SCBG Staff

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Staff Biographies

South Carolina Botanical Garden

Patrick McMillan
Director
864-656-3405
pmcmill@clemson.edu

McMillan

Patrick is the Emmy-award winning host, co-creator, and writer of the popular, 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 Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation at Clemson University, and director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Clemson Experimental Forest.

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.  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. 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. 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.

Darlene Evans
Director of Communications, Visitor Services, Special Events, and Friends
864-656-3679
cathye@clemson.edu

Evans

Darlene is a native of Georgia but has lived in many different countries including Greece, Germany, and Saudi Arabia. She graduated from the University of Georgia with a BS in business and most recently with a MS in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management from Clemson University. She intends to continue her education and obtain her Ph.D. Darlene has two daughters and four grandchildren. 

Darlene’s career began in Elberton, Georgia where she owned and operated a Granite business, which produced monuments, countertops, and memorials. After selling her business, Darlene took a position with Granite and Marble Corporate Sales in Buckhead. After leaving the corporate world, Darlene found her dream job at the South Carolina Botanical Garden. She has held many titles within the garden during her ten years and her love for the garden has continued to flourish. Her current position is Director of Communications, Visitor Services, Special Events, and Friends of the Garden. Darlene does not consider her position a job; it is her passion. 

Angel Perkins
Assistant to Patrick McMillan, Rental Manager, Gift Shop Manager
864-656-3679
perkin8@clemson.edu

Perkins

Angel was born and raised in Ohio.  She and her three children (Jessica 15, Emily 13, and Alex 11) moved to Clemson, South Carolina from Oakwood, Ohio in the summer of 2013.  She graduated with Summa Cum Laude with an Associate’s Degree in Business Management and a Certificate in Marketing.  She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. 

Angel started at the SCBG in January 2015 as Patrick’s Assistant and is now also the Manager of the Rental program and Manager of the Gift Shop as well.  Angel enjoys reading, cooking, and baking.  Given the hectic schedule of work and being a single parent, what she would most enjoy is just a good night’s sleep!

John Bodiford
Garden Manager 
864-656-2458
jbdfrd@clemson.edu

Bodiford

John was raised on a small farm in Oconee County. His love of nature comes from the long walks he would take with his father around their farm. He was always the kid who asked too many questions about the wonders of nature. His father would always take time to answer those questions and encourage John to discover more about the world around him. His grandmother gave him the love of plants by allowing him to work alongside her in the garden and orchard on the family farm.

John started with the Garden 30 years ago as a horticulturist working on maintenance throughout the garden. He and his wife, Kim, have been married for 28 years. They have two wonderful sons Keegan and Logan. John enjoys backpacking, canoeing and fly fishing.

TBD
Facilities Manager 
864-656-2458

Kathy Bridges
Landscape Manager
864-656-2458
bridges@clemson.edu

Bridges

Kathy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but was raised in Europe.  She lived in Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and England.  She graduated from Cincinnati Technical College with an Associate’s Degree in Business/Ornamental Horticulture.  Her passion for gardening came from her mother and grandfather.  Kathy has a son who will graduate from Clemson with a degree in Computer Science, a niece/inherited daughter who is attending Warren Wilson University in Asheville, and an amazing husband.

Kathy was a retail store manager with Frank’s Nursery and Crafts for 18 years, operating a $3million/year nursery and craft store.  She was responsible for customer service training for all district employees for nine stores, management trainees, and had highest payroll to sales ratio out of 260 stores.  She moved to South Carolina in 1988, and was the Horticulturist for Keowee Key for 10 years. She thought she had a great job, but then she got the job of Landscape Manager at the S.C. Botanical Garden where she is responsible for maintaining and installing landscaped areas within the Garden, as well as student hiring, coordinating, and payroll.   Now she feels she has the best job!! 

Matt Turnbull
Natural Heritage Garden Trail Manager
864-656-2458
mturnbu@clemson.edu

Turnbull

Growing up in and around Philadelphia, Matt was raised with an affinity for history, the urban outdoors, and plants. Education and work experiences at Temple University, Bartram’s Garden, Quaker Hill Native Plant Garden, Longwood Gardens, and Mt. Cuba Center prepared him to work at the SCBG. More specifically, his work and interests in native indigenous plants to the northeast, as well as the southeast.

As the Natural Heritage Garden Manager, Matt is responsible for all facets of the trail including maintenance, ongoing projects and plant propagation. The diversity of plants, plant collecting history, and natural lands drew him to Clemson and the South Carolina Botanical Garden.

Betsy Corn
Children's Garden Manager
864-656-2458
bhcorn@clemson.edu

Corn

Betsy Corn, a 2000 Horticulture Graduate from Clemson University, joined the SCBG Staff in December 2014 as the Children’s Garden Manager. Betsy has a background in bioremediation research, turf grass, and ornamentals, but believes her greatest strength comes from raising five children. Having a special needs child has aided in forming Betsy’s belief that the Children’s Garden is not only a great place for discovery in the natural environment, but is also a place that should be accessible to children of different backgrounds and abilities. 

Jeanne Briggs
Nursery Manager
864-656-2458
jeanneb@clemson.edu

Briggs

Jeanne Briggs is a life-long public horticulturist and native South Carolinian, who had the good fortune to grow up in northern California. She began her career as a grounds manager at a golf course in Myrtle Beach, and for many years, was the City Horticulturist for North Myrtle Beach. She returned to graduate school at Clemson working under Dr. Ted Whitwell on weed science issues and pesticide runoff at ornamental container nurseries, and completed a PhD in 2001.

Jeanne loves her position as the Nursery and Greenhouse Manager at the SCBG. The opportunities for propagation and production of many native and unique to the trade plant species is exhilarating, as is the interaction with volunteers and students. She also teaches a Creative Inquiry and a Horticulture course at Clemson, and recently accepted a board position on the SC Exotic Plant Pest Council.

Briggs is passionate about minimizing environmental impacts and sustainability in plant production. She enjoys trekking through natural habitats, beach combing, being on and near water of any kind, and great books (her first Bachelor’s degree was in English Literature). She has a brilliant daughter who is currently finishing a PhD in Archeology at the University of Alabama.  


Sue Watts
Education Program Coordinator
864-656-3679
watts9@clemson.edu

Watts

Sue began at the Garden as the office manager in 1999, having relocated from Atlanta.  At the time she was working on her PhD. in history at Binghamton University, New York. 

Sue was born and grew up in England and her family is still there. As a young adult she was able to live in New Zealand and Canada for some time.  Sue has a BA and MA in history, but has always loved gardens and gardening.  Her grandparents and parents were avid gardeners. 

While at the Garden, her interest in education was tapped and she began working with the Garden’s Director of Education, Lisa Wagner, helping her with her programs and then developed her own programs and interests. One of the most influential developments for Sue professionally has been able to take part in the South Carolina Master Naturalist and the Southern Appalachian Master Naturalist Programs.  She has developed a Garden Naturalist Program for adults and Junior Naturalist Program for children. Sue has been able to use her history background to open the Hunt Cabin to the public more frequently.   James’ title is Education Program Coordinator and in addition to developing her own programs, she has invited other educators to the Garden to give programs.

James Wilkins
Education and Resource Coordinator
864-656-3405
jhwilki@clemson.edu

Wilkins

A native of Greenville, SC, James is a Clemson graduate and received his MS in Environmental Education from Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, NH. James worked for the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources in Charleston, SC before returning to Greenville as the Sustainability Associate at Furman University. He was the Community Forester/Certified Arborist for TreesGreenville and joined Clemson University last year in the Planning and Design Office. He started his current position in March of this year and enthusiastically brings his passion for environmental education and outreach to the South Carolina Botanical Garden and the Clemson Experimental Forest.

Shannon Barrett

Shannon Barrett
Landscape Architect
864-656-3405
sbarre3@clemson.edu

Shannon Barrett is a landscape architect at the South Carolina Botanical Garden and is also a horticultural instructor at Clemson University. She previously worked as a landscape architect and a landscape historian for the Jaeger Company.

Bob Campbell Geology Museum

Adam Smith
Curator
864-656-4602
smith23@clemson.edu

Smith

Adam is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois, USA and a research affiliate at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. He was formerly a postdoctoral researcher at The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center on the campus of Duke University and has received degrees from Western Kentucky University (BS-Geology) and the University of Texas at Austin (PhD-Paleontology).

Adam is a vertebrate paleontologist with broad interests in the evolution of birds with particular areas of focus including combined phylogenetic analyses (building 'family trees' of birds), divergence time estimation (dating phylogenetic trees) and avian anatomy. Adam has presented his research and done paleontological fieldwork in locations across the USA, South America, Europe and Asia.

Beginning on September 14th, Adam will be responsible for managing and updating the geological and paleontological collections and exhibits at the BCGM as well as leading tours of the BCGM and field trips to collect geological and paleontological specimens. Adam will also be involved in initiatives to enhance linkages between Clemson University faculty and students, SCBG, and BCGM, and to increase visitorship and membership to the BCGM.

Allison Jones
Curator of Education 
864-656-4602
allisoo@clemson.edu

Jones

Allison first began working at the Garden in 2007 coordinating Sprouting Wings, a gardening and nature-based-learning program for elementary aged children funded by the late Bob and Betsy Campbell. Working with Sprouting Wings was one of the most gratifying experiences she has ever had, and it further confirmed her desire to help people, especially children, learn about and connect with nature.

In 2011, Allison began serving as the Interim Curator of the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and as the Membership and Gifts Manager for the Garden and Museum, in addition to working alongside Kendra Vincent to develop educational programming for children and families. Since that time, the Membership Manager and Museum Curator positions have been filled, allowing her to work full-time as an Education Program Coordinator and expand her program offerings. Working full-time in education allows Allison to utilize her training in Biology, her love of plants and nature, as well as her experience with minerals and fossils. She also manages the registration database for educational programming and special events.

Kendra Vincent
Garden Educator
864-656-4600
kendrav@clemson.edu

Vincent

Kendra has been involved with the SCBG for 21 years both as an employee and a volunteer.  During her time as a Clemson student she became involved with Sprouting Wings, a children’s gardening program, and from there decided that she wanted to stay in this field.  Kendra loved being able to help children learn from new experiences in nature and also be able to use the natural world as a tool for therapy. 

Kendra received her BS in Horticulture in 1996 and then a MS in Therapeutic Recreation in 1998.  While completing her Master’s she was the Sprouting Wings coordinator for the York Place Children’s Home, a residential treatment facility for children.  Then for many years she worked with Sprouting Wings in local schools during after school programs.  In 2007, Kendra began working with Allison Jones, as the York Place Sprouting Wings Coordinator and assisted Allison with the SCBG based Sprouting Wings Program.  In 2011 she was able to move to the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and, along with Allison, has been expanding the education program at the museum and the SCBG education programming as a Garden Educator.