Clemson roots run deep in this Tiger. In fact, this South Carolina native and Clemson alumna can trace her ancestry back to Fort Hill. Today, she works to spread Clemson spirit all over South Carolina — one garden at a time. As the Master Gardener coordinator in the Charleston area, her passion for service enhances the lives of everyone she meets.

Meet Amy Dabbs.

Title: Urban Horticulture Extension Agent and Master Gardener Coordinator for Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Counties

Years at Clemson: 19 years a full-time employee, 24 if you count my years as an undergrad and graduate assistant.

What I do at Clemson:  I am a Clemson extension horticulture agent. I provide answers to gardening questions and help solve problems encountered by home gardeners. Master Gardener volunteers help me meet the needs of gardeners in the counties I serve. Training a new group of Master Gardener volunteers each year is one of the most important parts of my job. I literally could not do it without their help!

In addition, I develop and teach gardening classes on topics such as vegetable gardening, pollinator-friendly landscapes and perennial gardening. I provide lectures for garden clubs and other garden-based groups. I also write a garden column for the Post and Courier newspaper and a monthly article for South Carolina Living Magazine.

For the past five years, I have worked with a team to develop an online training course called School Gardening for South Carolina Educators. This course is designed to teach basic horticulture skills to teachers who want to garden with their students but don’t have the experience yet to be successful. So far, more than 300 teachers across South Carolina have participated. I love receiving photos of the school garden harvests in my inbox!

What I love about Clemson: I love so much about this university. I have been given amazing opportunities as both a student and an employee. My co-workers over the years are now my friends and family — I met my husband here. I have traveled and worked with scientists, artists and educators from around the world during my career with Clemson.

Accomplishment I’m most proud of:  I am proud to have a career in public service to my state. I’m probably most proud of the teamwork that has brought about School Gardening for South Carolina Educators. When we receive emails from teachers with photos showing off their students’ harvests, it is so exciting. You can hear the horticulture Extension agents send up a cheer along our hall!  It’s so fulfilling to know you have truly helped a child discover they can grow their own food.

Where I see myself in five years: Yikes, I will be the parent of a teenager in five years!

Last thing I watched on TV:  “Girlboss” on Netflix.

Guilty pleasure:  Playing video games with my son Jackson, who is 8. He recently talked me into playing a new game called “Clash Royale” with him and his friends online; it’s so addictive! We keep screen time to a minimum, though. He has to practice piano or play outside first.

One thing most people don’t know about me: Recently, I became interested in my family genealogy. When I found my great grandfather’s World War I draft card, I was shocked to see he was born at Fort Hill, South Carolina, in 1890. There are lots of carpenters on that side of the family and since that is the year Clemson College was founded I like to imagine our family had a hand in building the “new” agriculture school.

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