See what we’ve learned over the years…
2015 Membership Supper – Malcom House Restoration
- Friday, March 27, 2014, 7pm, Malcom’s Crossroads, Dan Rather’s Barn
- 135 members gathered for a tour of the Malcom House across the road from the barn and to hear the “State of the Conservancy.”
- A typical development pattern for a thriving cotton producer in the 1900s, Malcom’s crossroads includes historic structures, productive farmland, and a hardwood forest along Hester Creek, all atop one of the highest points in Morgan County. Not typical is the conservation easement protecting about 90 acres of this landscape. In a nutshell, the crossroads embodies what this conservancy is trying to accomplish: protection of our natural, agricultural, and historic resources for future generations.
- Thanks to Glen Bottomley, the new landowner, the Malcom House has been brought back to life. Ramble on out to Malcom’s Crossroads (intersection of Fairplay Road and Sandy Creek Road) to see a relic thriving in a new day.
Fresh Opportunities: The Farmview Market and Other New Marketing Opportunities for Local Food Producers
- Thursday, December 18, 2014, 6pm at the Chamber of Commerce
- On the heels of publishing the fourth edition of FARMeander, the Conservancy hosted 50+ local farmers for a casual supper in order to present them with emerging marketing ideas.
- Kelly Products Inc. presented their development plan for Farmview Market
- Cindy Norton of Georgia Department of Agriculture presented other marketing opportunities for Georgia farmers
Yankees Marching By: A 150th Anniversary Symposium on the Civil War in Madison and Morgan County, Georgia
- Sunday, November 16, 2014, Tour 2pm at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Auditorium
- In partnership with the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, the Conservancy co-hosted the symposium with Keynote Speaker Stephen Davis and the Atlanta History Center’s Marvin Greer, along with presentations from local historians.
- See more here
2014 Greenprint Ramble – Western Morgan County
- Saturday, October 18, 2014, Tour 2pm “Go West, Young Man” through the western portion of Morgan County, Supper 6pm at Ardenlea Farm
- Over 160 people joined us for a tour of the western portion of Morgan County, through Dorsey and Rutledge, along Dixie Hwy and Davis Academy, and with a rest stop at the CCCP Camp at Hard Labor Creek State Park.
- 200 people joined us for supper at Ardenlea Farm, the site of General Slocum’s encampment the evening before the Union troops marched into Madison during Sherman’s infamous March to the Sea.
- Supper consisted of almost entirely local fare from 30 different farms: pasture raised chicken, local beef and pork, and delicious local veggies.
- See the Ramble Guide here.
2014 Conservation Easement Workshop
- Thursday, August 28, 2014, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Burge Plantation
- 53 people attended to hear about the role of appraisals in conservation easements
- Presenters included Katherine Eddins (GA Land Trust), Jack Sawyer (Alston & Bird), Carl Schultz (Integra Realty), Frank Smith (State Properties Commission), and Stephanie Surles (Howard, Moore, & McDuffie, CPA), Carl Schultz (Georgia )
- Continuing Education was available (6.5 hrs CLE, 6 hrs Real Estate, CPE)
2014 Membership Supper – Food Hubs and Processing
- March 29, 2014, 6pm, Malcom’s Crossroads, Rather Barn
- 135 members gathered to hear about Harvest of the Heart Garden and their effort to construct a USDA certified cannery in Madison. Special Guests Jewel Hatcher and Deb Foster brought tastes of locally processed jellies, salsas, etc. and spoke about their effort to feed the needy in Morgan County with local food. Of course we feasted on homemade chili and Sweetwater beer and had a grand time in the party barn.
2013 Walton Mill, GA’s First Cotton Mill, Publication and event
- On July 31, the Conservancy published “Walton Mill’s Hidden Past: The Lost Town of Antioch and Georgia’s First Cotton Mill,” the culmination of a research project by intern Laura Duvekot
- On October 20, 45 Conservancy members were treated to an exploration of the properties, touring the foundations of the mill, the remnants of the bridge, the remaining tenant house, two cemeteries, and the remnants of the homesteads.
- GA’s first cotton mill was located on the Little River, here in southern Morgan County, in 1810, and was known as Whatley’s Mill. The Town of Antioch grew around the mill and existed until the 1820s, when the Walton family began buying land, eventually owning all the mills and a total of 4,000 acres.
2013 Conservation Easement Workshop
- Thursday, September 5, 2013, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Burge Plantation
- 52 people attended to hear about the trends in conservation easements law and policy as well as about the tax and appraisal facets of this ever-changing conservation tool
- Presenters included David Wooldridge (Sirote and Permutt, Kiva Dunes Case), Katherine Eddins (GA Land Trust), Stephanie Surles (Howard, Moore, & McDuffie, CPA), Joe Ball (Pritchett, Ball, & Wise), and Buford Sanders (GA Forestry Commission)
2013 Membership Supper – Newton County’s 2050 Plan
- March 30, 2013, 6pm, Malcom’s Crossroads, Rather Barn
- 130 members gathered for homemade chili and Sweetwater beer and to hear from special guest, Kay Lee of the Center in Covington, about Newton County’s 2050 Plan. This comprehensive plan was named the Best Comp Plan in the Country by the American Planning Association in 2014.
2013 Land Stewardship Workshop Series
- Three Thursday evenings, January 10, 17, and 24, 5:30p.m. at the Chop House in Madison
- A sold out crowd of 50 attended each evening workshop
- Topics included timber management, prescribed fire, wildlife management, and cost-share programs for land management
- Presenters included Sharon Holbrooks, Scott Griffin, Jeff Kastle, Lynn Lewis-Weis, Buford Sanders, Reggie Thackston, and Shane Wellendorf
2012 Conservation Easement Workshop
- Thursday, August 30, 2012, 8:00 a.m. – 4:45 p.m., Burge Plantation
- 70 people joined a stellar panel of presenters to hear about the trends in conservation easements law and policy as well as about the tax and appraisal facets of this ever-changing conservation tool
- Presenters included David Wooldridge (Sirote and Permutt, Kiva Dunes Case), Katherine Eddins (GA Land Trust), Stephanie Surles (Howard, Moore, & McDuffie, CPA), Clay Weibel (Weibel & Associates, appraiser), Laurel Florio (lawyer and consultant), Kristina Sorensen (GA Tax Transfer), Steve Friedman, (GA Dept. of Natural Resources), and Frank Smith (GA State Properties Commission)
- Thursday, August 30, 2012, 6 p.m., Steffen Thomas Museum
- Co-sponsored by the Steffen Thomas Museum, the Madison Artist Guild, and the Madison-Morgan Conservancy, this exhibit features works by painters Peter Muzyka and Don Jolley as well as photographers Chuck Dyer and Lisa Wheeler. The opening was an exciting unveiling of the exhibit as well as of Mr. Muzyka’s documentary video which expresses the Artists Statement of the exhibit and includes beautiful footage of the surrounding rural countryside, as well as interviews with locals who have ties, both current and past, to this cherished landscape.
- See photos here.
2012 Annual Membership Supper – Wallace Grove School Restored!
- Saturday, March 24, 2012, 6pm, Malcom’s Crossroads, Rather Barn
- 125 members and friends joined us to celebrate the preservation of the Wallace Grove School, built in 1901, and restored in 179 days with the help of the Wallace Grove Baptist Church, the Conservancy, and many donors and volunteers. The Wallace Grove Baptist Church pastor, Tommy Chatman, spoke, and the gospel choir sang. What a special evening under the stars.
2011 Greenprint Ramble – Southeast Morgan County
- Saturday, October 22, 2011, Tour 2pm Southeast portion of Morgan County, Supper 6pm at Willow Oak Farm
- Over 200 people joined us for a tour of the Bethany, Buckhead, Kingston, and Swords communities in Morgan County.
- 230 people joined us for supper at Willow Oak Farm, which consisted of almost entirely local fare: pasture raised chicken, local beef, and delicious local veggies.
- This Ramble will be hard to beat. See the Ramble Guide here.
2011 Conservation Easement Workshop
- Thursday, August 25, 2011, 9 a.m.—4 p.m., Burge Plantation
- Approximately 50 people attended the nuts-and-bolts workshop on conservation easements. Guest speakers included: Katherine Eddins (GA Land Trust); Stephanie Surles, CPA (Howard Moore & McDuffie); Morgan Mellette, Appraiser (Mellette Forestry Group); Jeffrey Pfitzer (Benwood Foundation); Kristina Sorensen (GA DNR, GA Tax Credits); and a group of landowners who have executed conservation easements including Bob Beauchamp, Wayne Vason, Mary McCauley, and Tom Hamby.
2011 Land Talks – The Future is Farming
- April 7, 2012, 5pm, Burge Plantation
- Approximately 50 people attended Land Talks for a presentation on the Newton County 2050 Plan by The Center for Community Preservation and Planning. Kay Lee described the planning process and focused on the Green Enterprise Group’s effort of protecting 25,000 acres of land for farming by 2050. A screening of the movie “GROW!” followed: GROW! is a documentary about young, organic farmers in Georgia. Burge Organic Farm is featured in the film.
2011 Annual Membership Supper – Horse Racing in Georgia
- Saturday, March 19, 2011, 6pm, Malcom’s Crossroads, Rather Barn
- Approximately 115 people gathered to hear Ed Gadrix speak about how the horse racing industry could benefit GA and specifically Morgan County.
- As usual, homemade chili made from local venison, beef, chicken and veggies was served for supper, along with the Caboose’s (Rutledge) sides and dessert.
2010 Historic Preservation v. Sustainability: The Next Great Debate
- Thursday, November 18, 5pm, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
- Co-sponsored by: Madison-Morgan Conservancy, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center, Madison Historic Preservation Commission, and Morgan County Landmarks
- Mrs. Christine Lambert presented the history of saving the Madison Graded School (now the Cultural Center), and Mark McDonald (GA Trust for Historic Preservation) discussed the future of historic preservation and how the GA Trust will work with LEED to incorporate sensitivity to historic materials in the LEED certification for sustainable new construction.
2010 Conservation Easement Workshop
- Thursday, September 23, 2010, 8:30-3pm, Burge Plantation
- Approximately 50 people attended this workshop – Farm and Estate Transition – how to plan the future of your farm/estate from generation to generation. Guest speakers included: Katherine Eddins, GA Land Trust; Alan Olsen, Attorney at Law; and Kristina Sorensen, GA DNR Tax Credit Program.
- See info here.
2010 Land Talks – The Future is Farming
- May 10, 2012, 5pm, Hard Labor Creek State Park
- Approximately 80 people attended Land Talks to hear guest speakers Jeff Dorfman (UGA AG Economics), Craig Page (PLACE), and Alice Rolls (GA Organics) discuss the future of farming and the local food movement. After the event, four Morgan County Farmers joined the Conservancy to create and publish FARMeander. It was a great productive Land Talks!
2010 Annual Membership Supper – GA’s Water Coalition
- Saturday, March 20, 2010, 6pm, Malcom’s Crossroads, Rather Barn
- Approximately 100 people gathered to hear Jill Johnson speak about GA’s Water Coalition and the importance of water quality and quantity. Afterwards, the Board of Directors SUNG! Never to be repeated (or again requested). Just imagine Michael Jackson rolling in his grave when he heard his song “Ease on Down the Road” remade to be all about conservation easements!
2009 Greenprint Ramble – Northwest Morgan County
- Saturday, October 22, 2009, Tour 2pm Northwest portion of Morgan County, Supper 6pm at Cedar Lane Farm
- 200 people joined us for a tour of the northwest portion of Morgan County, including a tour of the Bostwick Cotton Gin and the Susie Agnes Hotel. The histories of Fairplay, Malcom’s Crossroads, Nolan Store Crossroads, and Flat Rock were explored thoroughly.
- 220 people joined us for supper at the beautiful and historic Cedar Lane Farm. Supper was made almost entirely of Morgan County food, including local bison, quail, chicken, and beef served with delicious local veggies and homemade ice-cream.
- See the Ramble Guide here.
2009 Conservation Easement Cocktails
- Approximately 50 attended a discussion about conservation easements led by Katherine Eddins, Executive Director of the GA Land Trust. Hosted by Hundred Acre Farm, attendees were treated to a tour of the farm and its 90 acre conservation easement.
2009 Land Talks – Greening Downtown: Good for Business
- Held in Walton County, Land Talks presented speakers including Monica Callahan (City of Madison), Cheryl Delk (Newton County), Jim Durrett (Livable Communities Coalition), and Dan Reuter (Atlanta Regional Commission). They discussed how providing greenspace in downtowns spurs economic development.
2008 Annual Membership Supper – The Local Food Movement in Morgan County
- Saturday, November 22nd, 2008, 6:00 PM, Dan and Ginny Rather’s Barn
- Speaker: Jeanne Dufort & Russell Johnston (Johnston Dairy Farm)
- Approximately 80 members joined us to celebrate the Conservancy’s eighth year and to hear our special guests Jeanne Dufort and Russell Johnston discuss the local food movement shaping up in Morgan County.
2008 Sustainability Expo
- Saturday, September 27th, 2008, 10am-3pm, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center
- Approximately 100 people attended the Sustainability Expo to learn about sustainable technologies and how to conserve water and energy at home and at work. See vendors here.
2008 Land Talks – Economic Development…and the Economics of Development
- Thursday, February 28th, 2008, 6:00 PM, Burge Plantation
- Speakers: Rope Roberts (GA Power Community and Economic Development) and Jeff Dorfman (UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics)
- Approximately 115 people joined us to hear Rope Roberts (GA Power’s Community and Economic Development) and Jeff Dorfman (UGA Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics), two of the state’s leading experts on Economic Development and the Economics of Development, respectively.
Land Talks is presented by the Madison-Morgan Conservancy, Smart Growth Newton County, Friends of Walton County, and the Center for Community Preservation and Planning. Our objective is to provide a venue for the continued conversation about the future of this region of Georgia – a region rich in natural, cultural, and agricultural resources and one facing increasing pressure from rapidly expanding Metropolitan Atlanta. As our region continues to grow at unprecedented levels, Land Talks is taking a closer look at economic development, and what that development means to local governments and communities, both financially and socially.
2007 Annual Membership Supper – The Future of Biofuel and Carbon Sequestration in Georgia
- Saturday, November 10th, 2007, 6:30 PM, Dan and Ginny Rather’s Barn
- Speaker: Devon Dartnell (GA Forestry Commission)
- 72 of our members joined us to celebrate the Conservancy’s seventh year and to hear our special speaker (and Conservancy Board Member) Devon Darntell discuss Georgia’s role in the emerging biofuel and carbon sequestration markets. Devon is the Bio Energy Program Manager for the Georgia Forestry Commission and has been a Conservancy Board Member since 2005.
2007 Greenprint Ramble – Southwest Morgan County
- Saturday, October 13th, 2007
- $5 Bus Ride, $15 Supper
- The Greenprint Ramble has become the Conservancy’s signature event after only one year! Over 200 people joined us for a tour of the southwestern portion of Morgan County, and 170 people joined us for supper highlighting the Bounty of Morgan County at The Newton Family Farm in Pennington.The Ramble featured Godfrey and Pennington communities as riders traveled through a southwestern slice of Morgan County. Do you know where the oldest house in Morgan County is? The largest tree? The most beautiful vista? Taken by bus with a narrator the Conservancy provided, Ramlers learned things about the land and people in Morgan County they never realized, and the Conservancy hoped to challenge them to consider the future of dairy farming, the scale of development, and the effects of all human activities on our natural resources. The event included stops at two dairies, several homes, and nineteenth-century churches, where restrooms and drinks were provided.
- After soaking up the views and the stories, Ramblers celebrated Morgan County’s agricultural abundance at a dinner made entirely of local fare. The Conservancy brought together a team of farmers, cooks, and servers to present a homemade culinary extravaganza. There was grass-fed roast beef from Sandy Creek Road, marinated venison, Buckhead poultry, and Burnt Pine quail. Ramblers feasted ad lib on a large variety of greens, nuts, fruits, and vegetables from local farms. The eggs were freshly gathered, the honey nourished with Morgan County clover and privet, and the milk not only produced but also pasteurized at a farm less than two miles from our lovely Pennington dining spot.
2007 Conservation Easement Workshop
- Tuesday, April 24, 2007, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Burge Plantation, Mansfield,
- Madison-Morgan Conservancy, in partnership with Ga Land Trust, Smart Growth Newton County, and Friends of Walton County, held the third Conservation Easement Workshop at Burge Plantation. Katherine Eddins, Executive Director of the Georgia Land Trust, gave a nuts-and-bolts presentation on the use of conservation easements and the tax incentives associated with the donation of such easements. Attendees left with an in depth knowledge of the conservation easement process and with literature for future reference. CLE credit was also available.
2007 Land Talks – Greenspace Acquisition
- Monday, January 22nd, 2007, Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Hall, 434 South Main Street, Madison, GA 30650, 5:30 p.m. Social Time
- Approximately 150 people from five counties joined us to hear three leaders in greenspace preservation discuss their initiatives.Speakers: Robert Barr (Carroll County Commission Chair), Denise Brinson (City of Suwanee Economic Development), and Curt Soper (GA Land Conservation Program).
Land Talks is presented by the Madison-Morgan Conservancy, Smart Growth Newton County, Friends of Walton County, and the Center for Community Preservation and Planning. Our objective is to provide a venue for the continued conversation about the future of this region of Georgia – a region rich in natural, cultural, and agricultural resources and one facing increasing pressure from rapidly expanding Metropolitan Atlanta.
2006 Annual Membership Supper – National Heritage Areas and Arabia Mountain
- Saturday, November 11, 2006, 6:00 pm, Dan and Ginny Rather’s Barn
- Speaker: Kelly Jordan (Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area)
- Kelly Jordan of the Arabia Mountain Alliance told the story of a community’s successful journey toward a National Heritage Area Designation. Approximately 85 members joined together in the “party barn” for this presentation, good food, and good fun. We hope you will join us next year.
Transfer of Development Rights (TDR)
- June, 2006, three forums, 6:00 pm
- Hosted in Board Members’ Homes in Godfrey, Madison, and Rutledge
- Speaker: Christine McCauley
- In June of 2006 we held three TDR forums in Godfrey, Madison, and Rutledge, during which was discussed the pros and cons of Transfer of Development Rights for Morgan County. Each forum was free and the hosts provided delicious suppers.
2006 Land Talks – Transfer of Development Rights in the Chattahoochee Hill Country
- April 20, 2006, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Monroe, GA
- Speaker: Steve Nygren, Chattahoochee Hill Country
- The Madison-Morgan Conservancy, Smart Growth Newton County, Friends of Walton, and The Center for Community Preservation and Planning joined together for a second Tri-County Land Talks to discuss Transfer of Development Rights (TDR). Steve Nygren of Chattahoochee Hills Country was our guest speaker and told the story of their success in South Fulton County. After the presentation, guests, which consisted of large landowners, public officials, county and municipal planning staff, and developers asked questions about TDR.
Innaugural Membership Supper – Conservation Design in New Development
- November 14, 2005, 6:00 p.m., Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Hall
- Speaker: Rick Pruetz, AICP (National Expert on Transfer of Development Rights)
- Approximately 70 Conservancy members gathered together for a Membership Chili Dinner on Monday, November 14th, at the Madison-Morgan Cultural Center Hall to celebrate conservation in Morgan County. Special guest, Rick Pruetz, the nation’s expert in Transfer of Development Rights (TDR), gave a presentation on TDR programs and how they might work in Morgan County. To learn more about TDR and/or Rick Pruetz, please visit www.beyondtakingsandgivings.com.
- Members celebrated the accomplishments of the Conservancy over the last five years, including the creation of the Morgan County Greenprint and its adoption as part of the 2004 Morgan County Comprehensive Plan, co-sponsoring five conservation easements totaling 450 acres, the Conservancy’s involvement in county planning, and hosting 16 educational forums. It was a fun and joyous evening!
2005 Conservation Easement Workshop
- Thursday, October 27, 2005, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Burge Plantation, Mansfield, GA
- Speaker: Katherine Eddins
- The Madison-Morgan Conservancy, in cooperation with Smart Growth Newton County and the Georgia Land Trust, held the second Conservation Easement Workshop at Burge Plantation on Thursday, October 27th. Katherine Eddins, Executive Director of the Georgia Land Trust, gave a nuts-and-bolts presentation on the use of conservation easements and the tax incentives associated with such easements. In attendance were approximately 30 of Morgan County’s landowners, lawyers, and appraisers who were interested in learning more about this effective, private conservation tool.
2005 Land Talks
- October 6, 2005, 4 p.m. – 9 p.m., Burge Plantation
- Speaker: Rick Porter (Richport Properties), Randy Vinson (Developer of Clark’s Grove), Mark Varnadoe (GA Land Trust)
- On October 6, well over 100 of the largest landowners (owning more than 100 acres or more each) in Newton, Morgan, and Walton counties plus elected officials, developers, land planners, and representatives from growth management organizations gathered at Burge Plantation to talk about greenspace preservation and development options. Four organizations sponsored the event: Smart Growth Newton County, Friends of Walton, the Madison-Morgan Conservancy, and The Center for Community Preservation and Planning.
- The purpose of the event was to talk about regional growth pressures and to showcase alternative development and conservation options and tools. The interests of the landowners varied. For example, some were interested in preserving farm or forest dear to them but were concerned about how to pay rising taxes. Some considered their land a financial investment for themselves and their children and wanted to develop and were curious to learn how they might do so while preserving and marketing greenspace as an amenity that is also crucial to the county’s long-term environmental health.
- April 28, 2005, 7:00 p.m., Morgan County High School Auditorium
- Speaker: Randall Arendt, FRTPI
- Randall Arendt of Greener Prospects, Conservation by Design, joined us on Thursday, April 28th, at 7:00 pm at the Morgan County High School Auditorium for a presentation on manageable development plans and specifically addressed Morgan County’s zoning ordinances and development regulations as they apply to our future development.
- Randall Arendt is the nation’s leading expert in conservation subdivsion design. To learn more about Mr. Arendt, please visit www.greenerprospects.com.
Greenprint Forum Series
- August, 2004, Series of five forums
- Speaker: Trust for Public Land and Madison-Morgan Conservancy Representatives
- In August of 2004, a series of five educational forums on Morgan County’s Greenprint were held in Bostwick, Buckhead, Godfrey/Pennington, Madison, and Rutledge. The forums were held in the homes of our members and included dinner and discussion. The Greenprint is a catalog of the natural, historic, and cultural resources of the county and contains goals and objectives related to the preservation of the quality of life and the many resources of the county. Morgan County is the first in Georgia to have a county-wide Greenprint and is the only county to have the Greenprint adopted as part of the Comprehensive Plan. The Greenprint forums served to educate the public about the document and its use as a planning tool, and to request further information regarding other resources in the county.
Tuesday, September 26, 2002 – The Value of Wildlife and Habitat Protection. Tavia McCuean of The Nature Conservancy presented information about wildlife and habitat protection.
Tuesday, October 23, 2001 – Governor Roy Barnes talked about Morgan County’s conservation issues and about his green space concept for the state.
Tuesday, September 25, 2001 – The Value of Conservation Easements – Panel discussion about the role of The Madison-Morgan Conservancy, Inc. as a Land Trust to hold conservation easements. Panel of speakers included: Katherine Eddins, Executive Director, Chattowah Open Land Trust; Laurie Fowler, Environmental Law Practicum Director & Public Service Outreach Director – UGA Institute of Ecology; Nanette Nelson, Office of Public Service and Outreach. Hans Neuhauser, Executive Director of the Georgia Land Trust Service Center in Athens was unable to attend.
Thursday, April 5, 2001 – Value of Farmland Protection – Panel Discussion including Jill Schwartz, Marketing Director for the American Farmland Trust and Wayne McGinnis, a Maryland Farmer and former Chair of the Maryland Agricultural Land Preservation Board.
Tuesday, February 6, 2001 – Value of Green Space Planning and Acquisition – Panel Discussion including Rand Wentworth, Director of Trust for Public Land of Georgia and Chris Sawyer, National Chairman of Trust for Public Land.
Tuesday, October 3, 2000 – Value of Land Use Planning and Zoning – Panel Discussion including Susan Kidd, Vice President for Education for the Georgia Conservancy, Jim Frederick, Director of Community Redevelopment of the Georgia Office of Community Affairs and Ellen Keys, Director of Community Services, Jordan, Jones & Goulding (engineering and planning consultants for Madison and Morgan County).