The gift of the Gardens extends the College’s footprint
from the Blue Ridge Mountains to Smith Mountain Lake.
Ferrum, Va. (December 28,
2012) – Educator, author, philanthropist
and Ferrum College alumnus Allen DeHart of Louisburg, North
Carolina, recently gifted the 172-acre DeHart Botanical Gardens in
Patrick County to Ferrum College.
Founded by DeHart and located near Lover’s
Leap Overlook on US-58 highway west of Stuart, DeHart Botanical
Gardens is a rare nature preserve featuring a diverse population of
plant and animal species as well as spectacular views that rival
those seen from the famous overlook. The Gardens include
wildflowers, old growth hardwoods, azalea, rhododendron, and
wildlife, as well as freshwater streams, waterfalls, geological
formations and caves, nature trails, and the stone foundation of a
pioneer home site.
"We are extremely grateful to Allen DeHart for
allowing Ferrum College to become the next steward of this
extraordinary property in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
With his generous gift to the College the students and faculty in
our environmental science, horticulture, agriculture, forestry and
Ferrum Outdoors programs will benefit in countless ways," said
Ferrum College President Dr. Jennifer Braaten.
The College will use the property as a
“living laboratory” in its Environmental Science and
other sustainability-related programs. As one of the oldest
academic programs of its kind in the United States, the
College’s Environmental Science program emphasizes
experiential learning and provides students with state-of-the art
training so they may approach environmental problems holistically.
The gift of the Gardens extends the College’s footprint from
the Blue Ridge Mountains to Smith Mountain Lake, where the College
has held the Smith Mountain Lake Volunteer Water Quality Monitoring
Program since 1987.
"We are thankful to Professor DeHart for his
lifelong devotion to preservation, his boundless love of nature and
his desire to share with generations to come the wealth of
knowledge waiting to be studied in the DeHart Botanical
Gardens,” said Braaten.
A Patrick County native and a member of Ferrum
College’s class of 1954, DeHart, also holds degrees from High
Point University and the University of Virginia. DeHart previously
donated the 91-acre DeHart Botanical Gardens in Franklin County,
North Carolina, to nearby Louisburg College, where he served for 52
years as a full or part-time professor of American history,
psychology and physical education. During his tenure he also served
in a number of administrative roles, such as public affairs.
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