The Liberty County Convention & Visitors Bureau announced a logo change this week, from Sal the salamander to a Mason jar with tea.
The logo was initially unveiled in fall 2013 at a Progress Through People Luncheon hosted by the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the CVB. The logo reflects the history of tea growth in Liberty County, and the tag line, “The Right Blend,” is symbolic of the blended culture inherent to Liberty County.
The previous logo was a frosted flatwoods salamander the CVB staff affectionately called “Sal.” The salamander was listed as “threatened” on the endangered species list in 1999. This species of salamander is indigenous to Liberty County and was chosen in part to bring awareness to endangered species and reflect the vibrant wildlife surrounding the coastal county.
The CVB contacted Bruce Green, the director of tourism product development for the Georgia Department of Economic Development, to work on designing a new logo and rebranding Liberty County as a tourist destination. Green researched and discovered that in the 1800s, John Jackson, a venture capitalist from Scotland, secured a $30,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a tea crop in Liberty County. Experts had previously tasted tea grown by William Jones on his plantation in Riceboro and determined the tea to be equal to the best raised in India or China.
The political tides turned, and the project — along with Jackson — ended up going to Summerville, South Carolina. He cultivated the tea crop in South Carolina for about a year before he was convinced that the soil was not right for tea plants. After the crop failed in South Carolina, Jackson moved back to Liberty County and tried again to secure financial backing to grow tea. He was unsuccessful, but remained a resident of Liberty County for the rest of his life. Remains of the tea fields with hard plants could be found as late as 1900. Local residents would pick the leaves when they were tender, dry them in the sun and brew their own special blend of Liberty County tea.
“The new logo has a story to tell, and we want to share that story with our visitors and residents,” said CVB Program Manager Amanda Scott. “Sweet tea is the quintessential Southern hospitality drink, and we’re proud to show that we are a hospitable county with a rich, blended history and culture.”
The CVB board members voted to retire Sal and change to the tea logo at a board meeting in May.
“While Sal was certainly representative of Liberty County, we really feel that our new look is a better reflection of our entire community, and it will hopefully entice visitors and locals alike to get out and explore our heritage,” said CVB CEO Leah Poole.
For more information, contact the CVB at 912-368-3580 or go to www.libertycounty.org. You can also find the CVB on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “Liberty CVB.”