Every Friday we will  feature one of our easement landowners. These stories are updates on profiles written by Frank McIntosh.  

Not every land trust has donors from Moscow, but Georgia-Alabama Land Trust affiliate, Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust, achieved that distinction in 2008. It’s just not the land of Vladimir Putin; this Moscow is in Idaho, where donor Dr. Maynard Fosberg is a Professor Emeritus of Soil Science at the University of Idaho.

Growing up in California, Dr. Fosberg probably didn’t envision himself marrying a Georgia Peach. However, while stationed in Thomasville, GA. in World War II, he met Margaret Williams and found himself married into the Peach State.

Maynard Fosberg

Maynard Fosberg

Margaret (who Maynard says is more Steel Magnolia than Georgia Peach) grew up on a Heard County farm that her parents, Newt and May Williams, purchased in 1910. The home she and her siblings were raised in and from which they worked the land in cotton and other cultivation alongside sharecroppers, still stands and is occupied by one of Margaret’s nieces. “Four generations of my family were raised here in Heard County, dating back to the early 1800s,” Margaret says. “All are buried at the Mt. Zion Church cemetery in Glenn, GA. This land is very important to the family legacy.”

When Dr. Fosberg discusses the land that comprises the old farm and the 121-acre conservation easement, the soil scientist comes forward and you get a sense of how difficult cultivating the farm must have been. “They’re typical sub-tropic soils—deeply weathered ultisols. They’re iron rich, which gives them their deep red color. It’s classic red clay. It’s highly erosive and the topsoil is gone. At this point we’re working the subsoil.”

The land now lends itself more to timber, and most of the property is in pine. Fosberg, who did graduate work in forestry at the University of Wisconsin, manages his own stands and feels very strongly about the right way to manage timber. In addition to timberlands, the property also has a Special Natural area along the property’s southern boundary that features streams and a whitewater creek.

Fosberg says he and six siblings (among them renowned botanist, F. Raymond Fosberg) “were taught as children by our mother about preserving the environment and are just naturally oriented toward the environment and conservation” and “always wanted to learn the names of everything.”

He adds, “Having property that preserves unique habitat and land is a special responsibility. I believe in preserving as much open land as possible—keeping some of it out of houses. What’s going to happen in a hundred years or a thousand? We need to protect land now. What happens when I’m gone? Our daughter, Stephanie, and son, Mark, want it to stay the same but what about after them?”

Dr. Fosberg reports that his daughter said the easement “is the best thing that ever happened,” so at least for another generation the Williams family legacy will have the guiding hand of the family, in addition to the protection of the conservation easement.

Dr. Fosberg’s dedication to land protection is not limited to Georgia. He also donated an easement on 25 acres in Moscow, Idaho. “It’s a little farm that preserves space for birds and other critters,” he says.


The Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust (CVLT) has achieved land trust accreditation fLTAC_seal_greenrom the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.  CVLT is now one of only 254 land trusts from across the country that are currently accredited. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.

“The Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust’s accredited status demonstrates our commitment to permanent land conservation that benefits the entire Chattahoochee Valley community,” says CVLT Board Member John Turner. “We will be celebrating our 14th anniversary this year and this honor is the culmination of all those years of hard work and dedication.”

The Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust’s purpose is to preserve and protect land for present and future generations in the Chattahoochee River basin. Founded in 1999, CVLT now conserves over 25,000 acres in conservation easements, including four miles along the new white water park area in downtown Columbus. Staff and Board members team with land owners and the community to be a perpetual steward of local resources. CVLT is also an affiliate of Georgia Land Trust, Alabama Land Trust and the Chattowah Open Land Trust. Together, the four entities protect over 250,000 acres across three states.

Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. “Through accreditation land trusts conduct important planning and make their operations more efficient and strategic,” said Tammera Van Ryn. Executive Director of LTA’s Accreditation Commission. “Accredited organizations have engaged and trained citizen conservation leaders and improved systems for ensuring that their conservation work is permanent.”

Since its beginnings in July 1999, the Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust has made steady gains in organizational strength and in moving toward its mission of conserving land in beautiful southwest Georgia. Each year has seen growing interest by landowners in protecting their properties. Each new protected property ties into a broad effort to keep the Chattahoochee Valley area a tranquil, beautiful, and healthy environment for present and future generations. From the first easement, an urban site in north Columbus, to the present, CVLT has steadily expanded the breadth and effectiveness of its conservation efforts.

“A big thank you to the staff, board members, friends, and supporters for all of their hard work in making this accreditation possible,” said board member John Turner.

The Land Trust Alliance, of which Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust is a member, is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love by strengthening conservation
throughout America.

CVLT LOGOGeorgia Land Trust affiliate Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust is seeking a new program director.  The CVLT Program Director oversees the land protection program for the sixteen county region around Columbus, Georgia, including three counties in Eastern Alabama. Key responsibilities include: implementing urban conservation initiatives; working with landowners to protect land through conservation easements; and implementing CVLT’s sub-award agreement for the Army Compatible Use Buffering Program at Ft. Benning.

The director also cultivates landowner relationships in furtherance of the CVLT mission and ACUB Program. These relationships are crucial and it is desired that the applicant have ties to the Columbus area and prior dealings or contacts with community landowners, professionals, officials, and other interested stakeholders. Additionally, a degree in or substantial experience related to natural resources and/or environmental science, law, or policy is desirable. Depending upon the selected applicant’s skill set, responsibilities may also include the preparation of baseline documentation reports and/or conservation easements.

If you are interested, please submit your letter of interest and résumé to Hal Robinson at hrobinson@galandtrust.org. Email inquiries only, please. We look forward to reviewing your materials. To view the complete job description, click here.

The Chattahoochee Valley Land Trust is partnering with the Spencerivermont picture 2 streamr Environmental Center to answer some burning questions about the local ecology around the Chattahoochee. Why are there so many fires around the river,and why do oyster shells line the roads outside Phenix City?  Beginning this month, CVLT and other local partners are bringing in dynamic speakers who will answer these questions and give life to the fascinating local ecology of the Chattahoochee River.  Two of the lectures include field trips.

The lectures are scheduled as follows and all times are Eastern:

Last Stand of the Chattahoochee Bass – Thursday, September 26 at 6:30 pm

From Shoreline to Fall Line: Geology of the Chattahoochee Valley – Thursday, November 14 at 6:30 pm

Fire in the Forest: Why use prescribed fire in the Valley – Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 6:30 pm

Fire in the Forest Field Trip – Saturday, February 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Journey Along the Creek Heritage Trail – Thursday, May 1 , 2014 at 6:30 pm

Rood Creek Indian Mounds Field Trip – Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

For more information call Jenn Collins at 706-649-2326 or LuAnn Craighton at 706-571-2500.


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