Naturalist Rudy Mancke. Image from SCETV.
Rudy Mancke grew up in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and spent his childhood roaming the woods and meadows of the Piedmont, observing the natural world, identifying flora and fauna, and asking himself questions about what he saw. When he was not exploring the outdoors, he was in the library seeking answers to these questions while forming new ones. Rudy’s education at Wofford College and graduate study at the University of South Carolina broadened his interest in natural history, an enthusiasm that he tried to give to his students at Spartanburg High School and later to the public while a Curator of Natural History at the South Carolina State Museum. Rudy is happy to have founded the South Carolina Association of Naturalists, an organization that continues to thrive. Rudy’s work at the museum brought him into contact with producers at South Carolina Educational Television and led to the television series NatureScene (1978-2002) that is still being aired on public television. With hosts Beryl Dakers and later Jim Welch, Rudy led viewers on nature walks in many locations in the United States as well as to sites abroad.