Do you have a passion for native Georgia flora or an interest in using plants as medicine? Do you want to learn more about what grows in Georgia’s woodlands? You shouldn’t miss out on a visit to The Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center (GMRC).
The center covers 415 acres of scenic land and also currently has more than 40 research projects underway. Some of the current projects include wheat, asparagus, field corn, blueberries, forages, collards and also beef cattle, pumpkins, and peaches.
Another of the projects developed by the GMRC Preservation Committee is the Appalachian Ethnobotanic Demonstration Garden. It is also located on-site. Take a tour of the Ethnobotanic Garden and Woodland Medicine Trail. You can learn more about using native plants for medical purposes because of live demos by local artisans.
History of the GMRC
Henry Perkins Stuckey founded the GMRC in 1930 and is the director. He is the director of the Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Ga. He is also the author of Southern Horticulture, Vegetable Gardening and Tomatoes. Bonnel Stone helped Perkins. Both used their political influence to bring the GMRC to Union County. Stone later became known as the “Father of Georgia Forestry” because of the founding the Georgia Forestry Association.
John Bailey took over as director in 1932. Bailey held the position until he retired in 1972. During this time he guided the station through many valuable research projects. These were aimed at increasing the potential of local fruits and vegetables to help the Union County economy.
Bailey saw the expansion of the station during the late 1930s and early 1940s. This included the addition of sheep, dairy farming, a field research facility for grains and a soil test lab. Because of the work of Bailey to promote the use of Tennessee Valley Authority fertilizers through north Georgia, a Union County farmer became the first in the state to yield 100 bushels of corn per acre.
The following decades saw increasing research in apple and grain production, as well as sheep farming and swine production. Also there were other growth pursuits. The GMRC continues to uphold its tradition of excellent research today. The center was re-named the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center in 2000. This was so that the name could also be a better reflection of its purpose.
Appalachian Ethnobotanic Garden Project
Beginning in 2005, the Preservation Committee developed a series of gardens at the center. The gardens are designed to cultivate significant plants that are native to North Georgia. Since that time, the gardens have continued to expand annually because of the help of local volunteers. They now include an Herb Garden, an Ethnobotanic Demonstration Garden, and a Woodland Native Plant Medicine Trail. Visitors can take a guided tour of these each Monday at 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. from May through September. This is not counting holidays.
The Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center’s Educational Programs for All
The GMRC community council offers educational programs for young people from kindergarten through 5th grade throughout the year. The programs include Johnny Appleseed, the Bids Program, Water, Water Everywhere, the Cabbage Patch Project, All About Trees, as well as an environmental field day.
The GMRC community council offers monthly seminars and workshops for adults. These are held throughout the year except for April and December. The classes are held at the center and also anyone can attend for a minimal fee.
Appalachian Native Botanical Sanctuary Program
In order to be certified for the program, local landowners must make an application. This includes, native plants identified on their property and also explain the preservation techniques they are using.
Restoration and preservation services are available for developers and landowners. Native plants will be relocated if they are in danger of destruction. Plants can also be relocated on the initial premises or preserved in one of the GMRC plant sanctuaries. The Georgia Mountain Experiment Station isn’t the only place you’ll find a beautiful slice of nature.However, it is one of the best!
You can find the GMRC just three miles south of Georgia’s Blairsville in Gordon county on the east side of US Highway 19/129 South.