, both from the Upstate and representing Pickens County, were present at the awards ceremony. “This honor speaks to the importance and significance of native plants in our environment,” Senator Alexander said. “Rick’s volunteer service and commitment to the Native Plant Society make him a worthy recipient of this prestigious recognition.”

Senator Martin added, “I congratulate Rick on his record of service and achievements in the area of native plant protection and identification. This honor brings due credit to Rick’s hard work and dedication. I commend Rick on bringing this honor and recognition to Pickens County.”

The S.C. General Assembly established the S.C. Environmental Awareness Award in 1992 to recognize outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation and improvement of South Carolina’s natural resources. The award is sponsored by the S.C. Sea Grant Consortium, S.C. Department of Natural Resources, S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control and S.C. Forestry Commission.

Previous winners include:

2004 - John L. Knott, Jr., owner of the Noisette Company in North Charleston
2001 - James D. Elliott, Jr., founder, South Carolina Center for Birds of Prey
1998 - Yancey A. McLeod, Jr., environmental educator, Eastover
1996 - Beaufort County Clean Water Task Force
1994 - Marion Burnside, chairman, S.C. Department of Natural Resources
1992 - Rudy Mancke, S.C. Educational Television

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