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    Make the most of your NCYGS experience

    2016 Field Experiences

    Gardening Experts. World-Class Gardens.

    Special Events


    Pre-symposium: Full day at the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden and Moore Farms Botanical Garden, Wednesday, July 13, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

    Join us as we travel to two hidden horticultural gems outside of Columbia.  The first stop will be the Pearl Fryar Topiary Garden, a truly unique and inspirational garden in Bishopville, SC.  Many of Pearl Fryar’s topiaries started out as discards in local nursery compost piles, and through Fryar’s creative vision and skill, found new life as fantastical topiaries in his garden dedicated to the ideals of “love, peace, and goodwill.” Then the trip will head to Moore Farms Botanical Garden in Lake City, SC. Located on what was once farmland, the site has been transformed into a horticultural marvel boasting innovative and breathtaking gardens that serve as a resource for research and educational programs. Attendees will have the chance to explore and learn about Moore Farms' recently launched youth education program. Lunch will be provided.  (Additional registration is required to attend this trip.)


    Pre-symposium: Morning tour of Columbia school gardens, Wednesday, July 13, 8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

    This pre-symposium trip will visit school gardens throughout Columbia that are involved with South Carolina Green Steps, a statewide program that “recognizes schools who take annual sustainable steps toward becoming more environmentally responsible.” Teachers at Catawba Trail Elementary School, St. John Neumann Catholic School, and the Barclay School at Magnolia Farm will share insights into their school gardens and how they fit into daily school life.  As a public elementary school, a private preK-6th grade school, and a non-profit school offering an alternative approach for students who learn differently, these schools will demonstrate a variety of successful settings and approaches for a thriving school garden program. (Additional registration is required to attend this trip.)


    An afternoon & evening at Heathwood Hall, Thursday, July 14, 2:15 p.m.-8:15 p.m.

    On Thursday the symposium will take a trip to Heathwood Hall, a local preK-12th grade school with an extensive School Environmental Education program (SEED) including themed gardens spread throughout the campus that are created by the fifth grade class every year. The gardens include a Native American Medicine Wheel, edible forest, art garden, Carolina Bay ecosystem, and more.  At Heathwood attendees will enjoy educational sessions, dinner, and a keynote presentation from Kaiulani Lee, who will perform her play A Sense of Wonder. Based on the life of Rachel Carson and her experiences following the publication of Silent Spring, the play has been touring the country for more than 20 years. Through the story of Carson’s inspirational legacy, the play explores our deep bond with the natural world and the value of taking a stand to protect it. (Excursion & dinner are included in Thursday symposium registration)



    An afternoon at Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, Friday, July 15, 2:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.

    On Friday, symposium attendees will have a chance to explore Riverbanks Zoo & Garden and their new Waterfall Junction children’s garden, which opened in April. The three-acre children's garden features a life-size replica of a Tyrannosaurus rex, giant tree houses, a 25-foot waterfall, a wading pond, and grassy meadow, and constitutes the single largest addition to Riverbanks since the botanical garden opened in 1995. It is nestled within the larger living classrooms of Riverbanks’ renowned botanical garden and zoo.  Self-guided explorations will allow attendees to experience all that Riverbanks has to offer. (Excursion is included in Friday symposium registration)



    Post-symposium: Carolina Children's Garden and Sandhill Research & Education Center, Saturday, July 16, 2:00 p.m.-5:15 p.m.

    Our post-symposium trip will visit the Clemson University Sandhill Research & Education Center (REC), a 600-acre natural haven in northeast Columbia that serves as a resource for Clemson Extension research and education programs. First we'll tour the on-site Carolina Children’s Garden, two acres where children can play and explore in themed gardens such as the Dinosaur Garden, Bird Garden, and Alphabet Garden. Then attendees will enjoy a reception in the scenic Sandhill REC Lake House to cap off their symposium experience. (Additional registration is required to attend this trip.)