Coker College to Host Earth Day Festival at Kalmia Gardens

For more information, contact Barb Steadman - 843.857.4199

HARTSVILLE, S.C. – March 27, 2012 – Coker College will host an Earth Day festival from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 14 at Kalmia Gardens.

Activities, which are free and open to the public, include biological and geological tours, canoeing, falconry, music, games and environmental research displays. The Coker Singers, the premiere choral ensemble of the College, will perform from 1 to 1:30 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.

Established in 1935 and open to the public, Kalmia Gardens includes a historic house and a 35-acre private botanical garden. The Thomas E. Hart House, built in 1820 with timber cut from the property, and surrounding gardens are on the National Register of Historic Places. The site boasts a wide array of rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas, wisteria, tea-olives, dogwood and the Gardens’ namesake — Kalmia latifolia, the Mountain Laurel. It also features a daylily display garden that has been recognized by the American Hemerocallis Society. Kalmia Gardens is part of the scenic South Carolina Cotton Trail and is the gateway to the 796-acre Segars-McKinnon Heritage Preserve.

When the Coker family first acquired the land, May Coker began transforming what was then a desolate area into a place of tranquility and beauty, creating many trails that lead down to Black Creek. She gave Kalmia Gardens to Coker College in 1965 as a memorial to her late husband. In 2002, her daughter established the Joslin Education Center at the Gardens.

From the Hart House and formal gardens there is a 60-foot drop in elevation to the Black Creek floodplain where trails and boardwalks guide you through laurel thickets, pine-oak-holly uplands and a beech bluff. The unusual terrain is responsible for creating Kalmia’s unique and diverse plant and animal life. The contrast between the formal house and gardens and the cypress swamp below makes for a distinctly enjoyable experience.

For more than 40 years, Earth Day, which is celebrated on April 22, has helped draw attention and resources to critical issues of environmental sustainability.  Annually, more than 1 billion people in 190 countries participate in Earth Day activities, making it the largest secular civic event in the world.

The focus of Earth Day 2012, Mobilize the Earth, is to say one thing, “the earth won’t wait.”  Efforts begun in last year’s advocacy campaign to create A Billion Acts of Green continue. Organizers are asking individuals to pledge online to take a single step toward a more sustainable future in hopes of amassing 1 billion registered actions in advance of the 2012 U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, which takes place this June in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Kalmia Gardens of Coker College is located at 1624 West Carolina Avenue in Hartsville. For more information about Coker’s Earth Day festival, call 843-383-8145 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

For more information about A Billion Acts of Green, visit


PHOTO:  Kalmia Gardens of Coker College




Coker College readies undergraduates for personal and professional success through a distinctive four-year program that emphasizes a practical application of the liberal arts as well as hands-on and discussion-based learning within and beyond the classroom. Coker is ranked among the “Best Colleges” in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review. Located in Hartsville, S.C., Coker is within two hours of the cultural, financial and recreational resources of Charlotte, Columbia, Charleston and Myrtle Beach.


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Office of Admissions (DAY)
Phone: 843.383.8050
Phone (Toll Free): 1.800.950.1908
Fax: 843.383.8056

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Elaine Hodges |
Phone: 843.383.8030

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Phone: 843.383.8055
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Fax: 843.383.8159

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300 East College Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550