Streambank Stabilization Workshop

Join this important workshop to learn more about streambank stabilization techniques and the importance of native plants to protect, preserve and restore your riparian buffers.  The workshop will include indoor presentations in the morning, a lunch and a field trip in the afternoon.


WHEN:  Thursday Nov 10th, 9:30am-2:30pm

WHERE:  Pleasant Ridge Retreat Center, 4232 SC Hwy 11, Marietta, SC 29661


  • Karen Jackson; Water Resources Scientist with Wood Environmental and Scientific Infrastructure Solutions (WSP), Columbia
  • Rick Huffman will be guest speaker at the luncheon

COST/RSVP:  Cost is $15pp and space is limited.  RSVP with Karen at [email protected] or 803-798-1200

An Upstate Partnership:  SCNPS, DHEC, Clemson Extension, Greenville County, Save Our Saluda

November Upstate Monthly Meeting – Using iNaturalist to Bring the Smokies Alive

Korrin Bishop

Using iNaturalist to Bring the Smokies Alive

Nature-writer and editor Korrin Bishop will be presenting, “Using iNaturalist to Bring the Smokies Alive”.  Korrin Bishop works with passions for both mission-driven work and the great outdoors. Her writing is heavily influenced by a sense of place, as over time she has found home amongst California’s redwoods, Washington, D.C. ‘s cherry blossoms, Oregon’s caves, South Dakota’s badlands, Florida’s Everglades, and Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains. Korrin was a 2020 writer-in-residence at Sundress Academy for the Arts in Knoxville. She is currently working on hiking every trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and earning her certification as a Tennessee Naturalist. She has written for Misadventures Magazine, Sierra MagazineSmokies Life, and Fodor’s Travel, among others.

During her presentation, you will learn about iNaturalist.  iNaturalist is a citizen science app that goes beyond the basic identification of plants, animals, fungi, and other species. In this talk, writer and avid iNaturalist user Korrin Bishop will cover the app’s wide range of uses through the lens of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP).


October Upstate Monthly Meeting – Black River State Park and Water Trails Master Plan and Land Use

Our speaker for October’s program will be Rick Huffman, principal and founder of Earth Design Inc. with over 30 years of experience in landscape design, horticulture, bioengineering, and ecology. He has particular expertise in native plants as they occur in natural models. As founder and past-president of the South Carolina Native Plant Society, he has brought awareness of these natural models to the public through presentations and workshops on a statewide and regional level.

The Black River is a 150-mile-long Black water river with head waters in Camden and empties into Winyah and Georgetown South Carolina. After nearly 20 years of stalled planning, the steering committee embarked upon a report and getting a Master Plan River Trails plan done for a 70-mile reach from Kingstree in Williamsburg to Rocky Point in Georgetown County. The 70-mile river corridor presents a wilderness experience where time and place tell the story of people and culture that make the Black River unique. The new Park will be the first in South Carolina in nearly twenty years.

Earth Design was hired as the Landscape Architecture consultants to study the corridor, conduct community engagement, locate new river access, design a series of state parks, river trails, recreations opportunities including off river camping, picnic, and fishing platforms. The team consisted of Landscape Architects, Architects, Engineers, and Community specialist.

Mr. Huffman will show how the design and community engagement process worked with surveys, public meetings, and local leaders. The program will detail how river landforms, land use and soils dictate decisions on access, Long Leaf Pine restoration, and user experience. Mr. Huffman will show detail designs and renderings of 4 tracts where outfitters, state park amenities, nature-based camping, and fishing will be located. Beyond a doubt a true wilderness experience to be discovered on the Black River.

Make sure to mark your calendars, or download the calendar invitation from our events site, here.

Please join us at 6:30 for social time and the program will begin at 7PM.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 850 4271 1586

Passcode: 856023

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Call for Nominations – Election of State Officers

The SC Native Plant Society 2022 Nominating Committee (Katie Ellis, Virginia Meador, Laura Lee Rose, and Mitzi Stewart) is seeking candidates for a full slate of state officer positions (see the document below for position descriptions):

  • State President
  • State Vice-President
  • State Secretary
  • State Treasurer

Election of state officers will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting scheduled for October 29, 2022.  Newly elected officers will serve two-year terms beginning January 1, 2023, but can be re-elected for additional terms.

Potential candidates must be SCNPS members in good standing and encouraged to have leadership and/or officer experience at the regional chapter level.  Should you be interested in serving as a SCNPS state officer or know someone you would like to nominate to serve, please contact Katie Ellie ([email protected]) no later than close of business, Friday, September 9, 2022.


Gardening for active People – a series

Bill Stringer, Ph. D., Retired Clemson faculty

What is a garden?  

Merriam-Webster lists several definitions: A plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated; or

A public recreation area or park usually ornamented with plants and trees, as in a botanical garden or home landscape; or,

Alternatively, an open-air eating or drinking place, as in a beer garden.  Sounds like a good venue for recovering from a grueling run or hike!

Implied in the first two definitions is a need for regular, perhaps hard maintenance work, ie. weeding, mulching, pest control, etc.  Also, an area of land must be altered from a habitat designed by Nature for naturally occurring plants and other wildlife, into a space for human utilization or enjoyment.  And this is not all bad.  After all, I love fresh vegetables as much as the next person, and a walk through a beautiful botanical garden can really help lighten the cares of the world.  And the very act of gardening can be therapeutic.  But our approach to gardening can be seriously problematic.

Evolution of Bill

I grew up on a farm, helped to grow corn, wheat, and pastures.  I minded the cattle, helped bale the hay, but my least favorite was managing large numbers of chickens that were destined to become chicken tenders.  I hurried away to university and graduate school in agriculture.  It was in graduate school that I was tricked by a fellow graduate student into buying a pair of Brooks waffle sole running shoes and running with him.  

I took my new sport of running (more properly jogging) with me to my first faculty position at Penn State, where I gradually morphed in road racing.  I quickly learned to accept life in the last third of the finishers.  I learned to ignore the pain and fatigue of 10K and 20K races.  It was on those longer (to me) races that I began to look for distraction in the vegetation and wildlife along the roads and trails.  As a plants guy, I learned quickly to identify my plant friends along the roadside.  My friends helped me to increase my knowledge of the songbirds I heard and saw along the way.  Life on the run became a lot more fun.

When I came to Clemson, I became interested in native grasses and wildflowers.  As I got deeper into the study of these natives, I noticed that they were common along rural roadsides.  Then I learned of the close positive relationships between native plant communities and songbirds.  Then I learned that Nature had given the southeastern USA an important assignment: to serve as a nursery for migratory songbird species.  The declining numbers and species of migratory songbirds indicate that we are failing to hold up our end of the deal.

What is going on here?

This decline has been attributed to rapid development of rural land into housing and industrial sites.  Fencerows and woodlands were turned into areas of parking lots, rooftops, and lawns.  The destructive impact of development is magnified by the fact that homesites and industrial sites are usually re-vegetated with non-native plants.  The songbirds returned home from Central and South America, did not recognize the place, and found that the new landscape was nearly useless to a pair of songbirds trying to raise the kids.  

Where we go wrong is assuming that a beautiful lawn is just as appealing and good for wildlife as it is for us humans.  It is not! 

What can we do to fix this?  Get busy converting portions of home landscapes, golf course roughs and industrial sites into gardens of native grasses, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees.  When?  ASAP.  From the 80’s movie, “If we build it, they will come”.  And we will have a more interesting place to do our running, walking, and hiking.  Watch for more on how to accomplish this in succeeding articles.


Registration is Open for the South Carolina Native Plant Certificate Program

In this program, participants discover the beauty and complexity of South Carolina’s rich botanical heritage. Through hands-on, field-based classes, students learn about the native plants of the state. In the core classes, we study the native plant communities that define South Carolina by exploring the Garden’s Natural Heritage Garden. Participants also learn about the significant benefits of native plants to enhance biodiversity, and to improve soil, water, and air quality. Our hope is that through this certificate program, graduates become more aware of environmental issues and become active stewards of the natural world.

Learn more about the program and the individual courses here.


Restoring the Mill at Parks Mill

Bill Stringer, Parks Mill Preserve Chair

The Superstar of the Parks Mill Spiderlily Preserve is the rare and beautiful rocky shoals spiderlily.  It gets top billing for obvious reasons.

Figure 1. The Superstar!

Historic Mill Building

The old historic mill building deserves attention as well, especially as it is showing its age and needs help to survive into the future.  The Parks Mill Preserve Committee is working on giving it a much-needed face lift.  In 2020, we started working on a plan to restore the Mill building into sustainable condition.

We saw that some of the support beams underneath were showing some serious damage and sagging (see Figure 3).  We became concerned that further neglect would result in unrecoverable damage to the entire structure.  We concluded that a new roof was needed, but that would have to wait until the sagging support beams underneath could be replaced.  Fortunately, we have a few highly motivated retired folks with skills in construction who could take the lead in this work.   SCNPS members Tom Simpson and Bill Quinn have taken the lead in getting this project underway.

Preliminary removal of exterior wall boards uncovered the degree of damage, and the size and number of heavy support beams needed.  Tom’s extensive “I know a guy” list has  enabled us to find a sawmiller who is working with us to find some large sawlogs, and to saw them to the correct dimensions.  And the correct size is big and heavy.  Tom’s experience in working with heavy timbers led him to develop some ways to make moving large heavy timbers a lot easier. So, Tom Simpson and Bill Quinn with occasional help from Bill Stringer, have made significant progress by working a half-day a week on the project.

Note that Tom, Bill, and the author are steadily becoming senior citizens.  We have had to work hard, but even more important, smart.  Thanks to Tom, the smart part comes easy.

Below is a pair of before and after photos to show the scale of things we have accomplished.  We started with the support beams under the mill room floor.  We have purchased some heavy-duty jacks and are using jacking and a technique called cribbing to level and stabilize the floor and wall structure.  When that is done, we remove the old rotten beams, repair any failing stone-and-cement piers, and then we move the new replacement support beams into place.

Figure 3.  Failed original beams.  Note the millstones above.

Figure 4.  (From L to R) A heavy duty jack, cribbing, and new beams in place.

Mind you, this  work was accomplished by two to three men, all in their mid-seventies, and so illustrates how working smart can take you a long way.  Needless to say, we  place a huge priority on safety.  You have probably determined by now that this is an effort to recruit some more, and possibly younger, interested folks into this work, and you’d be right!  So, if you can spare an occasional half day to a day from time to time, and would be interested in helping out with this effort and learning from an expert in working hard and smart (Tom Simpson), forward your name and contact info to Bill Stringer at [email protected] .  We will be happy to fit you into the work schedule.  We can assure that you will have fun, because one cannot work this hard without it!  And the feeling of deep satisfaction that comes from looking over, at “quitting time”,  what has been accomplished is quite irreplaceable!


The Park Mill Team

Upstate Monthly Meeting – Choose Your Trees Like You Choose Your Pets!

For our June meeting, Dr. Larry Mellichamp will be presenting, “Choose Your Trees Like You Choose Your Pets!  How to Select the Best Trees for Your Yard

How do you decide which tree to plant? Dr. Mellichamp will discuss good and “bad” trees, the process of selecting the best tree species, and point out some pitfalls of poor decisions as to species and site selection. Larry will answer your questions about trees. Think about the trees in your future.

**Please note there is a change to our usual Zoom link.**  We have updated the link on the the event page, so update your calendars accordingly.  Thank you