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April brings environmental education to Botanical Gardens

Ashley Stout, Asst. Photo Editor

The April spring season has arrived and the South Carolina Botanical Garden has, according to Garden Educator Sue Watts, a packed schedule.

“April is a very full month in the Garden, as you might imagine. We have lots of low cost or free programs,” said Watts, who first fell in love with the Garden when she moved to the area in the early 1990’s. 

Free events consist of a “Light Up the Night” program on Tuesday, April 5, in which the garden with host an entomology program to attract an array of diverse nocturnal insects, concerts in the amphitheater every Friday night, and on April 30, the Hunt Cabin will have an open house in which guests can try a tonic of sassafrass tea to cleanse themselves of a “long winter of meals” and make their own twig broom. 

Guests can also go on a self-guided medicinal herb hunt along the Natural Heritage Trail — a new addition to the gardens which provides many opportunities to explore the links between the natural world and the cultural heritage of South Carolina.  

The trail begins at the Hunt Cabin in the mountains of South Carolina and travels through cove forests, the sandhills and the longleaf pine savanna to the maritime forest at the coast. Watts noted is the trail is her favorite part of the garden. 

“I love the interactions between the natural and cultural heritage of our state … our mission has provided many opportunities to experience the natural world and to explore our cultural history and heritage. We have programs for preschoolers, school age children, and adults, our focus for all participants is hands-on experiential learning,” Watts said. 

Watts also explained the low cost programs that Garden is hosting, programs that partner with Clemson Extension, and feature Greenville extension agent, Corey Tanner. This program highlights a juicing workshop with local health expert Cheryl LeCroy on April 19, and on April 14 there will be a creativity program that includes designing herbal pillows, and a full moon hike with educator James Wilkins. When asked how Clemson students can get involved in such events, Watts said that a lot of students already work as volunteers, but many students are unaware that the South Carolina Botanical Garden even exists.

“The SCBG has been an important part of Clemson University since its inception in 1959. The Gardens embodies the tenacity and innovative foresight of many Clemson faculty and staff… But many students don’t know the Gardens exist, or know that we provide a multitude of free and low cost programs. What I would like to do is make students more aware of what the Garden has to offer in terms of programs and events.  I would like to know what type of programs might appeal to the student body.”

You can find more information about the events SCBG has to off at their website and event calendar:

“The Garden offers so many different things to visitors: beauty, peace, education, entertainment, and exercise to people of all ages and walks of life. Very few places can boast a Botanical Garden that is free and open to

the public every day of the year.”

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