Host and Co-Creator
Patrick is the host, co-creator, and writer of the popular, Emmy-award winning ETV nature program Expeditions with Patrick McMillan. For over 20 years Patrick has worked as a professional naturalist, biologist and educator. His range of experience has concentrated on botany (plant science) though he is also well-respected through his work in ichthyology, herpetology, and mammalogy. Patrick is a professional naturalist, faculty member of the School of Agriculture, Forestry and Environmental Science at Clemson University, and director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden.
Patrick received his BS in Biology from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and his PhD in Biological Sciences from Clemson University. His research has been featured in both National Wildlife and South Carolina Wildlife magazines, as well as in numerous articles in The State, Greenville News and other local and regional newspapers. In 2005, he was awarded the distinctions of Conservation Partner of the Year by the Partnership for the Blue Ridge as well as Outstanding Classified Employee by Clemson University. He is a contributor to the book Life at the Water’s Edge, which won the 2005 Renewable Natural Resources Foundation’s Outstanding Achievement Award and has been selected to receive one of ten South Carolina Notable State Document Awards for 2005.
In addition to hosting Expeditions, Patrick spends his time at Clemson University fulfilling his teaching, outreach and curatorial duties. He also hosts a birding program on “Your Day” and is a frequent guest on other programs featured on “Your Day,” on SCETV Radio. As an expert speaker he is in demand throughout the Southeast and nation and routinely gives more than 100 public presentations annually, including the prestigious Calhoun Lecture in January of 2009, the first Clemson faculty member invited to present this address. He has also given dozens of departmental seminars at Universities throughout the region. Patrick is active member of several organizations including the South Carolina Association of Naturalists, the Southern Appalachian Botanical Society, the South Carolina Native Plant Society and the South Carolina Entomological Society. He is a member of the board of trustees for Upstate Forever, a former member of The Nature Conservancy, South Carolina board of trustees, and is on the SCDNR Heritage Trust Advisory Board Natural Areas Committee and the Craigs Pond Eco-education Committee.
Patrick’s intense interest in natural history began at a very young age. He attributes his memorization of thousands of scientific names to his grandmother, who would read him Animal Kingdom books and wildflower books as a young child, including the Latin names—quite a contrast to Dr. Seuss! He spent his early childhood in the Fakahatchee Strand and Big Cypress Swamp with his father and grandfather and when he wasn’t out in the swamp he was across the street from his Naples home at the Naples Zoo, aka Jungle Larry’s, where he was such a common feature that the Mynah birds, as well as Larry’s Wife Jane knew him by name! Patrick and his family moved to Alleghany County, North Carolina in 1976 where he lived a few hundred feet off the Blue Ridge Parkway at milepost 231. Alleghany County was a great place to grow up if you liked the company of plants and animals, but there weren’t many children in the neighborhood to make friends with. His childhood consisted of one long walk through the woods, punctuated by those pesky daily tasks like school and dinner. Every day was spent familiarizing himself with the rhythm and diversity of his neighborhood woods, fields and streams. By the time he entered the University of North Carolina his explorations had already documented plants formerly unknown in North Carolina.
During and after college Patrick worked as an environmental consultant and field ecologist for UNC-Chapel Hill, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, KCI Technologies, and R.J. Goldstein & Associates, curator at the North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences and eighth grade math and science teacher. He moved to and joined the faculty of Clemson University in 2000. His research has taken him around the world in pursuit of new species of plants, and his areas of expertise are in sedge and Begonia taxonomy, natural community ecology and conservation biology.
Patrick’s son Nic has been with him for all of his life’s adventures. From the Valley of Desolation, to the relentless exploration of swamps and savannas of the coastal plain in search of beaksedges, his support has been the backbone of his career. Nic even has a keen interest in videography. Check out his Salamander close-ups in Episode 8. Nic may also be responsible for bringing skateboarding to Dominica. Nic is currently a senior at Clemson University where he is also pursuing a degree specializing in Conservation Biology. In 2012, Patrick married his wife Kris, who has been a partner, best-friend and traveling companion both in the field and through life. He has two step-daughters, Riley and Rachael-both incredibly talented young ladies.
Patrick received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Doctorate of Philosophy in Biological Sciences from Clemson University.
Patrick currently holds membership or recognition from the following professional organizations:
Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB)
on-line at: http://www.asb.appstate.edu/
Southern Appalachian Botanical Society (SABS)
on-line at: http://www.newberrynet.com/SABS/
South Carolina Entomological Society, only honorary member in society history
on-line at: http://entweb.clemson.edu/scesweb/
The Nature Conservancy, Southern Blue Ridge Project, team member
South Carolina Association of Naturalists
on-line at: http://www.scnaturalists.org/
South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Heritage Trust Advisory Committee
on-line at: http://www.dnr.sc.gov/index.html