Upstate Meeting: Monarch Butterflies, Migration, and Native Plants

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What’s the big deal about Monarchs? Monarch Butterflies are the only butterfly known to migrate like many birds do–flying south in the fall and returning north in the spring. Unlike many other butterflies, Monarchs don’t overwinter in North America. To avoid our cold winters, they must fly to warmer climates. For unknown millennia, Monarchs have been flying to a handful of sites in the mountains of Mexico where the temperature and humidity are just right for them to cluster together and keep warm.
If they’ve been doing this for so long, why are Monarchs suddenly in the news? Monarchs are in trouble. Viewed over the past few decades, the numbers of Monarchs have plummeted and biologists are concerned that they may be facing extinction. What’s happened? There are many suspects, including loss of host plants, destruction of habitat, climate change, and increased pesticide use. While any one of these factors could be problematic, taken together they may spell doom for Monarchs. These butterflies are the proverbial “canary in the mine.” Their troubles are our troubles, warning of danger to the health and well-being of humans as well as plants and other animals.
Does new research suggest better ways for gardeners and nature lovers to help the monarchs?  Attend the lecture and find out.  The event is free and open to the public, so invite your friends.  A reception follows the presentation.
Sarah Ross is president of The Wormsloe Foundation and Director of the Wormsloe Institute for Environmental History in addition to her faculty appointment at the University of Georgia where she holds the position of Executive Director of the UGA Center for Research and Education at Wormsloe.  UGA-CREW, in partnership with WIEH, conducts research focused on three centuries of evolving land use on the Georgia coast and the resulting cultural adaptations.



To download a flyer to post at work or share with friends, click here.


Upstate field trip: Butterfly Garden at Roper Mountain Science Center

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Join trip leader Virginia Meador for a visit to the butterfly garden at the Roper Mountain Science Center in Greenville on Saturday, September 9 at 10:30 am.

Butterfly larva are picky eaters of our native plants. For instance, Monarch Butterfly larva require the undersides of the milkweed family. Come to see the native plants (pawpaw, passion flower and pipevine) installed by the Roper Mountain staff that are needed by larva of specific species of butterflies found in our area. Also, a part of the garden are plants that make an excellent nectar supply for adult butterflies. Bring a sun hat, insect repellent, your field guide, lunch, and plan to enjoy the dining gazebo in the garden after we finish. Recommended is: Peterson First Guides Caterpillars. It is a simple but effective field guide that shows the larva/butterfly and discusses the connection of the larval food plant or plants specific for each butterfly species. Meet in the parking lot on the right just past the Roper Mountain’s gate at 10:30.

This field trip is coordinated to the Upstate NPS annual meeting on Tuesday, September 19.  Dr. Sarah Ross will present new research on the Monarch Butterfly and the reasons it is in trouble.  Please see more information by clicking on Sept. 19, 2017.

Upstate Field Trip: Durant Ashmore’s Native Plants Nursery

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Saturday, August 12, Field Trip to Durant Ashmore’s Native Plants Nursery

Leader: Durant Ashmore
Durant Ashmore is a well-know upstate landscaper and plant  columnist with a landscaping business and nursery in Fountain Inn, about 30 miles south of Greenville.  Mr. Ashmore will gather the native plants that he grows on his 30-acre nursery and have them in a condensed space.  He will offer a 45 minute presentation and discussion on these natives. After the presentation, those who would like to shop will be allowed to buy plants at the wholesale price. The nursery is not a retail business and the opportunity to shop for plants is available ONLY during this field trip.
There are extensive nature trails along the banks and bottom-land of the Reedy River.  Mr. Ashmore will lead a one-hour walking tour for those who are interested.  The site has duck ponds, beaver dams, fox dens, native plants, and other points of interest.
Bring sun hat, shoes that will accommodate wet and steep areas, water, snacks. walking stick if needed, and insect repellent. A golf cart will be available.
To make reservations, please sign up by August 9 by emailing <[email protected]>
The carpool will meet at 8am the Home Depot, 1339 S. Pleasantburg Dr, Greenville, SC 29605.




Upstate Meeting: Rare Plants and Botanical Oddities of Low Country Wildlife Refuges

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The July meeting of the Upstate NPS chapter features Keith Bradley who will give us a look at the rare and unusual native plants of the other end of the state, the Low Country. Bradley was recently asked by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services to survey and map the rare plants of the national wildlife refuges in the low country, including the Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve in Horry County, South Carolina.

In his talk, Bradley will highlight some of the unusual species he discovered during his survey. He hopes those attending the meeting will enjoy learning about some of the unique plants he has discovered in the wildlife refuges. He is especially passionate about the rare plants that aren’t usually given much attention. Some plants, such as the dwarf spring lily (or pygmy spider lily), are “under the radar in the conservation community,” according to Keith.
Keith Bradley has been a research botanist for over 25 years, with expertise in plant taxonomy and conservation, and has authored southeastern US plant identification guides.

The meeting is at Landrum Depot, 211 North Trade,  Landrum, SC, starting at 7pm.  Arrive at 6:30 for refreshments and socializing before the meeting.  The meeting is free and open to the public.

Upstate Field Trip: Mt. Mitchell, NC

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Join leader Rick Huffman for a trip to North Carolina in Search of Mt. Mitchell’s Purple Fringed Orchid.  This will be a park and stroll, low stress field trip.  The July temperatures should be a little cooler in the mountains. We will investigate the edges and overlooks of the Blue Ridge Parkway.  At this time of year, we can expect to find blooms of Fly Poison, Rosebay Rhododendron, Fire Pink, Bee Balm and numerous others.
Meet at the Ingles parking lot in Landrum, SC at the intersection of SC Hwy 14 and I-26 at 8:30am to form carpools.  Bring a lunch, water, hat, sunscreen, hiking shoes or boots, and a walking stick if needed.
Email <virginia_meador> to make reservations for this field trip.  Please include a cell phone number and how many people will be in your party.

Image result for photo of rick huffman, greenville, sc Trip Leader: Rick Huffman


Upstate field trip: Ferns at Pearson’s Falls

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Ferns at Pearson’s Falls, 2748 Pearson’s Falls Rd., Saluda, NC
Leader: Virginia Meador
$5 Admission at entrance  This is for the upkeep of the glen.
Carpool available – See details below
Hike the quarter mile trail to the falls and identify the eleven species of ferns found within visual reach of the path. Bring the small field guide, Fern Finder by A. and B. Hallowell, to study and note the species as we find them.
Suggested items to increase comfort are: lunch and a drink for the end of the walk, a walking stick, pencil/pen for notes in book.  Hat, sunscreen, and insect repellent might also be a good idea.
Carpool: Meet at 8:50am at Home Depot, 1385 Wade Hampton Blvd, Greer, SC, to leave by 9:00am.
Email <[email protected]> to make reservations.
The group is limited to 12.
Please give cell number for last minute communication.

Upstate Propagation Workshop with Miller Putnam

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Propagation Workshop Set for April 29

Miller Putnam is offering his popular propagation workshop again on Saturday, April 29 from 9am to Noon.  This is a hands-on workshop at Miller’s greenhouse, 180 Lakewood Dr., Greenville.  You will learn the basics of propagation from seeds, cuttings, divisions, and other techniques.  Learn how to propagate plants for your own landscape.  You will go home with new skills and some new plants.

The a class limit is 12 and there is a $5 materials fee.  Email [email protected] to sign up.  Call Miller at 864 325-9700 with questions.

Upstate program: Stevens Creek HP and Rocky Shoals Spider Lily

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Join us for a program about Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve and and the newly protected Parks Mill site of the endangered Rocky Shoals Spider lily.  The speakers are Dan Whitten and Bill Sharpton. (See the special video,“Spider Lilies Preservation Project,” on our website,

Stevens Creek HP is a unique relic plant community left over from the last ice age.  With a north facing bluff and marble rock, the site includes 15 rare plants, such as bald cypress, lanceleaf trillium,  faded trillium, and nodding trillium.  Soil with high calcium content creates ideal conditions for these trillium.

Dan Whitten will take us on a visual “field trip” with beautiful photos taken by Bill Sharpton.  The featured plant will be the Miccosukee goosberry (Ribes echinellum), found only at Stevens Creek HP and on Lake Miccosukee in Florida.  Come and hear the story of this rare plant in one of South Carolina’s special places.

The program is free and open to the public.  Come at 6:30 pm for refreshments and socializing.  The program will start at 7 pm at University Center, Greenville Technical College, 225 South Pleasantburg Drive, Greenville.

Rocky Shoals Spider Lily site protected

Rocky Shoals Spider Lily   site protected

Upstate Meeting: Waterfalls and Wildflowers

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Join us for our February program, Waterfalls of SC;  Hikes, Waterfalls and Wildflowers Along the Way.

The speaker is Thomas King. Thomas King was hiking in the Upstate before established trails were common place. His book, Waterfall Hikes of the Upstate South Carolina, features 125 waterfall hikes in the mountains of our area.

We will meet in the lower level of Founders Hall Dining Commons on the Southern Wesleyan University Campus.  Refreshments will be served.  The program is free and open to the public.