Coming June 4th, Terrapin Creek will be invaded by Pirate Ducks! The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust and our Conservation Education Institute will host a Third Annual Duck Derby and Wild Child education event along Terrapin Creek. No real ducks are used in this race, only the rubber kind.

The Georgia-Alabama Land Trust’s new Conservation Education InIMG_4521stitute (CEI) will be presenting diverse learning stations for kids from pre-k to grey. There will be a hay ride, bug hunt, a bird migration game, a 4-H River Kids safety course, and live animals, including reptiles and birds of prey.

Children will complete a Passport to Conservation as they engage in fun activities. Toy prizes will be awarded for passport participation. Partners include Alabama State Parks, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, and the Anniston Museum of Natural History.

The event begins at 10am at the Terrapin Outdoor Center and Redneck Yacht Club on County Road 175 just above Piedmont, AL off of Alabama Highway 9. Live music begins at noon, plus we will serve FREE hot dogs until they are gone!

For more information call 256-447-1006 or adopt your duck HERE
and get your Pirates of the Terrapin t-shirt.  You can also check out our website at www.galandtrust.org for the latest information.

Advertisements

Want to play in the woods and get paid to do it? This summer the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust will have a paid summer intern program funded by Legacy Partners in Environmental Education.  The program is part of the Darryl Gates Memorial Summer College Internship Program.GAALLandTrustConservationInstitute2Color

Interns will work full-time for a minimum of eight weeks and must be rising Juniors or Seniors in good academic standing.  Applicants must be enrolled full-time in a relevant undergraduate degree program at a four-year college or university in the state of Alabama. The program is looking for students who are enrolled in a variety of environmentally-related fields, such as environmental education or engineering; environmental studies; teaching degrees in science, biology, or related field; environmental law; or other related career paths.  Applicants must have a minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale as of Fall quarter/semester 2015, and are planning to be enrolled full-time through the fall of 2016.

Our intern will be working with our new Conservation Education Institute and will assit with the development, implementation, and assessment of immersion-based programs, outdoor adventure workshops, and other fun events that connect people to nature. The intern will also have opportunities to work in land protection, easement monitoring, land management practices and conservation field surveys.

For more information or an application click HERE.

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.

 

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

Six generations of Stanleys have worked land in Georgia’s Toombs and Tattnall counties, and another generation is learning to love the land and how to work it.

The Stanley family has been living and farming in the Toombs County area longer than there has been a Toombs County and almost as long as Tattnall has been a county. The history of the Stanleys is their work on the land, including the 1,635-acre tract in Tattnall the family preserved in 2009 with a conservation easement held by the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust.

SIx generations: L-R, Bryan, Terry, Vince and R.T. Stanley

Six generations: L-R, Bryan, Terry, Vince and R.T. Stanley

“I started out sharecropping with my great uncle,” R.T. Stanley says. It was sharecropping that helped strengthen his determination to own land. “As I was growing up, I always wanted to buy land and own it. It’s in my blood. It’s always better to own it; you never know what will happen when you lease it.” The land in the conservation easement features around two miles of frontage on the Ohoopee River.

“The downturn in the economy was a two-edged sword. It hurt some people, but it helped make this tract available,” says R.T., whose sons Vince, Brian and Tracy joined him in donating the easement. “Buying this tract is the biggest transaction in my life; it’s a big step—a big chance to take.”

All the Stanleys agree that it was a chance worth taking. “It’s just so big and diverse,” Vince says. “There are a couple of hundred acres of longleaf and wiregrass, and we planted another 150 acres of longleaf. There’s a variety of hunting and fishing, and the land is good.”

Good indeed: 43 percent of the property is rated either prime soil or soil of statewide importance. Almost 300 acres are highly desirable for production of sweet Vidalia onions. In addition to growing the onions, the Stanleys now operate Vidalia Valley Farms, which produces Vidalia Valley Onion® products, including salad dressings, barbecue sauce and even a Vidalia Onion Slow Burn Peach Hot Sauce®.

When asked who created the recipes for the sauces, Vince reports that he liked combining his entrepreneurial and culinary abilities. Who created the recipes? Vince says simply, “I did.” His inspiration? “Well, I do like to make money. And they taste real good, too.”

Bottomland along the Ohoopee

Bottomland along the Ohoopee

The Stanleys’ conservation easement with the Georgia-Alabama Land Trust will ensure that the family will always have a place, not only to continue working the land, but also to gather the family in some of their favorite pursuits. Much of the property is used for hunting and abounds with deer, dove, and turkey. It also features man-made ponds that support healthy populations of bass and white perch.

Vince says, “Working with the Land Trust, we feel like we covered everything. We kept changing the easement around a good bit and got it where it was a win-win. We can continue using the land, mixing in food plots, timber and crops on a lot of the property, but there are over 140 acres of 100-year old bottomlands that will never be touched.”

And even more important to the sixth generation of Stanleys is what the conservation easement means to the seventh generation. “Now, we know our kids will grow up on this land. They love to go out on it with us.”

Vidalia Valley Farms

Stanley Farms

 

 

 

 

Every Friday we will feature a different landowner who took the steps to preserve their property. We begin with Bob Harbin from a story written by Frank McIntosh.

The donor of conservation easements totaling more than 1,500 acres, Dr. Bob Harbin’s first easement, was put in place in 2001 and is in the Big Texas Valley in Floyd County, Georgia.

The easement is part of protected lands near Berry College. Beyond the valley lands, this easement also protects nearly a mile of the ridge top of Lavender Mountain.

The second of Harbin’s Floyd County easements protects nearly a mile of Coosa River bank shortly after it is formed at the confluence of the Etowah and Oostanaula and begins its 420-mile journey to Mobile Bay.

The property has 240 acres in cultivation with a portion dedicated to the Quail Conservation Reserve Program. Management practices on the land include planting warm weather grasses, doing controlled fire burns and disking the earth for the game

Bob Harbin; a field with wildflowers on his easement property

Bob Harbin; a field with wildflowers on his easement property

birds.

Bob says, “My hobby is habitat management—for quail, turkey, deer, and all wildlife. Everything you do for quail is good for everything else. We have a wildlife biologist who advises us on how to manage the habitat, a never ending job.”

Another Harbin easement is in Cherokee County, Alabama and has a mile of frontage on the east fork of the Little River on top of Lookout Mountain. “It’s an absolutely beautiful place, with unbelievable slopes to get down to river. It took eons for that river to cut its way down through that mountain,” Harbin noted.

Harbin’s devotion to the land comes in part from his father. “My father had to raise five kids. He was an ophthalmologist, like me, and he also loved land. When he bought the property in mid-60s, a banker friend said, ‘Well, if you’re determined to buy land you should get a Federal Farm Loan.’ He did that and got a long-term 3 percent loan. The farm leases on the property paid the note. Of course, that program doesn’t exist any more, but I still love land and like to own it.”

IMG_4521Breaking News! The Ducks are coming on May 10th! The Alabama Land Trust is sponsoring a Duck Derby to raise awareness and funds. By adopting a duck, participants will help us focus on the importance of clean drinking water, after all we are in the same bath tub.  Adopters will also raise funds for interactive signs along Terrapin Creek. The Terrapin is part of the Coosa River basin and helps provide clean drinking water, recreational fishing and canoeing for Central and Northeast Alabama.

The owner of the fastest duck will win a kayak. Adoptions begin at 10 am. Come join us for FREE hot dogs and listen to The Gypsy Begonias. That’s Saturday May 10th at the Terrapin Outdoor Center at 4114 County Road 175 in Cherokee County near Piedmont, AL. Come and help us give a quack about the Creek!

For more information, call 256-447-1006 or email tdaulton@allandtrust.org. Check for updates on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/AlabamaGeorgiaLandTrust and on twitter @ALTGLTlandtrust.

Eastern Fence Lizard

Eastern Fence Lizard

BIO BLITZ is coming to the Choccolocco Creek Watershed April 30! A Bio Blitz is a 24 hour event where scientists and citizens come together to identify all the living species within a set boundary as a means to gather information on the biodiversity of a certain area. Biodiversity is a crucial element to a healthy habitat for all of us.

A biodiverse community can better withstand environmental changes and impacts, can support greater numbers of predator and prey species, and support a better fishing and gaming community! By the end of the Blitz we will have created a “snapshot” of the speices at the Munford School campus.

We need volunteers to help us identify, catch and measure critters of every shape and form. To help call Christy Claes at 256-454-6347 or email her at cclaes@allandtrust.org.