Loving the land

The roots of agriculture run deep in this Tiger. A Georgetown county native, he grew up in a farming family and knew by age 10, that his future would be in the ag field. He earned his bachelors and master’s degrees at Clemson and now he’s pursuing his Ph.D. His passion is to engage, inform and enhance the lives of South Carolinians.

Meet Cory Tanner.

Title: Urban Horticulture Program team leader

Years at Clemson: Almost 10 years with Clemson Extension

What I do at Clemson:  My role with Clemson Cooperative Extension is to provide statewide programmatic leadership (educational program development, delivery and evaluation) to extension agents working in the areas of school and community gardening, consumer horticulture, and ornamental horticulture (nursery and landscape industry). I also deliver educational programs and consultation services to landscapers and nursery professionals and share home gardening advice, teach master gardener lessons throughout the state, and write horticultural columns and fact sheets.

What I love about Clemson: I’m sure you get this all the time, but the Clemson family is what I love. I don’t know, however, if everyone realizes and appreciates how our family is woven across every community in South Carolina through Extension. Thousands of folks (even those who are not alumni or may not love our football team) are connected to and benefit from the Clemson Family through the work of our volunteers, agents and researchers.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of: I’m most proud of the programs that we deliver and the differences they make in people’s lives. For example, we offer the Master Gardener Volunteer program, where we teach basic how-to’s in gardening…think Horticulture 101. In return, we ask participants in this program to volunteer time back to Extension to help us deliver other programs to South Carolina residents.

Early in my career, I assisted in the creation and delivery of a multi-state training under the Master Gardener Volunteer program. It was specific to what people can do to improve water quality. It was a pretty impactful program and drew a lot of interest. It gave me confidence that I was in the right field and helped me see the power of Extension and how it impacts people’s lives.

I’m fortunate to have so many great team members who are dedicated to the clients they serve. Seeing the innovative ways they use to address difficult challenges makes me proud everyday.

Where I see myself in five years: My long-term goal is to grow Clemson Extension’s role and relevance in South Carolina’s growing urban areas.  As the primary outreach component of Clemson University’s land-grant mission, we have the relationships and expertise to engage urbanized communities in several areas including implementation of green infrastructure practices, helping to develop local food systems through urban farming and community garden programs, conducting job training and workforce preparedness, improving health and wellness of youth and adults, educating and engaging at-risk youth, and providing assistance to enhance community resiliency to climate change and severe weather events.

Last thing I watched on TV: A replay of the 2017 College Football Playoff National Championship Game. I also watch a lot of documentaries.

Guilty pleasure:  Plants. Not the ordinary ones, but anything unique or unusual is of interest to me, particularly if they are endemic to South Carolina.

Want to nominate a colleague to be featured in Meet a Tiger? Contact Jackie Todd at jtodd3@clemson.edu.