The Berry College Longleaf Pine Project is the result of studies and surveys of the Lavender Mountain longleaf stands, which showed an urgent need for restoration of the ecosystem. The program began with studies conducted by a Plant/Forest Ecology course taught by Dr. Martin Cipollini in the spring of 1999, based on groundwork done by former Berry student Roger Birkhead some years earlier. This led to a follow-up project in the 2001 Plant Ecology course. Following this, Dr. Cipollini and Ms. Karen Vaughn drafted a formal management plan proposal during the summer of 2001, which was completed in 2002 and accepted by the administration.
The plan actively involves classroom students, student workers, and volunteers in research and restoration efforts. It also involves the work of land resources management and professional burn teams for the prescribed burns that the longleaf ecosystem requires.
The project goals follow Berry College's tri-fold mission of educating the head, the heart and the hands. By providing learning and research experience, the project educates the "head." The call to help in the ethical need of conservation serves to educate the "heart." And as much of the work of the project is done on a voluntary basis and involves hands-on research and management tasks, the project serves to educate the "hands".
The Berry College Longleaf Project is still in its infancy, and is fully dependent on the dedicated work of its volunteers. For this reason, the management plan and the project are dedicated to all those who have helped in even the smallest way, and to their shared vision of the restoration of the longleaf ecosystem.