South Carolina Botanical Garden

Patrick McMillanMcMillan


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, though he is also well-respected through his work in ichthyology, herpetology and mammalogy. Patrick is a professional naturalist, the Glenn and Heather Hilliard Professor of Environmental Sustainability at Clemson University, where he is also a faculty member in the Department of Forestry and Environmental Conservation, the director of the South Carolina Botanical Garden, the Bob Campbell Geology Museum and the Clemson Experimental Forest and an honorary member of the Clemson University Class of 1939.

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, the 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 10 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 an 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 Craig's 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 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.

Shannon BarrettShannon Barrett

Landscape Architect

Shannon Barrett is the landscape architect for the South Carolina Botanical Garden. She coordinates land use planning, wayfinding, water conservation initiatives, garden design and implementation, and site project management. She teaches sustainable garden design studios for the Horticulture Department at Clemson University. She also provides support visitor experience services for the Clemson Experimental Forest.


Kathy Bridges

Garden Manager

Kathy was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, but was raised in Europe (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 in Charleston who is a Clemson grad, a niece/inherited daughter in Oregon, and an amazing husband. Kathy moved to South Carolina in 1988, and was the Horticulturist for Keowee Key for 10 years. She began working as a Landscape Manager at SCBG in 2008, and was responsible for maintaining and installing landscaped areas within the Garden, as well as student hiring, coordinating, and payroll. She now is responsible for supervising and coordinating our entire Horticultural and Maintenance staff, as well as coordinating our volunteer and internship programs.

Susan ChandlerSusan Chandler

Garden Educator

Susan is a Garden Educator at the South Carolina Botanical Garden. Passionate about all that the Garden has to offer, Susan, who completed the Upstate Master Naturalist course, shares her love for the outdoors through her position as a part-time educator. A native of the Clemson community, Susan is a graduate of nearby D.W. Daniel High School and also received a bachelor's degree from Clemson University after studying psychology and geology.

Allison JonesJones

Education Program Coordinator

Allison Jones joined the South Carolina Botanical Garden staff in 2007 as co-director of Sprouting Wings, a nature-based learning non-profit for children in the Upstate of South Carolina. Since that time, she has served as Interim Curator of the Bob Campbell Geology Museum ('11-'15), Membership Manager for both Garden and Geology Museum ('11-'14), and, continually, as a Garden Educator. She currently works as a full-time Education Program Coordinator, designing and leading a variety of programs for children, families, and adults. She also manages online registration for programs and events.

Allison KellyAllison Kelly

Natural Heritage Garden Manager

Allison Kelly manages the Natural Heritage Garden Trail. She is responsible for maintaining and adding to the living collection. In addition, she is responsible for trail maintenance, infrastructure, and aesthetic maintenance. She received her MS in Plant and Environmental Science from Clemson in 2016.

Trent MillerTrent Miller

Plant Collection Manager

Trent is a South Carolina native, having grown up in both the Midlands and the Lowcountry before moving to Clemson for college. Trent studied horticulture at Clemson University and graduated in 2015. He has been involved with the South Carolina Botanical Garden since 2014, when he was a student worker, and was hired as a staff member in the spring of 2016 as the Desert Garden Manager and the Plant Collection Manager. Trent enjoys exploring the mountains and other natural areas where he can keep seeing new things and learning about plants and the ecosystems in which they are found.

Angel PerkinsPerkins

Business Manager

Angel was born and raised in Ohio. She and her three children (Jessica, Emily and Alex) moved to Clemson, South Carolina, from Oakwood, Ohio, in the summer of 2013. Angel graduated summa cum laude with a Degree in Business Management and a Certificate in Marketing and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Angel started at the SCBG in January 2015 as Patrick's Assistant and later became the Rental Manager and the Gift Shop Manager. She now holds the position of Business Manager. This new position includes the Garden's social media and communications, managing the Friends Membership program, planning Garden events, and much more.

Dave RifeDave Rife

Arboretum Manager

Dave grew up in Rome, Georgia, and gained a deep appreciation of nature from tagging along with his father, fishing in creeks and lakes and the woods surrounding their home. He began working in horticulture while studying to be a high school English teacher at Berry College. He taught high school for four years, but working indoors was not to his liking, and he returned to horticulture. Dave spent many years in the residential landscape world in Colorado, Tennessee, and Alabama before moving to Atlanta to work for the Atlanta Botanical Garden. He worked there for seven years as a senior horticulturist before coming to the South Carolina Botanical Garden as the Arboretum Manager in January of 2017. Dave lives in Seneca.

Jamie RutherfordJamie Rutherford

Landscape Manager

Jamie is the Landscape Manager at the South Carolina Botanical Garden, where he is responsible for maintaining and installing landscaped areas within the Garden. A native of Piney Creek, North Carolina, Jamie began working at the South Carolina Botanical Garden after serving as a superintendent at a variety of North Carolina golf courses throughout his career.

Misty ShealyMisty Shealy

Nursery Manager

Misty is the Nursery Manager at the South Carolina Botanical Garden, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the SCBG nursery, as well as the SCBG's semiannual plant sales. A graduate of Clemson University with a degree in horticulture, Misty previously worked in the horticulture industry as an assistant greenhouse manager for City Roots and a garden center department manager for Walmart. Misty also has experience in graphic design, having worked as a freelance graphic designer after earning a degree in graphic communications from Midlands Technical College.

Rebecca SmithRebecca Smith

Garden Educator

Rebecca was born and raised in the rolling bluegrass hills of Kentucky, where her parents introduced her to the magic of nature and an appreciation of music. She graduated with her degree in Geology from NCSU in 2009, and has been a lifelong musician and songwriter. She worked as a geologist for many years until she moved with her husband (curator of the Bob Campbell Geology Museum) and 4 year old daughter to Clemson in the fall of 2015. The moment she stepped into the Garden, she was inspired to create a nature-based outdoor children’s music program called the Melody Garden, where spirits are free to dance with the butterflies and sing with the birds! Rebecca loves playing stringed instruments with friends, sewing, gardening, rock hounding, songwriting, hiking, cooking, and generally loving life through child-like eyes.

Kendra VincentVincent

Garden Educator

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.

Spencer WaldropSpencer Waldrop

Facilities Manager

Spencer Waldrop is originally from Pickens, South Carolina, but now lives in La France, South Carolina, with his wife and daughter. He worked for Clemson University as part of Clemson University Facilities for seven years before coming to the South Carolina Botanical Garden in 2016. Spencer has a strong mechanical background, as well as years of experience in facilities management.

Sue WattsWatts

Education Program Coordinator

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 WilkinsWilkins

Education and Resource Coordinator

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.

Bob Campbell Geology Museum

Adam SmithSmith


Dr. Smith was formerly a postdoctoral fellow at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois and at The National Evolutionary Synthesis Center on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC.  Dr. Smith received degrees from Western Kentucky University (BS-Geology) and the University of Texas at Austin (PhD-Paleontology).

Dr. Smith 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. Dr. Smith has presented his research and done paleontological field work in locations across the USA, South America, Europe and Asia.

Dr. Smith is 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 is involved in initiatives to enhance linkages between Clemson University faculty and students, SCBG, and BCGM, and to increase visitorship and membership to the BCGM.

Board of Directors

Trish Bender
Mary Elder

Heather Hilliard
Frazer Pajak
Dabney Peeples
Richard Porcher, Jr.
Karin Purvis
Marcia Radakovich
Carol Savage
Joe Turner