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Southeastern Grasslands Institute (SGI)

The solution to conservation of U.S. southeastern grasslands is a vastly expanded and sustained initiative for the conservation, restoration, and management of native grassland ecosystems.

The Southeastern Grasslands Institute is building a movement. We aim to ignite a passion for our native grasslands across the South and to join hands with people from all walks of life who desire to make a difference for the world and for future generations. Because so many native grassland remnants are small, they are ideal for engaging volunteers at the local level. SGI is working with partners across our focal region to develop a “grassroots grassland conservation army” of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of volunteers.

The SGI and Austin Peay University is currently working with Old Town and Sinking Creek to:

1. Create a baseline understanding of area biodiversity and ecology and provide hands-on educational/training opportunities to advance undergraduate and graduate students in the area of biodiversity exploration and habitat mapping of grasslands, woodlands, wetlands, and forests.

2. Aid in the development of educational and outreach materials, including opportunities for creative writing, articles in conservation magazines, newspapers, blogs, and other outlets. These materials will tie on-the-ground biodiversity, ecology, and conservation to regional history and culture, helping to provide interpretive materials that mold cultural and natural history.

3. Serve to develop a baseline which can inform future savanna-woodland-meadow restoration, which can be replicated among other private properties and used as a teaching tool for future conservationists and training for farmers/ranchers/land managers/conservation practitioners.

In the video below, Dwayne Estes explains how these plum trees at Old Town were likely here when the Mississippian culture lived here almost 1,000 years ago.

We are appreciative to Professor Dwayne Estes for his leadership as Executive Director of SGI and the Center of Excellence for Field Biology at Austin Peay State University.