CLEMSON — The Home and Garden Information Center, a service of Clemson University Cooperative Extension, has extended its hours and added staff to answer more of South Carolinians’ questions about landscaping, gardening, plant health, household pests, food safety and nutrition.
HGIC staff can now take phone calls from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, more than doubling the number of hours experts can take calls daily. The center’s website also includes valuable fact sheets on insects, diseases, water quality, food safety, gardening and other topics, as well as timely information about food recalls, weather conditions, hurricane safety preparedness tips and other topics.
The addition of two staff members will help the center update and add more fact sheets to the website, said Millie Davenport, HGIC director and Extension horticulture agent.
The toll-free HGIC phone line at 888-656-9988 receives more than 13,000 calls annually. South Carolina residents also can email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
“That’s why we are expanding, to meet that demand. We were just not able to touch all of those people with limited phone hours,” she said.
HGIC has hired LayLa Burgess and Barbara Smith.
Burgess is a forestry expert with a bachelor’s degree in plant sciences from the College of Charleston and master’s degrees in botany and forest resources from Clemson. She formerly managed Clemson University’s Hemlock Woolly Adelgid/Predatory Beetle Rearing Laboratory. It is funded through the Initiative on Biological Control against Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, a project of Forest Health Protection-USDA Forest Service.
Smith has 40 years of horticulture experience teaching high school horticulture, operating her own landscape design company and working in the retail nursery business. She has a bachelor’s degree in biology from Erskine College and a master’s degree in ornamental horticulture from Clemson.
Extending the popular HGIC is part of Clemson Extension’s newly adopted five-year strategic plan to improve service to South Carolina communities.
Extension is part of a far-reaching Public Service and Agriculture division that engages in statewide research, outreach and regulatory programs designed to enhance economic growth in the state, and provide unbiased, research-based information to help improve the quality of life in South Carolina, a core part of Clemson’s land-grant mission.
Clemson is seeking nearly $4 million in recurring requests and $13 million in capital requests from the state Legislature to support and expand programs and facilities that improve the value of the state’s $42 billion agriculture and forestry industries; strengthen families and communities; improve stewardship of natural resources and the environment; strengthen connections between people and their food; and expose South Carolina youth to opportunities in agriculture, science, technology, engineering and math.
This story courtesy of Clemson University.