Meet Birdie. She’s a Piney Woods heifer, one of the few remaining members of a proud breed that was brought here by Spanish galleons and adapted to life in the longleaf pine woods of the Southeast. Birdie and two of her friends have come to Sewanee to show how their breed’s ability to thrive in hot, humid, shrubby conditions can assist with land stewardship in the Southern Appalachians.
With $20,000, Sewanee will build a model agricultural operation which utilizes the animals we grow (like Birdie) to help us convert a landscape dominated by exotic plants to a working landscape that can support animal production as well as increase the diversity of our forest resources. The funds raised will help us create a wooded pasture for goats and Piney Woods cattle—both of which are uniquely suited to help with the conversion process. Along with fencing, we will build water and housing systems to support a rotational grazing system. Sewanee students will have the opportunity to participate in the management of this silvopastural system and monitor its success. In doing so, they will gain hands-on experience with conservation-based land stewardship and insight into the farm-to-table process.