October 30, 2020

DAR Presents National Conservation Award

Pictured above (L-R) are JSC Regent Carla Brown, Tamara Harris, Bettina Vernon, JSC Conservation Chair Mary Lane, and Georgia State Conservation Chair Pamela Ann Lyle

Pictured above (L-R) are JSC Regent Carla Brown, Tamara Harris, Bettina Vernon, JSC Conservation Chair Mary Lane, and Georgia State Conservation Chair Pamela Ann Lyle

(Franklin, GA) — On Saturday March 18, 2017, members of the James Stewart Chapter enjoyed a presentation about This Old Farmhouse GA, Inc. presented by Bettina Vernon and her daughter Tamara Harris.

Following the program, Conservation Chair Mary Lane, Regent Carla Brown and Georgia State Conservation Chair Pamela Ann Lyle, presented the NSDAR Conservation Award to Bettina Vernon for her for her outstanding accomplishments in conservation.

Her non-profit, This Old Farmhouse GA, focuses on both conservation and Historic preservation.

During the last four years, Ms. Vernon has worked with a certified arborist to identify the native and non-native trees and plants on the property. One of her main goals is to restore the land to its native state. She has made great strides in the removal of much of the Chinese privet that had taken over the land.

In addition to eradicating these non-native invasive plants, the arborist helped her identify 20+ trees.

The mission at This Old Farmhouse Georgia is to teach youth about self-sufficient living and the fascinating history of rural farming practices during the 1920’s.

This Old Farmhouse is located on Scenic Highway 27 just north of Centralhatchee in Heard County. It was built around the 1900’s and contains relics and artifacts common to the area. Located on its’ grounds are outbuildings of various sizes, designs, and purpose.

Each building tells the story of early farm life in Georgia’s history. Its picturesque grounds include huge sprawling hardwoods, blooming trees and flowers make this a must see destination for relaxation. Plans are to restore as many of the structures as possible.

It is also an educational experience for those interested in history, farming and conservation. It is a model for prudent land stewardship and can be enjoyed by the entire family.

Visitors receive instructions on organic practices and the reuse of existing materials on the property for restoration projects. She has started Herbert’s Garden, where heirloom fruits and vegetables are grown organically.

Plans are to have local groups or individuals work in the garden while learning about early 20th century farm tools and methods. Visitors can also learn the proper way to preserve foods just as farmers did 100 years ago.

The criteria for issuance of this prestigious award includes outstanding efforts in wildlife and nature centers; resource management; park establishment; youth leadership; conservation related media; and education on the college, high school, junior high school, middle school, or elementary school level.

Bettina Vernon thanking members for her award

Bettina Vernon thanking members for her award

A candidate nominated must be sponsored by a chapter or a state organization and should have at least two letters of recommendation written by non-DAR members.

Other material such as newspaper or magazine articles should be sent to substantiate the recommendation.

James Stewart’s conservation chairman Mary Lane coordinated the application process and submitted the nomination form and documents was to the national conservation chair in February.

Holly Jean Dunbar, the National Chairman of Conservation, notified Mary Lane that our nominee had been approved on March 2nd and stated that she “was impressed with the work being done by Ms. Vernon on her property to educate others about a wide range of issues, including organic and sustainable farming, using heirloom plants and more.”

She expressed her thanks to the chapter for “taking the time and effort to recognize Ms. Vernon for her work.”

The James Stewart Chapter was pleased to present this award and hope to work with Ms. Vernon on future projects as her non-profit grows.  

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