North Carolina Botanical Gardens (NCBG)
Before receiving his masters degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (UNC), historic house property manager Frank Daniel Simpson contributed charitable time in the community. As early as 1975, Frank Daniel Simpson’s charitable career began with his work as a volunteer at UNC’s North Carolina Botanical Gardens.
The North Carolina Botanical Gardens (NCBG) boasts more than 700 acres and an additional 210 acres of nature preserves. It is nationally recognized for its preservation programs and educational courses on subjects such as botanical studies, plant illustration, and agricultural therapy. Founded in 1903, it was originally a collection of educational shrubs and trees on the UNC central campus planted by botany professor William Chambers Coker. Approximately 20 years later, with the assistance from student Henry Roland Totten, Professor Coker began construction of a more complete garden on campus.
Under the auspices of UNC, the NCBG maintains a series of core values in its work that contribute to the school’s commitment to research, teaching, and public service. Since April 2015, its director has been Dr. Damon Waitt.
2nd South Carolina String Band
In addition to holding an interest in the history of the US Civil War, Frank D. Simpson enjoys old-time string music, particularly the 2nd South Carolina String Band. An ardent supporter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Frank Daniel Simpson’s interests are closely aligned with the band’s mission to present Civil War-era music in an authentic manner.
Formed in 1989 by five Civil War reenactors of the 2nd South Carolina Volunteer Infantry, the 2nd South Carolina String Band records music in 19th-century style on period instruments. The band has released several studio albums, including In High Cotton.
Released in 2002, In High Cotton was the third studio album released by the group. It includes popular music from the years prior and up to the Civil War. The album also includes music that was adapted by soldiers in an attempt to cope with the experiences of the war through humor and parody. Additionally, music created by Dan Emmet and Stephen Foster, two historic American musicians, is included in In High Cotton. Emmet was a pioneer of early minstrel performances, and Foster is often referred to as “America’s first composer.”
JC Raulston Arboretum
Frank D. Simpson, formerly an estate gardener for a variety of clients, is a member of the JC Raulston Arboretum at North Carolina State University. As a member, Frank Daniel Simpson supports the wide range of programs that the gardens offer to the public, especially to the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.
The teaching programs at the gardens are designed to help Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts grow into leaders who are comfortable with the outdoors. These programs include activities that fulfill the badge requirements for garden subjects. There are learning activities, lessons, and hands-on experiences for all of the children who attend. Currently, the arboretum hosts badge programs for Girl Scout Tree, Girl Scout Flower, and Girl Scout Gardener, but the organizers are always adding new programs as requested.
These Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts programs have earned the arboretum awards and recognition. Most recently, the Best Colleges Online included the JC Raulston Arboretum in its listing of university public gardens because it is one of the top teaching gardens in the Southeast.