Pickens Museum Native Plant Garden work day

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Help Put the Pickens County Museum Native Plant Garden to Bed for the Winter

We need extra hands for a “blitz” of trimming, weeding and mulching. The Fire Department inspector requires us to trim plants away from the building, a sudden big extra job

THE DATE is Saturday, October 14 from 8:30am to 11am at the Pickens County Native Plant Garden located at 307 Johnson St, Pickens, SC 29671. The Museum rest rooms will be open.

BRING lots of energy, gloves, hat, water and any snacks you need.  If possible, also bring a shovel, loppers, weeder, and hand pruner.

HOW TO SIGN-UP:   Please email [email protected].

October Upstate Monthly Meeting: Lichen Wonders with Tricia Kyzer

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Explore the captivating world of lichens with Tricia Kyzer as she exposes the secrets of these remarkable organisms and their essential contributions to our natural world. She will take you on a journey to discover the intricate beauty of lichens, their ability to survive extreme environments, why community is essential for lichen survival and the role lichens play as ecosystem architects. Program Warning: Lichen programs such as these have been known to cause an unstoppable desire to examine every lichen in the path. Prolonged inspections of lichens may cause squint lines and an unquenchable sense of wonder.


Tricia Kyzer

Tricia Kyzer is a naturalist, writer, and environmental educator. She has a BA in Elementary Education from North Greenville University and holds a Statewide Master Naturalist Certification as well as a Palmetto Environmental Educator Certification. For the past 20 years, Tricia has worked with people of all ages leading them into making their own connections to our wild places, from wilderness therapy to curriculum development for nature-based organizations. She works part-time with the SC Aquarium as an Educational Leadership Partner and with Jocassee Lake Tours as a naturalist guide and educator. She spends her school year as a 4th/5th grade teacher at Wild Oak Independent School, a nature-centered school in Hendersonville, NC. She appreciates the never-ending wonder of the natural world and enjoys spending time outdoors being curious and making new discoveries. One of her bucket list life goals is to have the opportunity to name a lichen in the Jocassee Gorges.

Doors will open at 6:30 and the meeting will start at 7PM at the Landrum Depot. CLICK HERE to go to the event and add it to your calendar as well as the Zoom link.

September Upstate Monthly Meeting: Alan Weakley, “It’s not your Grandfather’s Flora”

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Photo Credit: North Carolina Botanical Garden/UNC

Save the Date: September 19, 6:30-8:00, Greenville

Alan S. Weakley: “It’s not your Grandfather’s Flora:  New Floristic Tools for Information, Appreciation, and Conservation of South Carolina’s Plants”

A self-described plant systematist, plant community ecologist, biogeographer, and conservation biologist focused on the species and systems of the Southeastern United States, Alan S. Weakley is also the creator of the invaluable “Flora of the Southeastern United States,” available as a PDF, web app, and mobile apps.

In this presentation he’ll explore the rich biological diversity of South Carolina and talk about how we’re still learning about (and learning to see) “the real World” around us.  He’ll discuss new tools that are being developed to make it easier to explore the plants growing in the Upstate of South Carolina.  In his own words: “There will be pictures of beautiful plants, discussion of how humans identify plants, discussion of why plant names sometimes change, and an introduction to identifying wild plants for the novice and the expert.”



Alan Weakley is a plant taxonomist, community ecologist, and conservationist specializing in the Southeastern United States. He holds a B.A. from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. from Duke University.  He has worked as botanist and ecologist for the N.C. Natural Heritage Program, and as regional and chief ecologist for The Nature Conservancy and NatureServe, and currently serves as Director of the UNC-CH Herbarium, a department of the N.C. Botanical Garden, and teaches as adjunct faculty at UNC-Chapel Hill and at the Highlands Biological Station. In the course of his career, he has worked cooperatively with most federal and state land-managing agencies in the southeastern United States.

Alan is author of the Flora of the Southeastern United States and its app version, FloraQuest, and co-author (with Chris Ludwig and Johnny Townsend) of the Flora of Virginia and the Flora of Virginia App, which have received awards including the Thomas Jefferson Award for Conservation. He is also co-author (with Laura Cotterman and Damon Waitt) of Wildflowers of the Atlantic Southeast. Working with a team of botanists and data scientists across the southeastern United States, Alan is leading a project to complete an enhanced version of the Flora of the Southeastern United States and also develop a series of apps, FloraQuest, covering the 25 state region.

The FloraQuest apps are designed by Alan and the Southeastern Flora Team as a modernized reinvention of “the flora”, designed to present the standard kinds of information usually found in a scientific flora (dichotomous keys, information on habitat, distribution, taxonomy, scientific references) with additional conservation-related information (rarity, conservatism, habitat dependency) and innovative identification tools (graphic keys, diagnostic photos) made possible by digital technology.  The goal is to empower biodiversity conservation by a greater diversity of people, including nonprofessionals wantimng to contribute through citizen or participatory science.

Alan has authored over 100 journal articles and book chapters, and is in high demand as a speaker on plant taxonomy, community classification and mapping, biogeography, and biodiversity conservation. He is active with the Flora of North America project and the United States National Vegetation Classification, serves as an advisor to the N.C. Natural Heritage Program and N.C. Plant Conservation Program, and is a co-founder of the Carolina Vegetation Survey. As a trustee and board member of public and private conservation granting agencies and foundations, he has helped direct and oversee $400,000,000 of land conservation grants in the Southeastern United States.

Join us in person at the Kroc Center or via Zoom using this link.  The link will open at 6:30 and we will have some time to socialize before the presentation starts at 7PM.





Outreach Coordinator Needed

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The Upstate Chapter receives numerous requests for an “information table” as a way to offer information about the SCNPS and native plants. Recent examples include our information tables at REI, the PawPaw Festival, and our annual presence at the Oconee Bell Fest.

All that interest is fantastic, but often we don’t have the resources at our fingertips, despite having a membership that is knowledgeable and willing to help.

This highlights our need for an outgoing, organized person to respond to requests, find volunteers to staff the tables, and ensure that the needed equipment (tables, drapes, signage) and supplies (brochures, sign-up forms) make it to the events.

This is a great opportunity to share your passion for native plants, meet a lot of interesting people, and help the Chapter out, as well! Contact Chapter President Pam Barbour at [email protected] for more information.

Pickens Museum Native Plant Garden

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Special clean-up day at Pickens Museum Native Plant Garden

Saturday, October 14 from 8:30am to 11am. The Pickens County Museum is at 307 Johnson St, Pickens, SC 29671

Come out and help put the native plant garden in good shape for the fall and winter. Our regular crew has been tending and weeding since last March. Now is your chance to join them for a “blitz” of weeding, mulching, spiffing things up.

For more details and to sign up, check the Event on our Calendar.

Plants for Wildlife in the Upcoming Fall Sale, October 10-14 (Online Only)

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Cardinal Flower (not mentioned, but a hummingbird magnet!)

Adding beauty to our home landscapes is reason enough to grow native plants. Some of these plants have the additional value of attracting birds, insect pollinators and other interesting wildlife to our yards. Most of us know that milkweeds attract monarch butterflies. Many of the wildlife-attracting plants in the upcoming Native Plant Society sale are just as effective but are not as well known.

Following are just a few examples:

Phyla nodiflora or frog fruit is a low, spreading plant in the verbena family. Different publications give very different information on the plant’s cold hardiness but local Native Plant Society members report that they have grown it successfully in their gardens. Frog fruit is a groundcover that tolerates a wide range of conditions including dry, sunny sites where turf struggles. It is a host for the caterpillars of phaon crescent and buckeye butterflies. The small flowers attract an assortment of small pollinating insects throughout the summer.

Dwarf Goldenrod

Several species of goldenrod, Solidago, will be available at the sale. The bright yellow flowers in summer and fall attract a tremendous variety of pollinating insects. In Nature’s Best Hope, Douglas Tallamy states that 181 different species of caterpillars feed on goldenrods. More than forty species of goldenrod grow naturally in South Carolina. One of the sale plants, dwarf goldenrod or Solidago nemoralis, is noteworthy because it grows to only about two feet tall. Despite the stories you have heard, goldenrod does not cause allergies. Its pollen is comparatively heavy and is distributed by pollinators – not wind.

Lonicera sempervirens or coral honeysuckle is a beautiful evergreen vine. It is small enough to be grown on a chainlink fence with a little trimming. Clusters of red trumpet-shaped flowers attract hummingbirds and long-tongued butterflies. You may know about the clearwing moths that fly during the day and look like miniature hummingbirds. The caterpillars of one species, snowberry clearwing moth, feed on the leaves of this honeysuckle. In late summer and fall, the small red fruits of this honeysuckle provide food for birds.


Celtis laevigatus, sugarberry, and Celtis occidentalis, hackberry, are medium-sized native trees that are not commonly found in area nurseries. The trunk of sugarberry tends to be light gray and smooth while hackberry has distinctive corky ridges on the trunk. Both trees are host to the caterpillars of several butterfly species including the mourning cloak, question mark, American snout, tawny emporer and hackberry butterflies. Their fruits are eaten by a wide variety of birds. Plus, you get the benefit of the shade.

Numbers of most native plant species in the sale will limited, and when they’re gone, they’re gone! Remember, paid-up members and plant sale volunteers get 24 hours of early access beginning October 9, so join, renew, or volunteer today!

Save the Date: October 17th in Landrum

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Photo Credit: Tricia Kyzer/Instagram

Tricia is a Statewide SC Master Naturalist, a Palmetto Environmental Educator, has hiked the entire Foothills Trail (twice!), and is a woods-wanderer and salamander-finder extraordinaire. She is a certified trainer in Project WET, Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, and LEP, and has created much of the outdoor education curriculum for Jocassee Wild Education. She is part of the Monarch Teacher network, and has worked with students in mental health crises in wilderness settings. Her passion is bringing kids (of all ages) outside to feel the dirt under their feet, hug trees, and splash in rivers.

The event will be at the Depot in Landrum and on Zoom.  Click here to add it to your calendar and have the Zoom link.

Your Moment of Zen

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Photo Essay: A Walk Through the Unity Park Wetlands

Before skipping town for a vay-cay in Bali(!), Publicity Chair Cynthia Gibson submitted the following photo essay and asked, “How many native plants can you find?”

(Click the Pause/Play button to control the slideshow!)