Not Your Average Volunteers
Like many of our volunteers, Janie and Steve Marlow wandered into the Society in 2003 simply curious. They had an interest, they saw an opportunity to put their life-skills to good use, and they had the will. But in the beginning, they had no way of knowing they would make a legacy contribution to our Society.
They’ve announced their desire to ‘step-back’; Steve in 2019 and Janie at the end of 2020. Their absence will certainly be felt, but there can be no denying they’ve done more than their share and have earned their place among the most influential of our membership. They depart at a time when the Society is robust and full of promise, leaving a legacy for the rest of us to build on, particularly here in the Upstate.
We wanted to celebrate their contribution, and express our gratitude for it. We also wanted to share this story with the ‘next generation’ of volunteers as a call to action. The Marlows reinforce the many ways there are to contribute; each to their own ability, allowing one opportunity to lead to another, making incremental progress and enjoying the feeling of having made a difference. Steve and Janie are passing the torch, but they do so with the certain knowledge that they leave it better than they found it.
Thanks Steve and Janie, for showing us the way.
Publicity and Newsletter Editors
In 2006 Janie expanded her role to become editor of the new chapter newsletter ‘Upstate Happenings’. She was a natural candidate with her graphics experience, and it was a great fit to her Board role as Publicity Chair until 2017. She recruited writers to interview speakers and provide articles.
Janie developed relationships with a variety of Upstate media outlets resulting in several full-page write-ups, including one in the Greenville News above the fold!
Somewhere along the way Janie and Diane Coiner became the Book Ladies, and organized ‘on topic’ books for sale at the various sales and meetings.
Steve and Janie also applied their graphic design skills to other projects, including the new SCNPS logo, and Steve created the Swamp Rabbit brochure map in 2016 and 2020.
Janie has also supported several upstate authors, beginning with “HAWS-A guide to Hawthorns of the Southeastern United States” by Ron Lance, and more recently “Round About Greenville and the Carolina Blue Ridge” by Pam Shucker and Bill Robertson.
The Home and Garden Show:
In early 2014 Janie handed the newsletter duties off to Steve who served as editor until the end of 2019. Steve’s gift for organization served him well as newsletter editor as well as in his role as the Chair for the Home and Garden Show for years, an effort that played an important role in the Upstate Chapter’s outreach to the community.
Fig Buttercup Eradication Campaign
In 2013 fate dealt us Fig Buttercup, and Janie joined forces with Bill Stringer and Susan Lochridge in raising the alarm to the seriousness of this challenge and began the time-consuming work of eradicating this aggressive invasive threat to riparian zones throughout the Southeast.
Janie and Dan Whitten (and others) launched the Species List Surveys program on conservation properties back in 2011 and it continues today. Team members visit a property once a month for 10 months of the year and record what species we find as a base line of what grows there. Janie proposed a powerline easement near Cleveland, SC that contained many interesting species. With help from Frank Holleman, the property (now appropriately called ‘Janie’s Prairie’) was purchased by the Naturaland Trust to be managed by the SCNPS.
Name That Plant
Although not a product of the SCNPS, in Janie’s spare time she designed, launched and maintains a website dedicated to the identification and nomenclature of species native to our region and which consequently serves as a tremendous resource for those of us in the Society.
The site is free to use and is maintained by Janie at her expense and currently includes over 3,800 plant descriptions and over 23,000 images contributed by some 300 photographers (including Janie and Steve, both skilled photographers).
Stop! That’s A Georgia Aster!”
Judy Seeley, our Society’s own beloved story teller, shared this one with us for this occasion.
“When Joe Townsend suggested I join the Society in 2010, I began by joining a seed collecting trip. One Saturday we were driving along a narrow, bumpy county road when the woman next to me yelled, “Stop. I think there is a Georgia Aster!” The driver abruptly halted in the middle of the road, put the van in reverse and backed up to a place where there was a tiny speck of purple on the edge of the road. Four people, including Janie, leaped out of the van and immediately called out, “Yes, Georgia Aster”.
The Georgia Aster, as I had learned the week before, is on the federal endangered plant list. So we called the other van on the cell phone and that group turned around and came back. They were so excited you would have thought we had found the Holy Grail! “
The beautiful brochure was Janie’s brainstorm, her design layout, and she managed the project from concept to reality in 2016 and again in 2020 with the 2nd edition. It’s a wonderful tool for young and old alike to become more aware of our incredibly diverse native plants, as well as those invasives that threaten them, while walking, jogging or biking the trail.
With the help of a handful of contributing photographers and technical editors, Janie created our first truly professional ‘outreach’ product to provide an educational tool free to the public. It is an exemplary project that serves our organization well, and it is very much to Janie’s credit.
People that care can make a difference. If enough people care, we can make a huge difference. It’s not how, or when, or how much you contribute; that’s for each of us to decide. It’s that you make the effort. It may well be impossible to leave the world better than we found it now. But we need to simply shift our paradigm to preserve, restore and sustain our world for future generations of life.
Janie’s closing words;
“I hope to stay involved, especially in projects like Fig Buttercup, Janie’s prairie, and of course in maintaining the NameThatPlant.net website. Thank you all; you are a great group, saving the world one native plant at a time!”
Contributors in December 2020: Dan Whitten, Judy Seeley, Doug Lockard, Bill Stringer, Miller & Kitty Putnam, Frank Holleman and Susan Lochridge