Memory of Nancy Swygert

Spittlebug on pine tree

Longtime guide Nancy Swygert passed away on December 28, 2016. She was 79. But to many schoolchildren and fellow nature guides at Ivy Creek she was a special window into the natural world.

Among the specific memories are:

I recall Nancy in my early guiding days at Ivy Creek when I worked with her to make the moss field guide and the moss paintings that hang in the Education Building. Most notably, she and I were enamored with the lovely apple moss (Bartramia pomiformis) and she really wanted to include it in the Ivy Creek guide even though it had not been found at Ivy Creek. She hinted that she had moved a small specimen from near her home to Ivy Creek just so I could paint and include this exquisite specimen in the guide.

I remember Nancy in the 1980s when I first started guiding at Ivy Creek. She was a brash, no-nonsense, delightful and wondrous person. I'll never forget watching her introduce children to spittle bugs.

Nancy provided material to Bess Murray for a number of her natural history notes.  There are several on Nancy's and her husband's trips to Florida.

With her spontaneous and enthusiastic love of nature, surprises, and eccentricities, Nancy taught me that each of us has much to share in each of those realms, enjoying life's discoveries as we witness them. She always brought a smile to my heart!

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