ABAC Foundation Purchases 1,000 Acres for ABAC Teaching Forest

Staff Report From Tifton CEO

Thursday, April 19th, 2018

For Dr. David Bridges, timing is everything.

Bridges, president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, announced at the conclusion of the recent 61st annual Southern Forestry Conclave that the ABAC Foundation has purchased 1,000 acres of timber land to create the first ever ABAC Teaching Forest.

“In the early 2000s, the ABAC Foundation took it upon itself the unbelievable burden of building $50 million worth of housing that you see on campus today,” Bridges said to the crowd of ABAC students as well as students from universities across the southern part of the United States.

“Since that time, the Foundation has contributed millions in scholarships, helped to build the laboratory sciences building, helped to build the Thrash Wellness Center, and assisted with the funding for the Foundation Legacy Pool.  Now the Foundation Board of Directors has purchased this timber tract about 10 miles from campus for a much-needed forest for our School of Agriculture and Natural Resources.”

Bridges, the longest serving active president in the University System of Georgia, pointed out that agriculture continues to be the leading industry in Georgia.  He believes the new forest will allow the ABAC School of Agriculture and Forest Resources to continue its growth pattern.

“ABAC has made tremendous commitments to our agriculture and natural resources programs in recent years,” Bridges said.  “We will continue to do so because agriculture and forestry are Georgia’s leading industries.  Our commitment is for ABAC to be the leading provider of human capital to work, lead, and grow these industries.”

Paul Williams, ABAC Vice President of External Affairs and an ABAC Foundation Trustee, added, “per its bylaws, the objective of the Foundation is simple but broad- ‘to advance the cause of education by establishing and implementing programs and activities for the promotion and assistance of’ ABAC.’

“The acquisition of this teaching forest will greatly enhance Forestry and Wildlife education at ABAC, which will subsequently benefit southwest Georgia, the State of Georgia, and the entire southeastern United States.”

Chuck Williams, an ABAC alumnus and the Georgia Forestry Commission Director, assisted in the awards presentation for the Conclave, which featured students from 13 institutions across the country.  ABAC hosted the event for the first time ever.

Stephen F. Austin University from Nacogdoches, Texas, won the overall competition and the physical events category.  The University of Florida won the technical events category.  Virginia Tech finished second in the overall competition followed by the University of Arkansas Monticello in third.

Stephen F. Austin finished second in the technical events, and Auburn University was third.  Virginia Tech was second in the physical events, and Arkansas Monticello was third.

In a surprise announcement, ABAC won the Sportsmanship Award, despite having no competitors in this year’s Conclave because all the ABAC students were involved in hosting the mammoth event.  Harrison Booker, president of the ABAC chapter of the Society of American Foresters, received the award.

Booker said ABAC plans to field a team for next year’s Conclave, which will be held on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, La.