"I was born with green blood," explains Dr. Jean Everett, a College of Charleston biology professor, "I have always had a love for nature."
Her passion is obvious to any student who has taken the time to stop by her office. Deer antlers, turtle shells, pine cones, and snake skins decorate the desk and bookshelf from ceiling to floor. Everett also devotes a bulletin board to political issues and accomplishments. Getting involved and having a political voice is something else very dear and important to her.
"It's important for your voice to be heard," says Everett, referring to young people today. "You don't want to be known as the quiet generation."
Everett's teaching load includes the 100 level "Evolution, Form and Function of Organisms" and upper level botany and plant taxonomy courses.
With her students, she stresses a world view and perspective, giving them plenty of food for thought, to go along with the flora and fauna facts.
"We (Americans) live in a little isolated bubble where we spend $4 a day on Starbucks," Everett says. "Well that $4 could feed a family for a week in a lot of places. People in Haiti are eating mud and they (our students) don't know that and they should know that! Everybody should know that. I think it would influence the decisions that we make."
Everett received a bachelor's degree in forest resources management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, then a master's at the University of Virginia in environmental sciences with an emphasis in ecology. She went on to earn her doctorate in forest ecology and botany at North Carolina State University.
Everett has been teaching at the College of Charleston since 1994. "I really like the small class sizes and beautiful landscape of the campus," Everett says.
Her students are grateful to have her as a teacher. "She's very enthusiastic and it makes it so easy to pay attention to her. Her excitement gets us excited about the topic too," explains one of her students after a biology lecture.
But Everett does not limit her passion to inside the classroom. Her latest venture was to relocate hundreds of plants, including Southern sugar maples, that inhabited land slated to be cleared for the new Boeing facility near the Charleston International Airport.
Everett knew the rare sugar maples were in that area before there was talk about Boeing's arrival. With the help of The Post and Courier, she was able to get in touch with Boeing officials to get permission to "rescue" the maples and other plants that would have been bulldozed. Once permission was granted, Everett and her team, including many of her students identified then successfully dug up and relocated hundreds of unique plant species. "That plant community is so special!" Everett says.
Although we may not all be professional biologists or experts in science, there are little things that we can all do to better our environment and help wildlife, according to Everett.
"It only takes one paper towel," Everett says, noting, to illustrate her point, how many people will wastefully use several restroom paper towels when just one is normally sufficient. "We are all sharing the world we live in and we should all be aware of how our actions may be impacting the lives of others, including our wildlife and plant communities."
If you are interested in helping and working with Dr. Jean Everett on her rare plant studies, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.