The South Carolina Native Plant Society Upstate Chapter had an incredible year in 2023! Pam Barbour’s Year in Review presentation at the December Holiday Social showcased a year filled with significant achievements, dedicated conservation efforts, and educational initiatives aimed at preserving South Carolina’s native flora.
Field Trips and Educational Activities: The Upstate Chapter organized numerous field trips throughout 2023, including visits to Blue Ridge Parkway, Bioway Farm & Post Oak Savannah, and Big Rocks, Nine Times Forest. These trips, led by experts like Dan Whitten and Rick Huffman, offered insights into native species like the Kidney-leaf Grass of Parnassus and the Sparkleberry Tree. The chapter also engaged in educational programs on native plants, their habitats, and conservation efforts, featuring speakers like Rick Huffman and Keith Bradley.
Membership and Community Engagement: The chapter experienced significant growth in its membership, with a notable increase from 481 to 568 Upstate members. This growth was facilitated by key changes like the establishment of a new chapter, the Grand Strand, and a revision in the state bylaws regarding membership duration. The chapter also engaged in robust email campaigns and newsletters, reaching an impressive average open rate of 54%.
Conservation and Restoration Efforts: The Upstate Native Nursery was a hive of activity, with volunteers contributing over 1,200 hours from May to October 2023, resulting in the propagation and sale of thousands of native plants. In addition, the chapter played a critical role in conservation advocacy, notably fighting against a proposed RV park development in Campobello to protect the Dwarf-flower Heartleaf, a threatened species.
Grants and Community Projects: SCNPS awarded $5,300 in grants in 2023 for various projects, including the creation of native plant micro-nurseries and pollinator gardens. These initiatives contribute significantly to the conservation of South Carolina’s natural heritage. Projects like the revitalization of the Cancer Survivor Park Healing Garden and the Bells Crossing Elementary School Courtyard Garden Renovation exemplify the chapter’s commitment to community involvement and education.
Invasive Species Control and Habitat Preservation: The chapter undertook several initiatives to combat invasive species and preserve native plant habitats. This included workdays to remove invasive species like Chinese privet and Vinca, and efforts to protect important species like the Bunched Arrowhead.
The SCNPS Upstate Chapter’s 2023 achievements reflect a deep commitment to the preservation and appreciation of South Carolina’s unique botanical heritage, engaging the community in meaningful conservation efforts and educational programs. We could not do this without you. Thank you so much for your dedication and support!