The mission of the South Carolina Plant Conservation Alliance is to coordinate rare plant conservation activities to ensure that no local extinctions occur. The guiding vision is to serve as a coalition of partnered organizations and individuals dedicated to preserving South Carolina’s rare flora. There are no required fees or annual dues to be a member, just a desire to preserve rare flora.
South Carolina Native Plants Society. The SC Native Plants Society is a non-profit organization committed to the preservation and protection of native plant communities. Along with other partners, the SCNPS has worked on projects such as the Rocky Shoals Spider Lily preservation project in McCormick County and the Lisa Mathews Memorial Bay. Janie Marlow runs the associated website NameThatPlant.
Upstate Forever is a non-profit dedicated to protecting the environment in the Upstate of South Carolina, a region of great natural beauty and rapid population growth. Its land trust protects over 21,000 acres on 114 properties. Upstate Forever works with municipalities to encourage smart growth that respects the environment, encouraging clean energy development, and working on several initiatives to protect the Upstate’s water sources.
Naturaland Trust is a conservation land trust that works to protect land in the Blue Ridge escarpment. It works by acquiring lands, negotiating conservation easements, and drafting legislation. It has worked with the Native Plants Society to protect the Rocky Shoals Spider Lily, is currently pursuing properties at the watershed of the Reedy River to protect the river as it flows along the Swamp Rabbit Trail and through downtown Greenville, and recently acquired Green Mountain in Marietta.
The Nature Conservancy is a national organization that works to conserve land and water through a variety of science-based projects. In South Carolina its projects include the Blue Wall Preserve, Stumphouse Mountain, Peachtree Rock, the ACE Basin, and many others.
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources serves as the principal advocate for and steward of South Carolina’s natural resources. Its vision for South Carolina is an enhanced quality of life for present and future generations through improved understanding, wise use, and safe enjoyment of healthy, diverse, sustainable and accessible natural resources.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a South Carolina Field Office based in Charleston. The SCFO focuses on protection and recovery of threatened and endangered species and supports conservation of migratory birds, anadromous fish, and wetlands. The SCFO covers 46 counties spanning over 31,000 square miles with 187 miles of general coastline, and works with 13 threatened or endangered animal species, 19 threatened or endangered plant species, and approximately 70 other animal and plant species deemed to be “At Risk Species”.
The U.S. Forest Service manages public lands and national forests. In South Carolina, these include the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests. These forests are managed for multiple uses, including conservation of plants and animals and human recreation. The Savannah River Site is a sanctuary for many threatened and endangered species.
Fort Jackson is an army base located in the Midlands. It is also the site of a number of endangered plant populations.
Colleges and Universities
Clemson University is the state’s land grant university, with a mission to teach agriculture and technology. Clemson has extensive programs in biology, ecology, plant sciences, and agriculture taught at its College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Life Sciences. It is also home of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, headquarters of the SCPCA and site of several plant safeguarding projects.
Furman University, located in Greenville, is a private four-year liberal arts college. Its biology and earth and environmental sciences programs teach undergraduates a range of conservation and plant science topics. The Shi Center for Sustainability promotes interdisciplinary research and teaching in support of sustainability on campus and in the greater community.
The University of South Carolina, the state’s flagship university, offers over 350 programs of study to its 50,000 students, 34,000 of whom are at its main campus in Columbia. SCPCA members include herbarium curator John Nelson and SCDNR Heritage Trust botanist Herrick Brown.
Francis Marion University, located in Florence,
Newberry College is a private liberal arts college in Newberry. Within the Biology major, students may consider a concentration in Environmental Studies. The college has a sizable herbarium that is partially digitized and can be searched on the SERNEC website. Newberry College also has a program in Forestry and Environmental Management, which is a dual degree program with Duke University.
The South Carolina Botanical Garden in Clemson is headquarters of the SCPCA and site of several plant conservation projects. Species under cultivation include Schwalbea americana and Oxypolis canbyii.