Longtime University of Georgia supporters and alumni Craig and Diana Barrow were awarded the Margaret Douglas Medal by The Garden Club of America for their commitment and service to conservation education at their Wormsloe estate near Savannah.
The national award was given to the Barrows in recognition of their “thoughtful stewardship and generous donation of both land and resources,” said Dede Petri, president of The Garden Club of America.
In 2013, the Barrows, through their Wormsloe Foundation, donated 15 acres of the Wormsloe property to the University of Georgia to establish the Center for Research and Education at Wormsloe. The center provides opportunities for UGA faculty and students to study cultural history and historical land use practices, among other topics, under the direction of Sarah Ross, a member of the faculty of the College of Environment and Design and executive director of the center. In 2016, UGA dedicated two new cabins built on the property to house visiting students and faculty. The cabins were partially funded by the Wormsloe Foundation as well.
In its recognition of the Barrows, The Garden Club of America highlighted the center’s research with 400 varieties of vegetables in the UGA Heirloom Demonstration Garden at Wormsloe. Some of these plants, such as peanuts, blueberries and cotton, are leaders in Georgia’s agriculture industry. Heirloom vegetable trials on site contribute to profitability for coastal Georgia’s family farms by measuring plant productivity, pest and disease resistance, and flood and drought tolerance as well as documenting the preferred flavor profiles.
GCA also recognized the Barrows’ significant backing of landscape stewardship, habitat restoration and sustainable agriculture research on their historic property—all supported largely by UGA programs on site. In addition, GCA cited the significance of the transdisciplinary approach to education provided by the center.
“Craig and Diana are certainly deserving of this national recognition,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead. “The University of Georgia is grateful for its enduring partnership with the Barrow family and the many ways they are helping us to expand our reach and impact across the state of Georgia and beyond.”