Riding the Rabbit: New iNaturalist Guide to the Swamp Rabbit Trail!

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As many readers know, the SCNPS publishes a handy guide to the native wildflowers, shrubs, trees, grasses, and vines growing along the Swamp Rabbit Trail (available to download as a PDF HERE, or in brochure form at the locations listed below).

But now member Phil Harpootlian has created an interactive iNaturalist guide, as well. You, too, can help us document the flora of the Trail by signing up for a free iNaturalist account and adding your observations to the list!

Access the iNaturalist project HERE, or visit one of our partners to pick up a brochure. Or even better: Do both!

The SRT brochure can be found…


in Cleveland:

Janice’s BBQ Hut on Hwy 276


in Greenville:

Greenville County Rec (office)

Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery

REI on Woodruff Road


in Travelers Rest:

Sunrift Adventures

Tandem Creperie & Coffeehouse

Travelers Rest City Hall

Travelers Rest History Museum


Image Credit: Judy Seeley

Welcome THREE New Upstate Chapter Board Members!

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The Upstate Chapter is thrilled to welcome three new Board-level members.

  • Lauren Winter will be our new Membership Chair.
  • Heather Philips is joining the Program Committee and will be transitioning into Chairing that committee in 2024.
  • Likewise Phillip Adams is currently “shadowing” our Treasurer and will be assuming those duties in 2024.

We welcome them all aboard!

  • Lauren Winter

will be our new Membership Chair. She lives in Greenville with her husband Neil and two-year-old daughter, Ada. She moved here in 2019 from Portland, Oregon to be closer to family, and loves calling it home. She worked as a clothing designer and small business owner for nearly ten years, designing and sewing womenswear under her own name, until she closed the business in 2022 to focus on being a mom.

Lauren loves rollerblading and reading (her favorite book is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell) and gardening. New to the gardening world, she is passionate about providing habitat for the wildlife around her. That passion led her to learn about the benefits and beauty of native plants, and she’s excited to be a part of the Native Plant Society!

  • Heather Phillips

is joining the Program Committee and will be transitioning into the Program Chair role in early 2024. Heather is a Western Tennessee native who has lived all over the Southeast for the last 20 years. She holds a degree in Media Arts & Design from James Madison University and works at Tiller, Inc. as a Customer Success Manager and Product Owner. She is a seasoned event planner, having been the Lead Organizer for the Charlottesville Vegetarian Festival and the Executive Director of the Charlottesville Earth Week Eco Fair for two seasons during 2015-2017.

Her love for plants began in middle school when she started helping her parents run a landscaping business. Her interest in native plants blossomed when she learned how important they are for environmental protection and sustainability.

When Heather’s not out in the yard weeding garden beds or planting natives, you’ll find her out backpacking in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

  • Phillip Adams 

is currently working with our Upstate Treasurer, Jon Heiliger, to learn about the role; he will take the position over in 2024.

Phillip is a born and raised SC Native from Goose Creek. He attended Clemson University, studying bio-engineering and biochemistry before finally settling on computer science. At Clemson, he says, “I was fortunate to be a member of Tiger Band for some of the best years of Clemson football! And, I was also an active member of the national co-ed service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega. The group organized tons of volunteer events that certainly kept us busy; I loved every minute of it!”

Since graduating in 2019, Phillip has been working as a remote employee for a bank, but he sorely missed getting involved in volunteering. After attending the Upstate Chapter’s Spring Native Plant Sale this year at Conestee Park, he decided to sign up to get involved. “I’m still learning about everything but I’m excited about helping out however I can!”

We are so grateful to you all, Lauren, Heather, and Phillip. Welcome to the SCNPS family!

Seeking State Board Officers for 2024: Apply Now!

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The SCNPS is seeking officers for the next term (starting in 2024). South Carolina requires a minimum of 3 officers as part of the 501(c)(3) status to meet IRS requirements: President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Two or more offices may be held by the same person.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in serving, please contact current President Katie Ellis at [email protected] for more information.


  •  The State President presides at all meetings of the organization and Board of Directors, and serves as the official spokesperson of the SCNPS. The President represents the organization, its missions, goals and objectives, and projects and programs to the general public. The President serves as an ex-officio member of all state committees and all regional chapters.
  • The State Vice-President assumes the duties of the President in the absence of the President or at the President’s direction, and assists the President in those functions necessary for the leadership and development of the organization. In the event the President is no longer able to serve, the Vice-President shall become the President for the remainder of the term.
  •  The State Secretary shall maintain all official records of the organization as well as minutes of the Board of Directors’ meetings. Actions handled remotely via email discussion and voting must also be recorded. The Secretary or his/her designee shall distribute official minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors. The Secretary will assure that all minutes and other documents are placed into a permanent archive, the nature of which will be established by Board action.
  • The State Treasurer has the charge and custody of and responsibility for all funds of the organization, and for the administration of such funds. The Treasurer deposits all such monies in the name of the organization as designated by the Board of Directors and maintains accurate records of all receipts and disbursements. Upon approval of the annual budget, the Treasurer is authorized to incur obligations on accounts and expenses provided in the annual budget without further approval of the Board of Director. In addition, the State Treasurer prepares a report for each meeting of the Board of Directors and the Annual Meeting of the Membership. The Treasurer executes and maintains all official correspondence with local, state, and federal entities related to the corporate and tax status of the organization. The Treasurer may be required to furnish a surety bond as determined by the Board of Directors. Candidates for the State Treasurer position should have knowledge of basic accounting procedures, a working knowledge of QuickBooks, and experience with Stripe.

Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve Update: Sign the Petition!

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As a follow-on to our earlier post on the subject, our Grand Strand chapter reminds us that Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve, home to rare and endangered wildlife such as Venus flytraps, red-cockaded woodpeckers, and black bears, remains under threat.

Conway Medical Center is proposing to build a new hospital directly adjacent to the site, limiting the ability of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources and SC Forestry Commission to carry out their prescribed burns, essential for the health of the Preserve’s ecosystem.

We encourage readers to visit Change.org and sign the petition there. As of this writing, the campaign is only 2,700 signatures short of its 25,000 goal. As the petition puts it, “fire, smoke, and hospitals do not mix!” Let’s make our voices heard!

Photo Credit: Becky Ryon

DHEC “Champions of the Environment” Applications, Now Open!

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From the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) comes this:

“K-12 teachers! Do you need funding for your environmental education project? Champions of the Environment grants up to $2,500 for projects that improve or protect the environment. Apply at scdhec.gov/champions. Deadline is Sept. 22, 2023.”

The Upstate Chapter has partnered with the Champions program in the past to help preserve a population of bunched arrowheads behind Gateway Elementary School in Travelers Rest. We encourage all eligible and interested parties to LEARN MORE and apply!

Image Credit: SCDHEC

In the Mailbag: Year-Round Monarchs Discovered in SC

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A recent news release from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) caught our attention: A unique group of monarch butterflies lives year-round in South Carolina rather than migrating to Mexico each fall. These monarchs live in swamps in spring, summer, and fall, and sea islands in the winter. They rely heavily on aquatic milkweed (Asclepias perennis) as a host plant for their eggs and caterpillars, but they were also found to use swallow-wort (Pattalias palustre) – a viney relative of milkweed that grows near salt marshes and was previously unrecognized as an important host plant for monarchs.

The SCDNR’s report was based on a peer-reviewed paper published in Scientific Reports, available at Nature.com. The paper was authored by Dr. Michael Kendrick and the SCDNR’s own John “Billy” McCord, who has had a long-time fascination with monarchs. He first began capturing and marking monarch butterflies along the coast in 1996, which is when he began to take note of an intriguing pattern. “I noticed butterflies at Folly Beach, South Carolina, in November and December when I thought they should be overwintering in Mexico,” he says.

The full story is fascinating. Learn more HERE.

Photo Credit: SCDNR

In the Mailbag: Boogie-Woogie Aphids

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In a recent email, Mac Stone, Executive Director of Naturaland Trust, waxed euphoric about the Woolly Beech Aphids, aka “Boogie Woogie Aphids,” he discovered at Green Creek, one of the latest Naturaland acquisitions. If you enjoy watching a grown man gush (and who among us doesn’t?), go read his report on the funky little critters!

Photo Credit: Naturaland Trust


August Plant of the Month

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Joe-Pye-Weed (Eutrochium)

The common name “Joe-Pye-weed” comes from a Mohican chief named Schauquethqueat (1740-1785) who took the Christian name of Joseph Pye. Member of the Asteraceae family, the plant was originally placed within the genus Eupatorium (which includes the Bonesets, Thoroughworts, and Fennel). Then in 1987 it was moved to the genus Eupatoriadelphus, and finally moved again in 1999 to Eutrochium, a genus that had first been proposed in the 1800s by French-American botanist Constantine Samuel Rafinesque.

In general, Eutrochiums tend to have whorled leaves and pinkish flowers (whereas Eupatoriums usually have opposite leaves and white flowers). Of the four native South Carolina Eutrochium species (two more can be found along the Blue Ridge Parkway and at other higher elevations to our north), the most common are Hollow-stem Joe-Pye-weed (E. fistulosum) and Purple-node Joe-Pye-weed (E. purpureum var. purpureum).

The common names call attention to characteristics that help identify the species (although, to me, the Purple-node flowers are very light pink to almost white!). The Hollow-stem Joe-Pye-weed is usually found in moist areas along roadsides and in fields, while the Purple-node Joe-Pye-weed is more often found on forest trails.

Members of the Aster family, these Joe-Pye-weeds have only disc flowers (the ray flowers are absent). The active ingredient of the root extract is called “euparin,” and the plant’s roots, leaves, and flower bud have traditionally been used to treat typhus, reduce fever, address urinary tract issues, relieve joint stiffness, and alleviate gout.

The flowers generally bloom from late summer through the early fall, and they are beginning to open this month. They are attractive to numerous pollinators, including many species of butterflies and bees. The plant also serves as a caterpillar host to several species of moths, and sparrows are attracted to the seeds after the flowers bolt.

Photo Credits: Above, J.K. Marlow (Hollow-stem). Below, D. Whitten (Purple-node)

Upstate Grants Program: Apply Now!

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The SCNPS Upstate Chapter has its own Grants Program which funds special projects that align with the our mission to protect and restore our heritage native plants while educating our Upstate communities.

The 2023 Fall Grant application period is now open and runs through November 1. We have created an online portal to make the grant application process easier and more streamlined.

Please visit our Upstate Community Grants page on the SCNPS website to learn more about this new program — and please spread the word to the Upstate community!

Photo Credit: Cynthia Gibson/Dream Studio