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Black-Eyed Susans

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Black-eyed susans are known as "pioneer plants," and are an important component in preventing erosion in critical areas like road cuts and hillsides.

But what about the name black-eyed susan? Was there ever a Susan? Who was she? Were her eyes black? Turns out, our state flower’s name has a storied history.

W. Brooks Paternotte took the helm of Irvine Nature Center as executive director in July 2013 and immediately began building on the strong 35-year foundation. Brooks is a Baltimore native who was a teacher, coach, advisor, dean and Head of the Middle School during his 13 years at Boys’ Latin School in Baltimore. He is also an instructor and ambassador of the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and is a Leave No Trace Master, as well as an avid outdoorsman and a features writer for FlyLife Magazine.
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