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GMREC: Community Council


The primary goal of the Preservation Committee is to educate the public about the importance of preserving the incredible diversity of native plant species living in our Southern Appalachian Mountain region. This goal is being pursued by three major projects:

  1. Fringed GenetianDeveloping an Appalachian Ethnobotanic Demonstration Garden on the grounds of the Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center.
  2. Monday morning Garden Tours of the Appalachian Ethnobotanic Garden, the Woodland Medicine Trail and the Cannery Interpretive Center.
  3. Certifying Appalachian Native Botanical Sanctuaries for landowners in the region.

The Preservation Committee projects are staffed by volunteers. For more information on one of these programs, or to volunteer, please contact Clare Johnston at (706) 745-2655 or email Please fill out one of these UGA Volunteer Agreement forms before volunteering. If you are a current volunteer, here is a Preservation Volunteer Time Record.

Plant rescue underwayZinnias

Appalachian Ethnobotanic Garden Project

In 2005, the Preservation Committee began developing gardens on the grounds of the Georgia Mountain Research & Education Center to showcase plants that have been used by Native Americans and European settlers. With the help of our dedicated volunteers, these gardens have been expanded annually and now include a Woodland Medicine Trail, an Ethnobotanic Garden, and an Herb Garden featuring more than 150 plants and trees. Volunteers maintain the Gardens on the first and third Mondays of the month, March through October. If you have an interest in gardening or native plants, feel free to join us at 9 a.m. Wear gloves, a hat and sunscreen.

Monday morning Garden Tours

Guided tours of the Ethnobotanic Gardens, Woodland Medicine Trail and Cannery Interpretive Center are held on Mondays from 9 A.M. until 1 P.M., May through September excluding holidays. Please arrive for your tour by 12:30. For more information, see the Garden Tour Brochure.

Boardwalks and Covered Bridge in the Ethno botanic Garden
The Cordier Covered Bridge, boardwalk and plants in the Ethno Botanic Garden
Visitors to the Ethno Botanic Garden
Visitors to the Ethno Botanic Garden


Appalachian Native Botanical Sanctuary Program

native botanical sanctuary

The Appalachian Native Botanical Sanctuary program promotes the preservation or restoration of residential native landscapes. Please note that we offer certification in Fannin, Towns and Union counties in Georgia and Cherokee and Clay counties in North Carolina. This certification program recognizes landowners who wish to maintain a portion of their property in a natural state, with a representative mix of trees and plants native to Appalachia.   Landowners who wish to participate complete a simple application identifying native plants on their property and the conservation practices they are using.  Applications are reviewed and approved by our trained volunteer team, and qualifying properties receive a certificate and a free pottery sign.  For further information, see Certification Program

The Appalachian Native Botanical Sanctuary application can be downloaded as a word document to be completed and mailed, or completed online.