Spartanburg, S.C. – “Traveling to China was not an opportunity I expected. I didn’t even have a passport,” said Kevin Parris, Spartanburg Community College’s horticulture instructor and arboretum coordinator.
But with the support of SCC faculty and staff, friends and family, and a lot of paperwork, Parris flew to China in May to present his research on Magnolia at the “Second Annual International Symposium on the Family Magnoliaceae” held in Guangzhou, China.
China has more species of Magnoliaceae than any other country and is home to one of the largest magnolia conservation centers in the world. The Symposium was designed to encourage cooperative research on Magnoliaceae throughout the world.
Parris will share his experiences from the journey, including photos from his travels to the South China Botanical Garden in Gangzhou and the Kunming Botanical Garden in China’s Yunnan Province, during “Chasing Magnolias to China”, a fundraising event for the SCC horticulture department on October 8, 2009 at the SCC central campus.
The event was developed by the SCC Foundation to raise awareness and support for the “Friends of Arboretum”, a fund created to support the SCC horticulture department.
“SCC’s horticulture program is currently experiencing a 46 percent enrollment growth for the fall semester,” said Parris. “That growth, coupled with the recent state budget cuts of more than 23 percent, has placed a tremendous strain on our department’s resources.”
The “Friends of Arboretum” fund will help to ensure that new gardens like the college’s Train Garden and Woodland Garden can be developed on campus, giving students more diverse, hands-on experiences. The fund will also assist in the purchase of supplies for the ongoing care of trees in the SCC arboretum, the maintenance of information and instructional signage throughout the arboretum, and providing funds for attendance at industry trade shows, recruitment events and at national and international conferences.
“Chasing Magnolias to China” will be held on Thursday, October 8 at 5:15 p.m. in the Tracy J. Gaines Learning Resource Center auditorium on the SCC central campus. Tickets to the event are $50 and include a “Friends of Arboretum” membership, a tour of the SCC gardens, dinner and Parris’ presentation.
Additional ticket levels are also available and can be purchased online until noon on Monday, October 5, at http://www.sccsc.edu/arboretum or by calling the SCC Foundation at (864) 592-4624.
About the Spartanburg Community College Foundation.
The SCC Foundation exists to provide assistance to Spartanburg Community College through the provisions of scholarships, curriculum resources, equipment, facilities and grants that help students, faculty and the community achieve educational excellence thereby contributing to a vibrant, local economy. For more information visit www.sccfoundation.org