Saturday, February 19, 2011

Expeditions with Patrick McMillan -

Through the eyes of naturalist Patrick McMillan, the world becomes exotic and fascinating. You will be amazed by the discoveries awaiting around the Carolinas and in your backyard.
Expect new adventures in nature every week, on Expeditions with Patrick McMillan

Host and Co-Creator
Patrick is the host, co-creator, and writer of the popular and award-winning ETV nature program Expeditions with Patrick McMillan. Over the past 15 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, lecturer, and director of the Campbell Museum of Natural History at Clemson University.
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. He is also a frequent guest on “Your Day,” and the ETV Roadshow on SCETV radio. As an expert speaker, he is in high demand throughout the Southeast and has given more than 100 public presentations in 2008-2009, 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 of Upstate Forever, 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 and when he wasn’t out in the swamp he was across the street from his Naples home at the Naples Zoo, aka Jungle Larry’s, where he was such a common feature that the Mynah birds, as well as Larry’s Wife Jane knew him by name! 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. Alleghany County was a great place to grow up if you liked the company of plants and animals, but there weren’t many children in the neighborhood to make friends with. His childhood consisted of one long walk through the woods, punctuated by those pesky daily tasks like school and dinner. 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.


Patrick’s son Nic has been with him for all of his life’s adventures. From the Valley of Desolation, to the relentless exploration of swamps and savannas of the coastal plain in search of beaksedges, his support has been the backbone of his career. Nic even has a keen interest in videography. Check out his Salamander close-ups in Episode 8. Nic may also be responsible for bringing skateboarding to Dominica.


Patrick received his Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Doctorate of Philosophy in Biological Sciences from Clemson University.

Professional Organizations

Patrick currently holds membership or recognition from the following professional organizations:

Association of Southeastern Biologists (ASB)
     on-line at:

Southern Appalachian Botanical Society (SABS)
     on-line at:

South Carolina Entomological Society, only honorary member in society history
     on-line at:

The Nature Conservancy, Southern Blue Ridge Project, team member
    online at:    

South Carolina Association of Naturalists
     on-line at:

South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, Heritage Trust Advisory Committee
     on-line at:

Patrick's Picks

Educational Resources

Here are some educational resources that provide a greater understanding of our natural resources:

Dr. Ed Pivorun's E-Nature Guides - a collection of 5 CD/DVDs that provide a greater understanding of:
  • The Wildflowers of the Blue Ridge Mt Area (750 species);
  • The Mammals of the Great Smoky Mts National Park;
  • The Mammals of the Carolinas;
  • The Salamanders of the Great Smoky Mts National Park, and
  • The Snakes of  South Carolina

My Bookmarks

Here are a few sites that I visit frequently that you can explore, too:
USDA Plants Database - the place to go for the newest and most up to date plant names, plus basic information and pictures.
on-line at:
Florida Plant Atlas - you'll find pictures of just about any plant in Florida in this searchable guide.
on-line at:
Galleria Carnivora - a virtual museum full of amazing facts about carnivorous plants.
on-line at:
Florida Museum of Natural History's Herpetology - everything you'd want to know about Florida's amphibians and reptiles.
on-line at:

North Carolina State Museum of Natural Sciences
– the first job as a curator I had and a great institution.
on-line at:
Clemson University Museum - curated by yours truly, this is a great resource for the identification of regional plant specimens and an important source of plant material for classroom instruction.
on-line at:
Rowan Byrnes Sea Turtle and Sea Creature - Rowan is amazing and a great friend/guest expert on our first season. Check out the amelanistic green sea turtle that hatched right in front of    Rowan and I during my recent trip to Dominica this past May.
on-line at:

On My Bookshelf

This list of books includes a variety of subject matter.
A Guide to the Wildflowers of South Carolina
by R. D. Porcher and D. A. Rayner
You must have this book. Great essays and descriptions of plants, their names, how to pronounce the and    more information on the plants covered than you’ll ever want to know.
The Flora of the Carolinas, Virginia and Georgia
by Alan S. Weakley
The updated nomenclatural reference for vascular plants and plant names in the Southeast.
King Solomon’s Ring
by Konrad Lorenz
The book that catapulted Ethology into the public limelight. That's the study of animal behavior in the natural environment.
Snakes of the Southeast
by J. Whitfield Gibbons and M. Dorcas
The snake book we all wanted to write, written better than any of the rest of us could!

In My Travel Log

Berkeley County, South Carolina
My best friend Richard Porcher often says, “I could spend my whole life exploring Berkeley County and not see it all.” He’s correct, with the highest documented diversity of plant species in the southeastern United States, this county is my favorite place to visit. Berkeley County, my first home!
The Commonwealth of Dominica, Lesser Antille
My favorite place on Earth.
Sparta Bog, Alleghany County, North Carolina
This was was my back yard when I was a teenager. I still love to visit the one place I would credit with inspiring me to pursue botany as a career. The cranberries are tasty, too!
The Big Cypress Swamp, Collier County, Florida
I lived in Naples as a young child, just down the street from a zoological park and when I wasn’t here I was out in the BC Swamp – exploring one of the most fascinating natural areas on earth.
New Caledonia
I plan to visit this remote Pacific Island next December to explore some of the most primitive plants on earth. If you’ve seen Walking with Dinosaurs, a Discovery Channel series, you’ve seen odd backgrounds that were filmed here.

My To Do List

If I could do anything and go anywhere I would:
  • Overcome my arachnophobia. I held a wild pink-toed tarantula I found in St. Lucia this past June, but I can’t bear to touch those greasy, less-hairy spiders. YUUUCK!
  • Finish writing those articles describing the 4 new species of Begonia that I’ve been working on (and procrastinating on) for three years now!
  • Bring you a show that will keep you entertained and maybe teach you a thing or two that I’ve learned over the years so that you might cherish the life on this earth as much as I do!

On My Nightstand

If you’ve seen my show you’ve seen me. I spend my time chasing down that shot of the Plethodon cheoah for the salamander episode by hiking 12 miles up and down mountain peaks. I live, breathe and sleep natural history. I do have other interests though...
I’ve played the guitar now for about 7 years, and still can’t play more than Syd Barrett and Flaming Lips (pretty simple). I had one piano lesson, yet somehow I taught myself to play ‘Round Midnight. I can play virtually any woodwind and brass instrument in treble cleft. My musical interests are as eclectic as my natural history interests. I listen to alternative, rock, classical, reggae, bluegrass, jazz, even name it!

I spend more of my time writing books than reading these days. Occasionally I let my geek side show and lose myself in a Tolkien fantasy, though I never played Dungeons and Dragons.

On My Playlist

Wildflowers, Tom Petty
Buggin’, The Flaming Lips
In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, Neutral Milk Hotel
‘Round Midnight, Thelonious Monk
Green is the Color, Pink Floyd
Bye Bye Blackbird, Miles Davis   
Bleed to Love Her, Fleetwood Mac
An American in Paris, George Gershwin

Patrick McMillan, Host and Co-Creator of Expeditions

No comments:

Post a Comment