The University System of Georgia Board of Regents voted today to accept a gift of 15.45 acres of the Wormsloe property to the University of Georgia.
The trustees of the Wormsloe Foundation are donating the property, 10 miles southeast of Savannah, for use by the UGA College of Environment and Design and other UGA colleges and units.
The property "will be used for interdisciplinary research by faculty and graduate students working in ecology, environmental history and archeology. UGA will operate the property as a historical and ecological nature preserve for scientific, historical, educational and aesthetic purposes in keeping with the natural and historic character of the property," a spokesman says.
The donation is pending approval of an access easement by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The property will be known as the University of Georgia Center for Research and Education at Wormsloe. The Wormsloe parcel contains both highland and marsh land and includes a historic former slave cabin constructed in the 1740s.
With the addition of the property, UGA plans to design and construct a $300,000 educational housing facility on the property for faculty and graduate students within the next 30 months.
“This wonderful gift will provide many tangible benefits for our college because the site is a living environmental laboratory and a storehouse of past and present designs on the land,” said Daniel Nadenicek, dean of the College of Environment and Design. “The inherent beauty of this small campus will inspire innovation and promote new research and teaching partnerships.”
Wormsloe Plantation dates back to the 1730s, and before then was used by Native Americans. It has served as a military stronghold, plantation, country residence, farm and tourist attraction. The historic site consists of just over 1,000 acres, much of which the Barrow family deeded to the state of Georgia in 1973 for preservation. Wormsloe Historic Site is operated as a state park with costumed tour guides, a nature trail, a theater, museum and a Colonial life area. The parcel deeded to UGA is adjacent to land remaining in the Barrow family.
UGA’s Cultural Landscape Laboratory in the College of Environment and Design began an in-depth study of the cultural landscape at Wormsloe Plantation in 2010. Currently, UGA-CED faculty and graduate students are conducting a comprehensive inventory of cultural landscape features at Wormsloe. Working with the UGA department of geography’s Center for Geospatial Research, researchers are building the inventory as a computer-based Geographic Information System. The lab’s Wormsloe project also includes collecting oral histories from members of the greater Wormsloe community. The lab is working with other UGA academic units, including the history department and the Odum School of Ecology.
“The Wormsloe Foundation has a long history of support for the University of Georgia,” said Sarah Ross, president of the Wormsloe Foundation and Wormsloe Institute for Environmental History. “We are pleased that this renowned property will advance the university’s long-term research and education goals by providing a historic landscape for faculty and graduate students to live and work.”