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UPSTATE EVENT CALENDAR

April 9th, 9:00 am: Field Trip
Glassy Mountain Heritage Preserve
We will meet at 9am in the parking lot atop Glassy Mountain in Pickens County for a 1.5 mile hike with some steep up and down sections to see what is in bloom. Lunch and water recommended and definitely bring a camera and notebook to help remember what we find. Led by Dan Whitten and others.
April 16th, 9:00 am: Propagation Workshop
Upstate Native Nursery
A Propagation Workshop is scheduled for April 16, 2022 from 9am until noon at the Upstate Native Nursery at 180 Lakewood Drive in Greenville. Jon Fritz of Bluestem Landscape Design and Miller Putnam will be leading this popular session where you learn and practice propagation techniques. Email Miller Putnam to register at millerputnam@gmail.com.

There are a maximum of 12 participants for this workshop
.
April 19th, 6:30 pm: April Upstate Monthly Meeting
Saving the Bunched Arrowhead, Our Rarest Plant
Frank Holleman
The Bunched Arrowhead (Sagittaria fasciculata) is one of the nation’s rarest plants.  It is an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act, and it exists only in two counties on earth – mostly in Greenville County and some in Henderson County, NC.  

In this program, Frank Holleman will describe the plant, its habitat, and the fight to save it.  Frank is President of Naturaland Trust, which has acquired a number of Bunched Arrowhead wetlands for conservation, and a Senior Attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, which has represented the Society and others in battles to protect this plant and its habitat.  Frank is also a member of the Society’s Upstate Board and a native plant volunteer.
 
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO
May 14th and 21st, 9:00 am: Open House
Parks Mill Spider Lily Preserve
May is the month for viewing our rare Rocky Shoals Spider Lilies (Hymenocallis coronaria) and for the most spectacular viewing, you’ll want to visit our own SCNPS Parks Mill site on Stevens Creek in McCormick County. There, under the watchful eye of Dr. Bill Stringer and a team of dedicated volunteers and researchers, a thriving colony is making a robust comeback. Morning (9:00 – 12:00) and afternoon (1:00 – 4:00) visiting hours are available, but reservations are required.
 
CLICK HERE TO RESERVE A SPOT
May 17th, 6:30 pm: May Upstate Monthly Meeting
Wild Herbs of South Carolina
Our May 17th presentation will be, "Wild Herbs of South Carolina", by April Punsalan. April is the Yahola Herbal School Founder. She is also a Botanist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Charleston, S.C. More details will be coming soon.

SPRING PLANT SALE

2022 South Carolina Native Plant Society (Upstate Chapter) Spring Sale: A Resounding Success!

lt was a cool start but the weatherman promised us a sunny day and we took advantage of everything nature had to offer!  The plants were beautiful, the waiting crowd was impatient for the opening bell to ring, the volunteers were all in their places ready to serve, and the clock ticked down to 8:30am.  Then they were off...members running to get the plants they had found on the price list and map provided on the scnps.org website.  Trilliums flew, grasses disappeared, perennials were scooped up.  Azaleas and blueberries vanished.  Our outside vendors (Carolina Native Nursery and Saturnia Farms) stood back and watched their offerings picked off by a crowd hungry for native plants.  Members of the public watched from behind the line and many decided to become members on the spot to take advantage of the early admission. 

We had adults, kids, oldsters, youngsters, dogs of all sizes and colors, wagons, carts, boogie boards pulled by a rope, wheelbarrows, and lots of plants in arms.  We had books, bees and honey from the Anderson Beekeepers, a deep assortment of carnivorous plants, garden amendments by Earthen Organics, and an information table on invasive plants.  There were roving ambassadors from the NPS to answer questions.  Sadly, there were no lions, tigers or bears (oh my!)

In the end it was perhaps the most successful Upstate SCNPS spring sale ever.  More than twice the number of people who attended the 2019 sale (our last "live" sale before COVID) came out on Saturday.  More plants than ever were there for the taking.  And we had one of the lowest percentage of plants returned to the nursery.   

The Society would like to take a moment to acknowledge our marvelous, dedicated, knowledgeable and hard working volunteers.  We had 75 people who gave up hours of their time both Friday and Saturday to ensure success.  Ages ranged from teenagers to the over 70-ish group.  And lest we forget, there is a corps of volunteers who work literally all year long to gather seeds, propagate plants and raise them to be ready to go to the next sale.

A resounding "Thank You" goes out to every customer who took a plant or plants home with them.  Native plants support native pollinators, significantly increase the number and species of breeding birds, and are adapted to local soil types and climate.  One person can truly make a difference and the small army that came to the sale will positively impact the environmental health of the Upstate for years to come.

FIELD TRIPS

Peters Creek Field Trip
Recap by Dan Whitten
 

Twelve people met with hike leaders Gill Newberry and Dan Whitten on a sunny Saturday morning to see what Peters Creek Heritage Preserve had to show us. Gill covered the history of the property and the old dam which is where we started hiking. I (Dan) kept a list of what was blooming along the way.

Some highlights of the flowers were Hexastylis naniflora or Dwarf Heartleaf, Gelsemiium sempervirens or Carolina Jessamine, and Asimina parviflora or Small-flowered Pawpaw. Gill told us about several mosses, some interesting lichens and their associations with other species. We crossed Peters Creek several times on bridges made and maintained by Gill. The day was full of learning and good exercise.

CONSERVATION

National Invasive Species Awareness


Each year at this time we take the opportunity to reflect on how this global threat to our biodiversity is playing out right here in the Upstate of South Carolina; what were doing about it, and sharing some insights on what YOU can do in your own landscapes.

As individual homeowners and gardeners, we’re often not aware the plants we purchase, plant or prune in our yards are ‘alien’ or ‘exotic’, but many plant species are ‘introduced’ into our ecosystems each year, by chance or design.  Because these species did not ‘co-evolve’ over the millennia with life in our Upstate ecosystems, they are in fact not ‘native’.  That’s not a bias, it’s a just simple biological fact.  Through various means (and in spite of best intentions) some of these plants escape into the wild and often find conditions for robust growth and rapid reproduction; thereby entering a second phase known as ‘naturalization’.  The final step along to the path to ‘invasive’ is when these newly naturalized plants begin to over-compete with the indigenous species and become an economic and/or ecological threat. 

According to our friends at the SC Exotic Pest Plant Council (SC-EPPC) there are about 90 invasive plant species currently resident in our state representing various levels of threat from the lowest ‘Alert’ to the highest ‘Severe Threat’.  These include some seen every day in our own Upstate yards. In fact, just a few years back as this writer began the journey of discovery of re-wilding my downtown Greenville landscape, he found all of the following invasive’s and although I’m making progress with eradication, the fight’s not yet over:

 
Tree of heaven
Bradford Pear
Privet
Oleaster
Knotweed
(Ailanthus altissima)
(Pyrus calleryana)
(Ligustrum)
(Elaeagnus)
(Fallopia japonicum)
Nandina
English Ivy
Japanese Honeysuckle
Kudzu
Bigleaf Periwinkle
(Nandina domestica)
(Hedera helix)
(Lonicera japonica)
(Pueraria montana)
(Vinca major)
 

You might be surprised to see what’s in your own yard.  It takes determination, and it takes time, but protecting and restoring our landscapes today for our children’s tomorrow is one of the best investments we can make.   In reading this article, you’ve already begun. Visit any of these excellent resources for more information:

SCNPS Education Series: 

Friends of the Reedy River: The Invasive Fig Buttercup 

Exotic Invasive Plant Species of SC  

SC Forestry Commission: Invasive Plants Booklet

Clemson Extension: What is an Invasive Plant and Why Should We Care?

Native Grasses Restoration in the Upstate


View of Timber Creek Farm, the Culbertson Family's Conserved Land
 
What does it mean to be a ‘good steward of the land’?  For many of us, it’s as simple as learning new approaches for re-wilding our own landscapes at home and work.  For Chad Culbertson at Timber Creek Farm, it means moving away from monocrop farming to growing 64 acres of Little Bluestem, Indiangrass, and other native grasses,  for seed production, with aspirations for even more acreage in pollinator plants.  

 
Lauren Mueller
Timber Creek Farm is one of Upstate Forever’s growing family properties under conservation easement another proof that rewilding our properties can make them beautiful, beneficial, and even profitable!

Lauren Muller, in addition to being an SCNPS Upstate Chapter Board member is also a Land Stewardship Associate with Upstate Forever.  Read her interview with Chad Culbertson in the UF’s 'The Steward’ newsletter.

MEMBERS/VOLUNTEERS

What is the Upstate’s Best Kept Secret?
 

The Native Plant Interpretive Garden at the Pickens County Museum in Pickens is one of the “best kept secrets” in our area.  The volunteers at the museum garden are working hard to create some “buzz” and interest in this beautiful little garden that surrounds the museum.  On Saturday, May 7, in conjunction with the Pickens Azalea Festival, the museum garden volunteers will host a scavenger hunt for children and give tours of the garden from 10:00 am to 4 pm. 

The volunteers from Master Gardeners of the Foothills, Upstate Master Naturalists, and Upstate SCNPS have embarked on an ambitious project to create a pdf of plants in bloom at the garden for various months of the year.  The pdf for May is the first one completed.  The pdfs will be hosted on the SCNPS website.  A QR code available at the museum will link visitors via their cell phones to the plants of the month.  The open house and scavenger hunt on Saturday, May 7 will debut the new system.

This is a big project and you are invited to help in any of these ways:

  • Volunteer to help create “Plants of the Month” pdfs for other months beyond May.

  • Come out to help to work at the garden between now and May 7. Work mornings are the1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month.  It is a great way to learn the plants and make some new friends.  After a few work mornings, you will be ready to:

  • Help at the museum on May 7 to greet visitors, give tours, and help at an information table we will have on Main St. in Pickens.

Contact Carol Asalon, at carol.asalon@retiree.furman.edu for more information.  If you like public speaking, photography, getting children and parents excited about native plants and sustainability, then this is the project for you!

THE VOLUNTEERS CORNER

The plants are energetically nursing to life.  Devote some of your renewed energy to helping out with Upstate activities that keep the chapter running and growing.  Here are some opportunities:

UPSTATE CHAPTER

Publicity Director: Coordinate with the current Media Team and the Upstate Board of Directors to spread the word about SCNPS, our activities and projects. Contact Virginia Meador at virginia_meador@hotmail.com.

Advocacy Coordinator: Rick Huffman and others do a great job keeping up with advocacy issues locally, in SC and nationally, but they can’t do the whole job. We are looking for a coordinator to mobilize advocacy volunteers when there is a need to take action. It might be attending a meeting to object to a zoning proposal that would be detrimental to native plants, or a need to contact legislators to encourage passage of a proposed state law. The job requires an organized person who can communicate well with volunteers and give them the information and details they will need to be effective advocates. Contact judy_seeley@hotmail.com for details.

Consider Serving on the Board of Directors:  At the height of the Covid pandemic, three of our four current officers, President, Vice President, and Secretary all agreed to stay on for an extra 2-year term. Some of them are ready now to pass the baton to someone new. Are you ready to help lead the Upstate chapter?  Contact Virginia Meador at virgnia_meador@hotmail.com.  

BOOK REVIEW

Book Review:  Half Earth by E.O.Wilson
 
“We should forever bear in mind that the beautiful world our species inherited took the biosphere 3.8 billion years to build.  The intricacy of its species work together to create a sustainable balance we have only recently begun to grasp.  Like it or not, and prepared or not, we are the mind and stewards of the living world.  Our own ultimate future depends upon that understanding.  We have come a very long way through the barbaric period in which we still live, and now I believe we’ve learned enough to adopt a transcendent moral precept concerning the rest of life.  It is simple and easy to say:  'Do not further harm to the biosphere.'”  -E.O.Wilson

In his final and perhaps most compelling work, this Pulitzer prize winning author and preeminent evolutionary biologist explains that biodiversity isn’t just about species; it’s about native species that co-evolved over the millennia and are now unable to evolve quickly enough to survive in today’s ecological environment.  And why does that matter?  In order to save our declining Biosphere we must learn how the species within it interact with one another.  Yet this process has only just begun, and remains a fledgling science, with few answers and many questions.

Wilson is candid and factual about how we arrived at this dilemma and points out that although we humans are the primary cause of biodiversity decline, we also have the ability to find answers and make decisions vital to our long-term existence.

The many contributing factors to biodiversity decline are carefully explained, and although Wilson feels that while today’s conservation efforts are helping, they will prove too fragmented to recover the ecological balance.  He recommends setting key areas as biological preserves, including our own Longleaf Pine savannah, which he describes as among the richest and most diverse on the planet. 

A highly recommended read!   -Doug Lockard Feb’22

 
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BOOK REVIEWS
Suggestions for Meeting Speakers and for Field Trips

Have you heard a great speaker who would be of interest to SCNPS members or visited an area that would be an excellent field trip? Send those ideas to Dan Whitten for Field trips (sdwhit10@aol.com) and to Rick Huffman for Meeting Speakers (earthdesignrick@gmail.com).
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The South Carolina Native Plant Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to preserve, protect & restore native plant communities in South Carolina. Your contributions are tax deductible.

Our mailing address is:
PO Box 1311, Chester, SC 29706

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