Dr. Karen Hall: Master Gardener & Master Naturalist

Dr. Karen Hall
Professor, Forestry & Natural Resources

My name is Dr. Karen Hall and I am an Extension Professor in the department of Forestry and Natural Resources. I direct both the South Carolina Master Naturalist program and the Master Gardener program.

Master Gardener is an outreach program for members of the general public. They come and take training from us and then as a result of that training they give back in volunteer service to their communities throughout the state.

The Master Gardener program will provide lessons for people on things like basic botany, basic plant physiology, soils and nutrition; anything that a person would need to learn how to grow a garden.

We provide that training and as a result of that training, people take that information and grow vegetable gardens, flower gardens and connect to their communities through those gardens.

Master Naturalist is a program that is spread throughout our state and the underlying goal is to teach people how to read nature. We provide a set of skills like identification of plants, birds and mammals that would enable a person to understand nature more fully.

Once that understanding is in place, they also have the opportunity to give back in volunteer service to their communities.

Our Master Naturalists are taking on habitat restoration in the Clemson Experimental Forest for the restoration of a prairie-like habitat here in the Forest.

Through not only the programs that I run, but the research that I do, I try to reconnect people with the land.

One project in particular that I am very proud of is the Cherokee Worldview Garden. Cherokee people have a way of relating to nature that is significantly different from the way that we relate to nature.

From my perspective, I think it is a beautiful way to relate to nature. I thought if building a garden could demonstrate to people a different way of seeing nature that would be a worthwhile project.