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DNR News

June 6, 2013

Greenville businessman named 2012 Environmental Awareness Award

Tom Kester, a retired partner from the global auditing firm of KPMG LLP, has been named winner of the 2012 South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award. Mr. Kester, who serves as chairman and treasurer of the not-for-profit Conestee Foundation, was recognized for his volunteer efforts as part of the Foundation to acquire an old mill lakebed and turn it into a wildlife refuge and nature park for public use at a ceremony May 15 at the S.C. Forestry Commission's Environmental Education Center at Harbison State Forest in Columbia.DNR Director Alvin Taylor (L), Tom Kester

Lake Conestee Nature Park (LCNP) in Greenville consists of over 400 acres made up of the original mill lakebed and three historic farm properties adjacent to the lakebed. There are over 10 miles of trails built within the park and two outdoor learning centers. The creation of LCNP spurred the local governments to cooperate and restore an abandoned minor league baseball stadium to little league standards and build four new little league baseball fields to create a first class tournament site.

There have been over 15 Master’s and PhD studies done at LCNP. LCNP currently has grants from 3M and Michelin to design and install four instructional loops within the park. LCNP has had numerous Eagle Scout projects. The benefits of these achievements will be shared by many individuals for many years into the future.

The S.C. General Assembly established the S.C. Environmental Awareness Award in 1992. It's now in its 20th year recognizing outstanding contributions made toward the protection, conservation, and improvement of South Carolina's natural resources.


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