Piedmont College will formally designate a portion of the Lillian E. Smith Center near Clayton, Georgia, as a wildlife sanctuary, and visitors can get a sneak peek with a nature walk and a reception on Saturday, April 23.
The LES Center is a former camp and home of the late Clayton author Lillian E. Smith. The 150-acre site is operated by the college as an artist retreat and outdoor classrooms. Director Craig Amason said the college is designating about 30 acres as a formal wildlife sanctuary. “The area will be managed specifically as a wildlife habitat, which means that invasive plants will be controlled, with limited use of chemical pesticides and herbicides, in order to maintain and preserve current thriving ecosystems,” Amason said.
The festivities will begin at 8:15 a.m., April 23, with a guided bird and plant nature walk led by Jack Johnston, a local native plant specialist and avid birder. The cost per person for the two-hour excursion through the Center’s forest trails is $5. There will be a light reception in the Common Room at 11 a.m., with an official opening of the sanctuary.
The public is invited, but space is limited for the guided nature walk. If you are interested in taking the nature walk, call Amason at 706-894-4204 to reserve your place. After April 23, the trail will be open to visitors by appointment by calling the same number.
Piedmont biology professor Dr. Tim Menzel and Johnston have led the effort to create nature trails through this portion of the property, leading to some of the more interesting land features available for exploration,” Amason said.
“Bird populations are severely limited by available habitat during nesting and migration, and the woods at the LES Center have the necessary ingredients to support multiple species during both seasons,” Dr. Menzel said. “Protecting and managing this forest for wildlife is a valuable contribution that we can make to protecting biodiversity and natural beauty in our area.”
About Piedmont College
One of the most dynamic small colleges in the Southeast, Piedmont is an independent liberal arts college of more than 2,260 students. The college’s four schools—Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Nursing & Health Sciences—develop tomorrow’s leaders by engaging students in the classroom, in their community, and around the world. Founded in 1897, Piedmont offers bachelor’s, master’s, specialist, and doctoral degree programs at its Demorest residential campus in the foothills of the northeast Georgia mountains and at its Athens campus in the heart of Georgia’s Classic City.