UNION — The summer intern program at Piedmont Physic Garden continues with Carley Raybon and Catherine Garner updating labels for the garden collection, researching appropriate additions, expanding the garden communications plan and organizing the data base.
Raybon is a recent graduate of The University of Alabama with a B.A. in Public Relations. She found PPG while searching for post-graduate opportunities on her sorority website.
“I was a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, and one day, while browsing Theta’s national website I came across a job listing for an internship at the Piedmont Physic Garden,” she said. “As it turns out, Miss Toccoa (Switzer) is a Theta too, so I sent in my resume, and everything fell into place.”
Raybon grew up in Orlando, and her family has relocated to Denver so adjusting to small town life is among the new experiences the internship affords.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed being in Union so far,” she said. “It’s a far cry from the bustling cities of Orlando and Denver, but a wonderful change of pace. I have loved meeting all the townspeople and being welcomed with open arms everywhere I go.”
When her internship ends in late July, she will begin another in sports information and advanced media with the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, a Division II league based in Colorado Springs, CO. She hopes to return to the South and work as a public relations professional in Nashville or Atlanta.
Garner graduated this spring from The University of South Carolina Honors College with a degree in Biological Sciences. She found PPG through Dr. John Nelson, curator of the A. C. Moore Herbarium at USC. Nelson is a frequent contributor to the TV program “Making it Grow,” and a friend of PPG.
Under Nelson’s direction, Garner’s thesis was on the stem anatomy of the mint family, and her background is in plant anatomy.
She currently resides in Lexington and has a strong creative side with a rich love of writing.
“My true passion is writing, and I ultimately want to write novels for a living, using my botany background to help create rich and realistic worlds for my stories,” she said. “During breaks at PPG, I’m spending most of my free time this summer working on my first novel, a young adult fiction adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world.”
She hopes to spend some time in the working world before graduate school.
“I’m thinking of technical writing, science writing, science communication, information science, library science, or perhaps fine arts with a focus on writing,” Garner said. “I’m interested in taking the complex data of hard science and translating it into something the general public can enjoy and use.”
Founded in 2014 by the family of Dr. Paul K. Switzer, PPG was inspired by London’s Chelsea Physic Garden. PPG’s mission is to provide horticultural and environmental education to the people of Union County and the surrounding Piedmont region of South Carolina.
PPG is a nonprofit botanical garden located at 301 E. South St. In Dr. Switzer’s memory, the Switzer family donated two residential lots to create a small apothecary garden containing plants with historical medicinal uses, many native to the Piedmont and the Southern Appalachian corridor.
The family of the Honorable Jack and Nonie Flynn donated two adjoining lots in 2014, significantly expanding the scope of the garden.
Today PPG’s campus, located in the heart of Union’s historic district, serves as a hub for horticultural and environmental based learning activities for children, teens and adults.
For more information on tours, events and educational events, call 864-427-2556 or visit piedmontphysicgarden.org.
Carley Raybon and Catherine Garner are the latest participants in the Piedmont Physic Garden Summer Intern Program. The two university graduates will be working at the garden through the end of July.