Palmetto Outdoor Academy Instructors

SCWF is honored to have these experts dedicated to leading our classes and sharing their knowledge and passion with us through SCWF's Palmetto Pro Birder & Naturalist Training programs.

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Dr. Austin Jenkins is a native of Camden, SC and studied Biology Education at The Citadel.  He went on to study various and sundry plants and animals at Clemson University.  A Naturalist at USC Sumter, Jenkins teaches Natural History of SC and Environmental Biology.  

Austin teachers various naturalist trainings for SCWF, as well as facilitating the Midlands Master Naturalist Class.  

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Dr. Drew Lanham is a lifelong birder, an ornithologist and a professor at Clemson University. His research interests include: songbird ecology and conservation; integration of game and nongame wildlife management; the African American land ethic and its role in natural resources conservation. Drew is a Certified Wildlife Biologist & Certified Senior Ecologist, and the co- host of the popular birding show on the “Your Day” radio program.

Drew teaches Palmetto Pro Birder classes for SCWF as well as leading trips out-of-state, and abroad.  



A native South Carolinian, Tim has studied and taught as a naturalist and biologist throughout the southeast for more than 26 years. For the past 16 years he has been the Interpretive Ranger/Naturalist for South Carolina State Park Service’s Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area where he conducts research and provides educational programs for children and adults. He also teaches the Upstate South Carolina Master Naturalist Program and is an Educational Leadership Partner for the South Carolina Aquarium. Tim contributes data to the National Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey and to regional and local bird counts. 

Tim teaches Palmetto Pro Birder classes for SCWF.

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Dr. John Nelson is the Curator of the Herbarium within the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia.  The Herbarium is committed to public service through a formal offering of free plant identifications (932 in calendar year 2015), and through a regular, weekly newspaper column called “Mystery Plant”, and he is very pleased to be regularly invited as the “Mystery Doctor with the Mystery Plant” in Clemson’s “Making it Grow!” SCETV series. 

John teaches one-day naturalist training classes for SCWF as well as assisting with the Midlands Master Naturalist course.  


Steve Patterson

Steve began birding in 1981 shortly before entering Erskine College as a freshman. He learned all he could about how to identify what he found and started keeping a list. Since then he has birded in 1,050 counties in the United States, including every county in North Carolina, Florida, Maine, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, and of course South Carolina. Steve is the past compiler of the Long Cane and Rocky River Christmas Bird Counts, having founded Rocky River in 1991. He is a member of the American Birding Association, the Greenville County Bird Club, Aroostook Birders (Maine), and a lifetime member and former president the Carolina Bird Club. 

Steve teaches Palmetto Pro Birder classes for SCWF as well as assisting with the Midlands Master Naturalist course.