The SCNPS Weighs In on Greenville’s Rezoning & Development Plans

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If you live or spend time in Greenville, you can’t help but have noticed the Rezoning and Development signage plastered all over town. There are major changes afoot, and the SCNPS is keeping an eye on things. On March 3 the Upstate Chapter sent a letter to the Greenville Development Code Review Committee expressing concern over some of the proposed changes, including questions, comments, and recommendations for the Committee to consider.
Read the full letter, HERE.

Post & Courier Exposé Reveals a Carolina Native at Risk

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Dwarf-flowered heartleafs like to hide near creeks; their velveteen flowers lie low, practically kissing the moist forest floor of the Carolina foothills. Now, as spring begins, they begin to grow, but slower than a human-centric time-scale might recognize: Sometimes one or two new leaves grow each year. Sometimes it takes decades for just one new leaf to form.

Tiny ants visit the plants. Unlikely but industrious pollinators, these ants spread seeds, not far and wide, but close to the source, keeping the heartleaf kin tightly bunched.

Peer inside a flower’s ridges and little larvae are sometimes snuggled. One insect has evolved to make the plant its nursery. Which insect? That is still one of nature’s secrets — in this case, the good kind of secret.

Few people have ever seen a heartleaf. It was given officially given “threatened” status 30 years ago, and in the interim, things have only grown more dire. By law, being listed as an official “threatened” species should have triggered a formal recovery plan, but no such plan has ever been put into place.

The most recent U.S government figures, from 2009, say that only 119 patches of forest, most “no larger than a soccer field,” provide refuge for these tiny plants. But even that estimate, besides being woefully out of date, is overly optimistic. According to the actual, on-the-ground experts here in the Carolinas, there are likely only a handful of sites where the plant can still be found — every single one of them in the South Carolina Upstate and in Western NC.

Yet, over the last several years, using their own internal quota system, the agencies entrusted with the preservation of our ecosystems and wildlife have been moving toward taking the dwarf-flowered heartleaf off of the Threatened and Endangered Species list.

State scientists are dumbfounded. Professors from biology departments from across the Carolinas are pleading with State and Federal agencies. The SELC has filed a lawsuit, and the SCNPS has signed on.

The way we got here is complicated, and worthy of your full attention. Read the complete Post & Courier article by clicking the link below, and, when you’re done, please contact your elected officials.

As Post & Courier reporter Clare Fieseler (on Twitter @clarefieseler, or via email at [email protected]) puts it: and,

The issue here is bigger than any one species. The case of the dwarf-flowered heartleaf sheds light on the way powerful people wield science for nature’s benefit, or twist it for their own, and then use secrecy as a tool so that we, the public, never know the difference.


And, for further P&C Editorial Board commentary, CLICK HERE.

The 2023 Upstate SCNPS Spring Sale Call for Volunteers


Here’s the skinny: The in-person plant sale is back, but with a hybrid twist. The General Sale (details below) will take place on Saturday, April 15, but MEMBERS & VOLUNTEERS will have the opportunity to purchase plants in advance (online-only), on Saturday and Sunday, April 8 & 9.

It takes a whole host of enthusiastic volunteers to put on a great plant sale. In the immortal words of longtime SCNPS member and mainstay Judy Seeley, “If everyone does a little, no one does too much!”

And, no worries: You don’t have to be an expert, just ready and willing to help. It takes a village to make magic. Read on for all the details!

UPDATE as of March 29th:

Some of the areas where we still need the most help are:

    • Equipment Transport (vehicles and people)
    • Day-of-Sale Set-Up
    • Traffic Direction/Management
    • Front Entrance Staffing
    • Checkout (Invoicers, Cashiers, Receipt Checkers)
    • Holding/Loading
    • Day-of-Sale Breakdown


Pre-Sale: Saturday, April 1, 10-1 – FILLED
Pre-Sale: Monday and Tuesday, April 10 & 11, 9-4
Sale Setup: Friday, April 14, 2023, 8 am – 4 pm – FILLED
Sale: Saturday, April 15, 8:00 am – 1 pm
Breakdown: Saturday, April 15, 1 pm – 4 pm

Pre-Sale Orders: Saturday-Sunday, April 8 & 9 (Members & Volunteers) (Online ONLY)
Pickup at the Upstate Native Nursery (UNN), 180 Lakewood Dr., Mauldin, SC 29667, by Wednesday, April 12 

General SaleSaturday, April 15, 2023
Conestee Park, 840 Mauldin Road, Greenville, SC 29607. Gates Open 9 O’Clock! Gates Close 1 pm!

Just a few of the areas of expertise (or willingness to learn) that we’re seeking include:


  • Got an in at a local paper or online newsletter? How about an Upstate-oriented podcast or radio program? Or, willing to distribute flyers to local businesses all over the Upstate? We can use your help!

Volunteer Recruitment

  • Please help us spread the word that we need volunteers.  College students would be great helpers in the holding and loading areas!


  • Have you got a strong back? Or a pickup truck? Or, even better, both? We need you! There’s a lot of physical labor involved in throwing this party. Tables and barricades need to be pulled out of storage, transported to the sale site and set up (and the reverse once the sale is over). The plants have to be moved from the SCNPS greenhouse and gardens to Conestee, and back again. (Not that there will be a single one left, of course!)
  • Not really feeling the machismo? That’s okay, we need you, too! We’ll be marking chalk lines, laying out row markers, and setting up the cashier stations. And, during the sale, we’ll need folks staffing the holding and pickup areas, manning the cash registers, monitoring/directing the flow of traffic into and out of the sale, and helping to keep the arteries clear.
  • Can’t be there for the whole day? We also need volunteers to help take inventory of the plants, both before the sale and after.

And It Wouldn’t be a Party…

  • …without refreshments! Do you bake, cater, or know someone who does? We need to keep our volunteers fed, caffeinated, hydrated, and happy!

Have we Mentioned the PERK?

  • Volunteers and members get first crack at the plants, during the presale, Saturday & Sunday, April 8th and 9th (online only). There’s a limit on what you can buy (because otherwise, we’d get wiped out before we opened!), but if you’ve got your heart set on a few special somethings, sign up today and be first in line!
For details about all the positions we need filled, click HERE.
Or, to dive right in and tell us how you can help, click HERE!

As much as we love our furry friends, only identified service dogs will be allowed inside the sale area. There is a dog park next to the upper parking lot where supervised dogs can play!



Seeing Daylight and Cleaning Water at Columbia’s Hyatt Park

A man speaks to a group of people on a boardwalk at the head of an artificial stream.

Todd Martin, landscape architect for the City of Columbia, introduces Midlands chapter members to the revitalized Hyatt Park stream. Photo by Lynn Yenkey

The Midlands Chapter toured Columbia’s Hyatt Park last week with Todd Martin, landscape architect for the city. The recent park renovation “daylighted” a stream, removing 1150 feet of stormwater pipe to open up the water and mimic a natural creek. Martin showed the group the stream banks engineered with stone and a mix of native herbaceous and woody plants. The result echoes the nearby Smith Branch stream. In just a year, cattails and native willows have volunteered, too.

A group of people stand by a group of logs in a streambed. A man points downstream.

Todd Martin, landscape architect for the City of Columbia, points out bioengineering features of the stream, including logs that mimic a beaver dam at Hyatt Park. Photo by Lynn Yenkey

A series of pools and small dams, including large cedar logs to make an artificial beaver dam, slow and spread out storm water.

Now, instead of charging through a pipe unchanged, the water spreads in the shallow banks, slows down, and is allowed to absorb into soil and roots, along with pollutants and sediments. The change was visible: compared to the more turbid pools close to the storm water inlet, the water in the larger basin at the end of the stream is clearer and cleaner–improving the quality of water flowing into the Broad river and Columbia’s drinking water system.

Martin handed out photos of the former stream bed–a series of manhole covers–plans for the bioengineered banks and pools, and a list of native shrubs, trees, and seed mixes used. He kindly allowed us to share them here.

A group of people stands near a streambed at Hyatt Park in Columbia

Todd Martin shows Midlands chapter members the native planting bed below the splash pad above the stream at Hyatt Park in Columbia. Signs describe the project for visitors. Photo by Lynn Yenkey

The project team worked closely with the Hyatt Park Keenan Terrace Neighborhood Association on their goals for the park, and identified a gathering space as a strong priority. The renovation includes a naturalistic play area on the hillside between the stream and community building, adjacent to a new amphitheater for events. In warm weather, families can cool off at a splashpad at the amphitheater’s base, with water flowing from there into a wide garden bed and into the stream. In the open field downhill, large sections of the former water pipe form hillocks and a natural play space.

You can read more about innovative project, featured in Landscape Architect magazine in 2022.

A similar stormwater management project in Columbia parks finished in 2020 at Martin Luther King, Jr. Park in Columbia’s Five Points. Read more about it here. At Page Ellington Park in the Bull St. development, 2600 feet of stream was daylighted, and ponds created to make wetland habitat in a nature-based city park.



Launch of the Upstate Community Grants Program

The Upstate chapter has provided funding to Upstate organizations for more than 20 years for projects that help preserve and restore native plants and/or for the education of the Upstate community on the importance of the biodiversity in South Carolina, and the importance of our heritage native plants.

This year, we celebrate our 20th year of the Upstate Native Nursery plant sales that have provided funding for a wide variety of projects in pursuit of the SCNPS mission.  In recognition of this milestone, this year, we have formed an Upstate Grants Committee and are very pleased to announce the launch of our Community Grants Program.  Each year, we’ll be setting aside funding for special projects in the Upstate that align with our Mission. We’ve created an online application process to make grant requests easier and more streamlined.

Please visit our new Upstate Community Grants page on the SCNPS website to learn more about this new program and help us get the word out to the community for the inaugural grant invitation period opening March 15th through April 15th.

Thanks to all of you for your continuing support of the Upstate Native Nursery that makes this possible and we hope to see you at Conestee Park on April 15th for this year’s sale!

Reed Environmental Writing Awards Announced

On March 24 at 5 p.m. ET (in person or online), the winners of the 2023 Reed Awards will be honored. This year’s awardees, Corban Addison (on his book, “Wastelands: The True Story of Farm Country on Trial”) and Isabelle Chapman (on her CNN story, “Gambling ‘America’s Amazon’”) will speak.

Come help celebrate these extraordinary writers who brought attention to the polluting practices of industrial hog farming in rural North Carolina and concerns over toxic coal ash sitting on the banks of the Mobile-Tensaw Delta in Alabama. For more information, click HERE.


Greater Greenville Master Gardeners Annual Plant Sale

If the Upstate Sale hasn’t sated your need for new plants by then, the GGMGA will be holding their popular annual plant sale on Saturday April 29th at Jeff Lynch Appliances (17 Roper Mountain Rd, Greenville), from 8 am to noon, rain or shine! Hundreds of healthy plants will be available for sale at bargain prices, and Master Gardeners will be on hand to help you find the perfect plants for your yard. They will accept credit cards for purchases over $25 purchases as well as cash or checks. For more information, visit their website.

Upstate Chapter April Meeting: Trillium of the Carolinas

Our April meeting will feature Tim Lee, a longtime Interpretive Ranger at the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area, which covers 11,000 acres of pristine southern mountain forest, encompassing Caesars Head State Park, Jones Gap State Park, and the Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area. His presentation will be “Trillium of the Carolinas,” particularly apt since Trillium is a harbinger of Springtime and the Upstate is home to the greatest diversity anywhere of these beautiful native plants! The meeting will take place at the Landrum Depot in Landrum, S.C., and via Zoom.  

Join us at 6:30 for time to socialize, the meeting will start at 7:00.  Zoom link will be added to the event one week prior to the meeting.

To add this to your calendar: CLICK HERE

Friends of the Reedy River Spring Cleanup: Registration Open Now!

Planning is well under way for the FoRR’s 2023 Spring River Cleanup in April. Cleanup locations will have been announced by the time this newsletter comes out. There will be a registration cap for each cleanup site to ensure that no undue pressure is put on the river or other resources at any one location, so be sure to register before your preferred location fills up!

For more information, visit their website. And we’ll see you on the river in April!