VOLUNTEERING IN THE UPSTATE
The Upstate Chapter is one of the most dynamic in the state and there are many opportunities to further your own interests and learning, while benefiting the Chapter goals. Below, are a few examples with contact links for each group:
Our Upstate Membership Chairperson Judy Seeley is aware of all the many opportunities in the Chapter and can help match your time and skills to the ideal opportunity. Most of these are easily ‘scalable’ meaning the level of commitment can be adjusted to your level of commitment. We believe “every little bit counts” so whatever skill (or lack there of) and time you have, and however much time you have to offer, we’ll be happy to plug you in somewhere where you can make a contribution and have fun doing it.
To learn more about current volunteer opportunities in the Upstate
Contact Judy Seeley or any of the following:
THE UPSTATE COMMUNICATIONS TEAM:
Creative opportunities abound in this dynamic team working with an array of media tools to get the our important conservation messages out to our community. Our media outlets include traditional press releases, our website, e-mails, newsletters, print and digital social media.
- Publicity Chairperson
- Upstate Website Editor (Word Press)
- Graphic Design
- Writers & Editors
- Photographers & Photo Editors
- Videographers and Video Editors
Contact Doug Lockard
THE UPSTATE NATIVE NURSERY:
The Upstate Chapter launched their own nursery operation in 2012 and currently maintains an inventory of 3-5,000 native plants in our nursery, most of which we propagate ourselves either from seed or by vegetative reproduction. Often our selection includes as many as 150 different species, many of which are difficult to find elsewhere. The operation is broken down into several teams and some key positions:
The Greenhouse Gang:
This group sometimes meet in groups (in non-Covid years) for a few hours of social time while propagating the thousands of plants we grow each year for our sales. Learn more about vegetative and seed propagation from this experienced team while working together in our greenhouse. These volunteers also often work on their own in a tranquil nurturing environment.
Contact Kay Stafford
The Native Seed Bank
Collecting, storing, and cataloging seeds requires coordination and organization, and we’re looking for volunteers to catalog our seeds, help coordinate the collecting and distribution to keep our Greenhouse propagation program running smoothly as well as making seeds available to others. We’re also looking for volunteers to join our seed collecting trips and even lead them in the early summer and late fall.
Contact Ashley Morris
The Nursery Maintenance & Operations Team:
We typically maintain an inventory of over a hundred species of native plants with somewhere between 2,000 to 5,000 plants in our nursery in various states of maturity. Those plants require a range of conditions from full-sun to full-shade, various water requirements, and a sharp eye out for problem pathogenic and insect pests. This group tends to the care and feeding of these plants to ensure they look their best and are strong and healthy to give them the best chance of success in their new homes. After a short training period, they work independently on a rotating schedule basis, adjusting the rotation from daily in the summer months and reducing to once a week in the winter months. The team usually numbers about a dozen, so even in the summer it’s easy to adjust the schedule to fit everyone’s availability.
Contact Cathy McCurdy
The Plant Sales Team:
Each year, we host a plant sale in the Spring and another in the Fall and it takes several dozen people to pull that off. Volunteers help get the nursery ready for the sales, take inventory, take the orders, pull the plants, process the payments, and help keep the nursery looking great. The Sales Team is presently looking for someone with more experience in e-Commerce in ‘Square.com’, ‘Woo-Commerce’ or some other suitable platform.
Contact Kathy Harrington
Volunteer Opportunities at Pickens County Native Plant Garden
Volunteers from Upstate SCNS, Upstate Master Naturalists, and Master Gardeners of the Foothills, take care of a beautiful native plant demonstration garden at the Pickens County Museum. The museum address is 307 Johnson St, Pickens, SC 2967. New volunteers are always welcome. Volunteers gather on the first and third Tuesdays of each month to plant, weed, and generally tend the garden. Joining this informal crew is a great way to learn SC native plants in all season. We generally meet at 8am in warm month and 9am in cold months, working until about 11am. Individuals may come on other days, once they have be oriented to the garden.
Contact Judy Seeley
(Please note “Museum Garden” in the subject line)
See also the About Us Upstate page for more points of contact.
Take a moment to read about the contributions of some of our most outstanding volunteers in the Upstate!
One of the earliest members of the Upstate Native Plant Society, Jim Fowler has been a prolific contributor for many years. Having spent years of field research on native orchids and carnivorous plants, Jim is has become a leading expert in his field of study as a naturalist. His books and native plant images and information online provided valuable content to the science, and he was honored by the U.S.Postal Service with the publication of Wild Orchids Forever Stamp collection in 2020.
Jim took his last photography field trip on Mount Mitchell in June 2021. Read more about this incredible member and his contributions on native plants research and our society in Bill Stringer’s Remembering Jim Fowler.
A simple dream begun by Kitty & Miller Putnam that intersected with an opportunity to benefit their community. The non-profit South Carolina Native Plant Societies Upstate Native Nursery is the Putnam’s legacy, a story begins almost two decades ago, and continues today as a tremendously popular program for the Upstate community. Read about more about how this delightful couple’s vision and energy have inspired so many volunteers over the past two decades, and still going strong!
Retiring after more than 16 years of service to the Society, Steve and Janie have been (and continue to be) exemplary models of outstanding volunteers. Their particular contribution has been in the area of publicity with both having served as editors to the Upstate Happenings newsletter, and Steve as the Chair for the Home and Garden Show while Janie created the Wild Plants on the Rabbit brochure and maintains the incredible NameThatPlant website.
To be certain there is lots of credit to share regarding our Upstate Native Nursery and the annual sales, but when we were preparing for the Spring 2020 sale, Kathy Harrington realized we needed to make some changes. We had been using Square.com for a while as our e-commerce tool but under Kathy’s guidance, we enabled a completely new online ordering process using the ap for both inventory control and sales and also for un-assisted plant pick-ups. It not only allowed us to continue providing the vital service of providing our Upstate community with native plants, but set a record year in plant sales. Since the plant sales are our primary funding tool, the benefits of Kathy’s leadership will have a lengthy and wide-reaching impact.