Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Georgia Sea Grant Program are two of the four organizations supported by the Springfield Legacy Foundation established in 2007 by Laura Devendorf of Midway, Ga.
To protect land Devendorf owned in Liberty County along the Newport River, she donated the land to the Springfield Legacy Foundation. Devendorf estimates the value of the property to be between $50 and $100 million.
The mission of the Springfield Legacy Foundation is to use foundation assets to support the work of certain environmental, historic, and educational institutions, including UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources and the Georgia Sea Grant College Program. The foundation’s goal is to promote scientific and humanities research projects on the 2,200-acre tract known as Melon Bluff Nature and Heritage Reserve.
Melon Bluff is located in Liberty County-thirty miles south of Savannah, Ga.-and borders the North Newport River. The bluff has heritage live oaks, salt marshes, hardwood swamps, fresh water lakes, former rice fields, meadows and pine uplands. It also includes the Melon Bluff Nature Center (an outdoor classroom) and the Sam Ripley Farm (an African-American homestead) now on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Warnell School and the Georgia Sea Grant College Program were chosen as supported organizations because of their research, education and outreach activities in sustainable conservation of natural resources along Georgia’s coast.
Michael Clutter, dean of the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources said, “This is truly a legacy created by Laura Devendorf and her daughter, Meredith, for the people of Georgia. It will have historic implications on conservation management that we have yet to imagine.”
Chuck Hopkinson, director of the Sea Grant program said, “Georgia Sea Grant is so excited to be included as a supported organization of the Springfield Legacy Foundation. The research and outreach that will be done and the benefits to the Georgia coast are inestimable and we look forward to working with the foundation.”