CLEMSON — Cathy Reas Foster, Clemson Extension’s natural resources agent for Pickens County, has been named Public Servant of the Year by Upstate Forever.
Foster was presented the award Feb. 24 at the conservation organization’s ForeverGreen Annual Awards Luncheon in Greenville. Upstate Forever honors individuals and organizations for significant achievements in the fields of land conservation, clean water, clean air, sustainable development, recycling, public service and volunteer work.
As a hydrogeologist, Foster is co-coordinator of Stormwater Partners for Pickens and Anderson counties. She is part of Clemson University’s Carolina Clear team and is a member of numerous nonprofit conservation organizations.
“I am honored to receive this award from Upstate Forever and share it with everyone who made this possible,” said Foster, who won the South Carolina Wildlife Federation Conservation Educator of the Year award in 2014. “Helping people and organizations work together to conserve natural resources is important for healthy and sustainable communities, and I am happy to be a part of that.”
Known throughout the Upstate for her vibrant personality and high-energy approach, Foster goes above and beyond to educate residents about environmental issues. One day she’s painting rain barrels and setting up compost bins. Another she’s hanging tree tags and installing rain gardens. She also promotes the use of native plants in residential yards.
All this while occasionally finding time to backpack sections of the Appalachian Trail.
“Cathy’s enthusiasm for conservation and specifically recycling and reusing is exciting and contagious,” said Angela Viney, the development director of Upstate Forever. “She is always finding ways to repurpose everyday materials. Her interaction with children as she teaches them about humans’ impact on our rivers and streams captures their attention and sparks enthusiasm for change.”