Content about nature

  Rudy shares some of Charles Dudley Warner's words about the value we place in owning a patch of earth we can call our own.

A White Frog?

Jun 5, 2015

  Many listeners report sightings of "a white frog." What they are seeing is a Copse Gray Tree Frog.

  A listener helps shield a Killdeer nest where the mother bird is protecting its young.

  A listener finds a Red-Bellied Water Snake and wonders if it's venomous. Rudy tells us that it's not; but, it's still not to be trifled with!

  A Grey Egret hunts in the front yard of a Charleston home...

  A listener accidentally traps a fierce looking creature--surely something this big and mean looking isn't an opossum...?

  The Starfish Stinkhorn Mushroom doesn't always look like a starfish--it starts out as small white ball.

  You can find South Carolina's ("carolinianus") scorpions mostly in the Piedmont.

"What is this thing?"

May 27, 2015

  It's a question Rudy Mancke gets asked a lot: "What is this thing?"

  "Sweet letters of the angel tongue..." - Marturin Murray Ballou

  Mountain Laurel grows many places in South Carolina. But, it is native to--well--the mountains.

Rough Green Snake
By Patrick Coin (Patrick Coin) (Photograph taken by Patrick Coin) via Wikimedia Commons

  The  Rough Green Snake, when it's dead, actually changes colors.

Black Crowned Night Heron
By DickDaniels ( (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

A listener in North Charleston spotted an unusual bird near a pond on a golf course.

The Black Racer

May 20, 2015
Black Racer
By JamieS93 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

The Southern Black racer is a beautiful snake...


The Scarlet Spider

May 19, 2015

  Along came a spider--a bright red one!

Striped Maple leaves
By Homer Edward Price (Striped Maple leaves Uploaded by Amada44) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

  Rudy leads a nature walk at Jones Gap State Park, and tells us what he found.

May Apple

May 14, 2015
May Apple
Virginia State Parks staff (Uploaded by AlbertHerring) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons)

Rudy identifies a plant, with "umbrella-shaped leaves,"that a listener found near Ft. Mill, SC.

"Brains on the beach"

May 13, 2015
Sea Pork
Andrea Westmoreland/Flickr

  A listener found something on Hunting Beach State Park that looked like "brains." It's a colony of animals with the common name Sea Pork.

A Red-bellied Snake

May 12, 2015
Red Bellied Snake
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

The Red-bellied Snake is not harmful to humans, doesn't grow very large, and is a beautiful animal.


Starfish Stinkhorn Mushroom
Mike Young [CC BY 3.0 US] via Wikipedia

  The Starfish Stinkhorn Mushroom is an Australian species that has found its way here.

By Greg Hume (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. We recently had a “relaxed format” Making It Grow show in Lake City as part of that city’s major cultural event, ArtFields. The logo for this annual exhibit of Southeastern art   is a dandelion. Here’s part of what the ArtFields brochure says about this lovely plant.

Shademaster Honey Locust
USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Since we southerners are so interested in family names, let’s examine the history of the name for SHADEMASTER honey LOCUST Gleditsia triacanthos var. inermis 'Shademaster' . The genus name, Gleditsia, honors the German botanist of the 18th century named Gottlieb Gleditsch. Now the fun begins – triacanthos means “three spines” referring to the spines that grow out of the trunks of most honeylocust trees.

Rudy Mancke

  Rudy shares one of his poems, "The woods were Springtime green today..."

'Sunburst' Honeylocust in Elko Nevada" by
Famartin - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
John Harrison/Flickr

  Listeners, and Rudy, too, have been noticing a lot of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks among the throngs of spring birds returning to South Carolina.

Bull Nettle Fruit

May 6, 2015
Mature Bull Nettle Fruit
Missouri State University

Bull Nettle, or Horse Nettle, fruit is poisonous. The plant is in the Nightshade family.


Honey Locust pods
University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture

Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. My favorite professor at Clemson, Dr. David Bradshaw, told wonderful stories about his grandfather who was a true naturalist just from living a life so connected to the land and knowing so many uses for the plants and animals found near his home. When we studied honeylocust, gleditsia triacanthos, David told us that the sweet substance found lining the pods that gives rise to the honey part of the common name had such a high sugar content that his grandfather used it to make beer.

Midland Water Snake, Lancaster, SC, 2004
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory

A listener reports an immature Midland Water Snake found in the office.

American White Pelican
By Dick Daniels (

  There has been an increase in sightings of White Pelicans in South Carolina.

Thorns of the Honey Locust tree
Rei at the English language Wikipedia

  Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. If you’re in one of the great swampy areas in South Carolina and the water starts to rise or a feral hog is chasing you, for the love of Pete do not climb a Gleditsia aquatica, or swamp locust. Dr. John Nelson recently brought photographs of this tree, found in wet places in the SE as well as his back yard, to the show for a mystery plant. It has clusters of fierce, sharp, long spines growing out of the trunk and would be impossible to safely climb.