Campus News

Springfield Legacy gift of land supports two UGA programs

The 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.

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 million 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 the forestry and natural resources school 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—30 miles south of Savannah—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.

“This is truly a legacy created by Laura Devendorf and her daughter, Meredith, for the people of Georgia,” said Michael Clutter, dean of the forestry and natural resources school. “It will have historic implications on conservation management that we have yet to imagine.”

“Georgia Sea Grant is so excited to be included as a supported organization of the Springfield Legacy Foundation,” said Chuck Hopkinson, director at Georgia Sea Grant.  “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.”