Safe Routes to School in the News

A recent article from AP, published in Atlanta, Boston, Washington; also covered by NPR back in May, describes the new projects and federal funds for the Safe Routes to School program. According to the article, $16 million in federal funding is available in Georgia through 2009.

The first step in the project is a planning grant so that a school can begin a Safe Routes to School plan to include educational programs, encouragement/incentive programs, enforcement, as well as infrastructure improvements:

“There has been a lot of interest in infrastructure but we are trying to get communities to understand this is not just a free sidewalk program. This is about teaching kids about activity and giving them a safe area where they can walk from home to school,” said spokeswoman Carrie Hamblin.

The goal is to develop a safe means for children, often accompanied by their parents, to walk or bike to school, instead of being driven individually as is often the case today. We have several potential sites along our route which would greatly benefit from this project in the development of trails infrastructure, and we look forward to working with local school groups to get those projects funded.

Gullah-Geechee National Heritage Corridor Announced

Yesterday I attended the announcement of the advisors for the new Gullah-Geechee Heritage Corridor. The Georgia advisors are Jeanne Cyriaque and Charles H. Hall. I will provide bio information about our advisors as soon as I get it. This corridor is significant to the Coastal Georgia / East Coast Greenway in that it lies in the coastal areas of NC, SC, GA and FL, areas traversed by our trail, AND in Georgia the following sites have been identified for potential interpretive centers for the new heritage corridor: In Liberty County – Seabrook Village, Midway and LeConte-Woodmanston Plantation; in McIntosh County – Butler Island, Altamaha National Wildlife Refuge/Rice Plantation State Historic Site; Harris Neck National Wildlife Preserve; Sapelo Island Visitors Center, Meridian; Hog Hammock Community, Sapelo Island; and in Glynn – Harrington School, St. Simons Island, and Hofwyl-Broadfield Plantation.

from the National Parks Service:

Director Bomar recently announced the selection of the first commissioners for the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, one of 37 Congressionally-designated national heritage areas. The corridor celebrates the contributions to American culture and history made by Africans and African-Americans from the Gullah and Geechee communities along the Atlantic coast from Jacksonville, Florida, to Wilmington, North Carolina.Sapelo Island
“The Gullah people have a very rich cultural history, “said Director Bomar. “The National Park Service has conducted a special study to determine ways to preserve this culture, which is threatened by modern development. The rich diversity of our nation certainly includes this unique society and we must preserve this as another of the precious pieces of the cultural mosaic that is America. The NPS looks forward to working with the Commissions members and with the states.”

The commission will manage the area in partnership with the National Park Service and the state historic preservation offices of Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The commission consists of fifteen members; five cultural resource experts and 10 state representatives. Designated in 2006, the corridor recognizes the rich and distinctive Gullah-Geechee culture that has flavored regional folklore, arts, crafts, food and music.

Open House at LeConte Woodmanston Plantation

The LeConte Woodmanston Plantation will host an open house on Saturday, November 3rd from 10:00–2:00 in conjunction with the 1st Annual Geechee Rice Fest. Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the Slave Walk Memorial project.

LeConte-Woodmanston Rice Plantation to develop memorial to slaves

LeConte-Woodmanston Rice Plantation (a proposed Liberty County Coastal Georgia Greenway trailhead) in Liberty County has announced plans for a memorial to honor slaves who worked on that plantation:

Memorial to be Established at Former Coastal Rice Plantation

“Slave Walk” commemorates first African-Americans

The Board of Trustees of LeConte-Woodmanston Rice Plantation & Botanical Gardens near Riceboro, Georgia, announced this week its intention to create a slave memorial at its Liberty County site. The Slave Walk, a brick path that will wind through the reclaimed plantation, will bear names of 18th & 19th century Liberty County slaves.

According to Jim and Pat Bacote, founders of the nearby Geechee Kunda Cultural Arts Center and Museum, “Liberty County is the center of African culture in America.” Working in concert with Geechee Kunda and with other historic sites in the area, LeConte-Woodmanston hopes to present a complete picture of the plantation story and the era of enslavement as well as the rich cultural heritage of the first African Americans.

Part of the project will be the collecting of oral histories “before another generation passes” says project director, Mary Beth Evans. “We tend to think of slavery in the abstract, but these were real people, with names and faces and family. Walking in these very footsteps can be quite moving.”

The Slave Walk will be in a style similar to memorials created with donor bricks but will be funded entirely with grant money. The Board will be seeking financial and community support for the memorial and for the completion of the LeConte-Woodmanston Master Plan which was commissioned in 1981 when the site was owned by the Garden Club of Georgia.

LeConte-Woodmanston was placed on the National Register of Historical Places in 1973. A 64-acre site, carved out of the original 3300-acre plantation, features a botanical garden and a black swamp nature trail. Plans include the reconstruction of historic, scientific and ornamental aspects of the original self-sustaining plantation that kept approximately 200 slaves for its rice production from the 1770’s until the Civil War. The gardens were first established and tended by Louis LeConte and recognized throughout America and in Europe in the early 1800’s. His sons, William and Joseph, made names for themselves on the west coast and in the scientific world. The LeConte Plantation will host an open house on Saturday, November 3rd from 10:00–2:00 in conjunction with the 1st Annual Geechee Rice Fest. Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions about the memorial project.

If you would like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview, please call Mary Beth Evans at 912-658-4691 or email at mbevans ( a t ) coastalnow (d o t) net.

Coastal Georgia Greenway video online

Our promotional video is now available for viewing (click this link for a larger version):

RTP Grant Applications are open

Georgia DNR administers the Recreational Trails Grant program, which has now announced this year’s grant cycle:

…recreational trails program funding application is now available online through the Department of Natural Resources Web site. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, Nov. 30. Only one project per sponsor will be eligible for funding. More information is available from Bryan Alexander at 404-656-3830 or bryan_alexander [at] dnr.state.ga.us.

(from Sustainable Savannah)