"A naturalist is a person who studies the world of nature and marvels in it..."
2009 marks the 42nd anniversary of the launching of the remarkable professional career of Rudolph E. Mancke, which began, with the completion of his academic degree at Wofford College.
For years before that his interest and involvement in nature studies had blossomed insatiably. As career opportunity allowed, he not only continued to be a student of natural history but adamantly and effectively shared his passion and knowledge with all who would join in.
A crowning achievement was the inspiration and instigation of South Carolina Educational Television's NATURESCENE, a program of hands-on natural history exploration and appreciation. Today, citizens of the entire country and numerous foreign countries as well enjoy and continue to be inspired by the beauty and information offered by NATURESCENE. Rudy continues to work with every level of science education development, and willingly assists both professional and hobby nature learning. One might find him equally at ease with colleagues in the world's most pristine and exotic natural areas or in a neighborhood's woodlot or park where citizens are learning and organizing for preservation. He founded and continues to be active with the South Carolina Association of Naturalists, an organization where professionals and hobbyists are equally at home as students, teachers and protectors of the natural world.
Rudy shares with earlier naturalists like John Muir the philosophy that "...when you try to touch one thing by itself, you find it hitches to everything in the universe." Rudy's world and ours is ..."a beautiful arena where each thing is connected to the whole."
Life and Career Highlights
Rudolph E. Mancke was born in Spartanburg, South Carolina on October 21, 1945. By 1967, he had completed his education in the Spartanburg public schools and had earned a Bachelor of Science Degree at Wofford College. He worked at graduate studies in life sciences and natural history at the University of South Carolina in Columbia for two years before joining the U.S. Army. He served three years in Germany and returned to teach high school science in Spartanburg.
In 1975, Rudy joined the planning staff for the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia. While at the museum he collected natural history specimens, initiated exhibit planning and conducted science education and natural history programs for teachers and other groups. While in this position he founded the South Carolina Association of Naturalists (SCAN) . SCAN members have studied, collected and identified native flora and fauna in habitats throughout South Carolina and beyond. It was during this time that Rudy began assisting South Carolina Educational Television with the production of NATURESCENE.
In 1985, he joined the staff of SCETV as the director of science and nature programming. In this capacity he has continued the development and broadening of the NATURESCENE program to a highly respected national and international resource.
Rudy has been recognized with numerous citations: the National Wildlife Federation's Achievement Award, the Environmental Education Association Award, the Phi Delta Kappa Friend of Education Award, the Governor's Award for Excellence in Science, the South Carolina Environmental Awareness Award, the Order of the Palmetto, the Margaret Douglas Award of the Garden Club of America and the South Carolina Science Council's Doris Helms Award for Exemplary Contributions to the Development of Educational Opportunities.
In 2002 Mr. Mancke left SCETV to become a Lecturer of Natural History at the USC School of the Environment.
Prof. Mancke retired at the end of 2008, but USC students are very fortunate that he will still be linked with the School of Environment as Adjunct faculty and teaching his ENVR J200 - Natural History of South Carolina course.
From the Induction into the South Carolina Hall of Science and Technology March 21, 1997 and the USC Course Catalog Online: http://www.environ.sc.edu/natural_history.html