Lowcountry Chapter to fund community projects again!

The Lowcountry Chapter will once again offer two $500 grants for community projects that promote public education about native plants, or the protection, preservation or restoration of native plant communities.  The funding criteria can be found here:

Please note that the deadline for the Fall 2016 application is October 1.

Upstate Home & Garden Show

The Upstate Chapter participated in the Southern Home & Garden Show in Greenville March 4-6.  Steve Marlow worked his usual magic in pulling together a great booth filled with information sheets and a lovely selection of native plants provided by Carolina Wild (Anderson, SC).  SC NPS provided 26 volunteers for a total of 23 hours of Show time, and the volunteers collected 44 names of folks interested in native plants.  The new “Wild Plants on the Rabbit” brochure was especially popular with booth visitors.

Steve Marlow, Rick Huffman, Dan Whitten (Upstate Chapter President)

Steve Marlow, Rick Huffman, Dan Whitten (Upstate Chapter President)

Bill Stringer, Bill Sharpton

Bill Stringer, Bill Sharpton

Jo Anne Connor, Dan Whitten, Guests

Jo Anne Connor, Dan Whitten, Guests

 

A guide to the plants on the Swamp Rabbit Trail

SRT_frontcover_150The South Carolina Native Plant Society
is excited to announce Wild Plants on the Rabbit,
a new, pocket-sized brochure
about the native and naturalized plants
growing along the Swamp Rabbit Trail.

The Greenville Health System Swamp Rabbit Trail runs nearly 20 miles, from above the town of Travelers Rest into the heart of Greenville, until terminating in Lake Conestee Nature Park. For much of its length following the Reedy River or the route of an old railroad, the Trail is widely praised — both for its role in encouraging healthful exercise and for the economic boon it’s been to the community.

Other, less obvious, benefits are its value as a wildlife corridor and as an outdoor classroom. The Trail adjoins woodlands and wetlands, gardens and gullies, and it is a convenient place for people to get up close and personal with plants that are not in a garden, home landscape, or park, and that are more than just a blur seen out the car window.

Sharp eyes may spot Trillium, Bloodroot, Cardinal Flower, Swamp Milkweed, Downy Lobelia, a handful of Sunflowers species, or even the small white flowers of the rare, federally protected Bunched Arrowhead. Over 100 different plant species are featured in the brochure, with a photograph and a short description, and a map of the Trail is included for reference. Trail users are encouraged to use the brochure as a checklist, checking off plants as they spot them.

A common misconception is that if a plant is growing “wild” it must be native to this area, but many of the plants encountered on the Trail were brought here from other continents, either intentionally or by accident. Many exotic plants have established themselves along the Trail, disrupting naturally occurring native plant communities.

The brochure provides links to a more complete plant inventory. SCNPS members have currently documented almost 400 species growing wild on the Trail, and the list is far from complete. If Trail users see a plant on the Trail that they cannot find in the brochure or in this list, the Society’s website offers a service where they can submit their own photos for identification.

Wild Plants on the Rabbit brochures are free and available at Upstate Chapter events (including the April 16th Native Plant Sale at Conestee Park!) and at other outlets listed here.

 

We value our sponsors
who help make projects like this possible!

SRT_logos_021016_800

Upstate Plant Rescue and Planting

Twin Chimneys 2016-01-30

Bill Sharpton led a group of 13 energetic volunteers in rescuing Christmas ferns (Polystichum acrostichoides) from a soon-to-be covered site at Twin Chimneys Landfill in southern Greenville County on Saturday, January 30, 2016.

After lunch at a nearby restaurant, the group headed to a section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail near the Greenville Zoo to plant the rescued ferns. The weather cooperated (high in the low 60’s), and lots of families were visiting the zoo to take advantage of a beautiful winter day in Upstate South Carolina.

This particular section of the Swamp Rabbit Trail is in Cleveland Park and has been a special project for the Upstate Chapter since 2013, when SCNPS member Bette Thern noticed some interesting wildflowers there. Little Sweet Betsy (Trillium cuneatum), Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) and Bellwort (Uvularia perfoliata) were growing in prime position right beside the trail, but nearly smothered by a heavy blanket of English Ivy and other invasives. Several Silverbell trees (Halesia tetraptera) decorated the lower canopy.

The site was shown to Scott Drayton of City of Greenville Parks and Recreation. Scott committed Greenville P&R to remove the invasives and underbrush if SCNPS members would mark the wildflowers and Silverbell saplings. SCNPS continues to monitor the site and man occasional workdays.

To visit, park in the lower Zoo parking lot, walk past the Vietnam Memorial and cross the river at the double bridges. The site is located at the end and slightly to the right of the crossing just across the asphalt walking path.

 

Community Project Grant Funding

To support the use of native plants in local landscape, the Lowcountry Chapter is accepting applications for its Community Project Grant Program. Community projects must be directed at protecting, preserving, restoring, and/or educating the public about native plants or plant communities in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Individual award amounts will not exceed $500.

Spring proposals will be accepted until February 1, 2016 and awarded by March 1st.

Application information can be found here: Community Project Criteria

National Invasive Species Awareness Week — and how you can help

A new invasive plant species that appears to be poised to be a terrible invasive in moist, nutrient-rich situations across eastern North America has been documented in two counties in South Carolina: fig buttercup, also called lesser celandine (Ficaria verna, formerly Ranunculus ficaria).

Because of concern that this plant may be establishing footholds along waterways in other counties, the SC Native Plant Society is enlisting the efforts of people across the state to scout areas near them during March and April. A training video can be seen at
http://scnps.org/education/citizen-science-invasive-fig-buttercup/

A workshop is also planned, to be held March 21 at Lake Conestee Nature Park in Greenville:
http://scnps.org/event/upstate-lake-conestee-nature-park-invasive-fig-buttercup

What is an invasive species? An invasive species is an introduced plant or animal with the ability to thrive and spread aggressively outside its native range, and which is believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy and/or human health.

In an effort to to raise awareness and identify solutions to invasive species issues, the week of February 22–28 has been designated as National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Kudzu (Pueraria montana), “the plant that ate the South”, is an example that readily comes to mind. Introduced to the United States as an ornamental and heavily promoted for erosion control, it now covers about 8 million acres of land in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service, and costs an estimated $500 million a year in the U.S. in control efforts and the damage it causes to forest productivity.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (Adelges tsugae) is an invasive insect introduced to the East Coast in the 1950s, Already it has killed huge numbers of hemlocks in the Southern Appalachians, and foresters as far north as Maine are now battling the destructive pest. The hemlock is a foundational species in the riparian and cove habitats of southern mountains, and the ecological ramifications of its loss impact such things as stream flow, water temperature, and the survival of eastern brook trout.

Hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata) is an invasive aquatic plant that was first found in Lake Marion in 1982 and now covers over 55,000 acres in the state. Indeed, Hydrilla has become a major obstacle to fishing, swimming, boating, hydroelectric generation, and irrigation in slow-moving waters from Connecticut to Texas.

A list of ways to observe National Invasive Species Awareness Week can be downloaded from the official website (www.nisaw.org). Their suggestions include “clean, drain and dry your boat trailer and gear every time you leave a body of water”, “learn to recognize common invaders and keep an eye out for signs of new ones”, “join an eradication effort”, “let your lawmakers know your opinions about the impact of invasive species on our natural heritage”, “replace your invasive landscape plants with native alternatives”, and “become a citizen scientist”.