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Plantation is hoping for big things
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Editor, The Leconte-Woodmanston Foundation, Inc. is a private, non-profit organization in Liberty County charged with the preservation of the Woodmanston plantation, home to the famed LeConte family of American scientists, explorers and educators.
This 64-acre tract of the original 3,300-acre rice plantation was put on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Woodmanston was the boyhood home of John Leconte, first president of the University of California, and Joseph LeConte, co-founder of the Sierra Club. Their father, Louis, created and maintained a botanical garden on the plantation that enjoyed recognition in this country and in Europe in the early 1800s.
We have undertaken an ambitious plan to secure the future of this site for all time.
• We will be breaking ground on 'The African-American Tribute" on Thursday, July 24, at 10 a.m. and you are invited to attend. In the process of creating this 50,000 square foot brick memorial walkway, we will be expanding our botanical gardens, in collaboration with the Southeastern Camellia Society, Wild Garden Project and others.
• We will also be expanding our nature trails over the historic dikes originally built for rice cultivation. We will work to alleviate the impact of these structures on the blackwater swamp ecosystem, by breaching the dikes and installing bridges in strategic locations. An anticipated partnership with SOS Wildlife Resources will introduce a "raptor trail" to our upland trails.
• The LeContes had constructed a "Praise House" for the slaves at Woodmanston. The new "Praise House," a woodlands chapel/amphitheater will provide a facility for weddings, a venue for arts communities along the coast, and a facility for other public events.
• The LeConte Regional Science Center, in the honor of 200 years of LeConte scientific legacy in America, will bridge the interests of generations of LeContes with those fields of science impacting us today. This will provide a tremendous regional educational resource. The facility is planned on adjacent clear-cut timberland so as to not impact what we have been working to preserve for the past 35 years.
Phase one of these plans, scheduled for completion in the next 12 months:
• Completion of the grading and brick paving of the recreated 1/2-acre historic garden of Louis LeConte as the first part of "The Walk" memorial;
• Implementation of a "Super Saturday" monthly education program for all ages;
• Enclosure of our 2,400 square foot education "pole barn" pavilion, with improved parking and separate maintenance area;
• Construction of a picnic and parking area, our part of the Coastal Georgia Greenway Trail head Project; and,
• Expansion of our nature trails and development of the raptor trail.
In addition to the partnerships we are fostering with "like-minded" organizations, we also hope to encourage partnerships with area business professionals in order to reach our goals this coming year. If you would like to be involved in the LeConte-Woodmanston project, either personally or on behalf of your business, we would like to hear from you. Our categories of membership are; Individual - $25, Family - $35, Friend - $50, Supporter - $100, Sustainer - $250, Sponsor - $500, Benefactor - $1,000, Patron - $2,500+.
Donations at the "Patron" level of time, goods or funds will be acknowledged on our Web site. You may contribute to any of the above projects or to our general operational expenses. We feel strongly about encouraging local support for this first phase of projects at LeConte-Woodmanston. Considering the monumental tasks ahead, and the outside support necessary in order to see them to completion, it will be good to acknowledge that the foundation was laid by local folks who share our vision for the future.
You are encouraged to visit our new Web site at to learn more about the site and what you can do to help.

Mary Beth Evans
Executive vice president
LeCounte-Woodmanston Foundation
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