About Us

Mission

To understand, demonstrate, and promote excellence in natural resource management and conservation.

Vision

To support and inform natural resource conservation and restoration by excelling as a trusted source of science and management information.

We work to

UNDERSTAND

the natural systems of the southeastern Coastal Plain through

Research

DEMONSTRATE

excellence in natural resource management through

Conservation

PROMOTE

our science and management with natural resource

Education And
Outreach Programs

BUILDING UNDERSTANDING THROUGH RESEARCH:

Research programs at the Jones Center focus on understanding the ecology, restoration and management of the longleaf pine ecosystem; and the water resources, wetlands and aquatic ecosystems of the southeastern Coastal Plain. Ichauway is located in the heart of the historic range of longleaf pine. Longleaf pine ecosystems are among the rarest and most biologically diverse in North America and are increasingly a focus of conservation efforts. Southwest Georgia is also a hydrologically unique karst region that serves as the major recharge area for one of the nation’s most prolific and heavily used aquifers, the Upper Floridan aquifer. We balance basic research of these systems with applied work of relevance to the natural resource management and conservation communities and see the Center as a crossroads for research and practice.The Center’s research is integrated under three programmatic areas: Woods, Water, and Wildlife.

DEMONSTRATING KNOWLEDGE THROUGH CONSERVATION:

The Center’s conservation program is responsible for the stewardship and management of the Ichauway land base. It also serves as a technical information resource as well as a demonstration of sound resource management in the region. The Center’s conservation program incorporates a diverse range of activities into a management model that balances multiple values in the context of a deeply-rooted land ethic. Land management activities include an extensive prescribed fire program, conservation-based forest management, and restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem across the Ichauway landscape. Our wildlife program includes game management for species such as bobwhite quail and white-tailed deer, as well as management and monitoring of nongame and endangered species associated with the longleaf pine ecosystem such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise.

PROMOTING SOUND MANAGEMENT THROUGH EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:

Information from our research and conservation programs is shared and promoted through our education and outreach programs. The Center’s priority outreach constituents are practicing professionals who are making decisions that influence the management and conservation of natural resources, and scientists who are providing the data to inform these decisions. We also focus outreach on natural resource management agencies, policymakers, private landowners, conservation organizations, and university classes through field tours, short courses, and workshops. We also educate university students in natural resource degree programs to help prepare the next generation for future decisions and challenges. Approximately 125 students have completed advanced degrees through our cooperative graduate education program, and we continue to have many graduate students pursuing degrees at any given time.

BUILDING UNDERSTANDING THROUGH RESEARCH:

Research programs at the Jones Center focus on understanding the ecology, restoration and management of the longleaf pine ecosystem; and the water resources, wetlands and aquatic ecosystems of the southeastern Coastal Plain. Ichauway is located in the heart of the historic range of longleaf pine. Longleaf pine ecosystems are among the rarest and most biologically diverse in North America and are increasingly a focus of conservation efforts. Southwest Georgia is also a hydrologically unique karst region that serves as the major recharge area for one of the nation’s most prolific and heavily used aquifers, the Upper Floridan aquifer. We balance basic research of these systems with applied work of relevance to the natural resource management and conservation communities and see the Center as a crossroads for research and practice.The Center’s research is integrated under three programmatic areas: Woods, Water, and Wildlife.

DEMONSTRATING KNOWLEDGE THROUGH CONSERVATION:

The Center’s conservation program is responsible for the stewardship and management of the Ichauway land base. It also serves as a technical information resource as well as a demonstration of sound resource management in the region. The Center’s conservation program incorporates a diverse range of activities into a management model that balances multiple values in the context of a deeply-rooted land ethic. Land management activities include an extensive prescribed fire program, conservation-based forest management, and restoration of the longleaf pine ecosystem across the Ichauway landscape. Our wildlife program includes game management for species such as bobwhite quail and white-tailed deer, as well as management and monitoring of nongame and endangered species associated with the longleaf pine ecosystem such as the red-cockaded woodpecker and gopher tortoise.

PROMOTING SOUND MANAGEMENT THROUGH EDUCATION AND OUTREACH:

Information from our research and conservation programs is shared and promoted through our education and outreach programs. The Center’s priority outreach constituents are practicing professionals who are making decisions that influence the management and conservation of natural resources, and scientists who are providing the data to inform these decisions. We also focus outreach on natural resource management agencies, policymakers, private landowners, conservation organizations, and university classes through field tours, short courses, and workshops. We also educate university students in natural resource degree programs to help prepare the next generation for future decisions and challenges. Approximately 125 students have completed advanced degrees through our cooperative graduate education program, and we continue to have many graduate students pursuing degrees at any given time.

History & Development

The Jones Center is located on Ichauway, a 29,000 acre property in rural southwestern Georgia. Ichauway was established as a quail hunting reserve in the 1920s by Robert W. Woodruff, who became the long-term chairman of The Coca-Cola Company

An avid outdoorsman, Woodruff recognized the unique natural characteristics of the land and maintained one of the most extensive tracts of longleaf pine and wiregrass in the United States for quail hunting. After Woodruff’s death in 1985, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation undertook an exhaustive process of research and advisement for the future of the property and ultimately established the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway in 1991. The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation provides the core financial support for the Jones Center programs and facilities.

The Jones Center was named in honor of Joseph W. Jones, former senior vice-president of The Coca-Cola Company, Woodruff’s longtime associate, and former chairman of the Woodruff Foundation. By 1993, core staff members were hired in research, forest and wildlife management, and administrative support, and a newly constructed campus was completed in 1996. There are now approximately 85 employees at the Center. Over 100 graduate students from regional universities have completed thesis research with on-site advisors.

Stat

Today’s second-generation longleaf stands are dominated by 80-100-year-old trees

Stat

Today’s second-generation longleaf stands are dominated by 80-100-year-old trees

Our Facilities

Our administrative and education buildings provide offices and meeting spaces for scientists and managers at the Center, including recently updated auditorium and breakout facilities.

An 18,000 square foot research laboratory houses

  • scientists’ laboratories
  • a central analytical laboratory
  • two field labs

Newly constructed guest lodging provides accommodations for visiting university classes, professional groups, and research collaborators. These facilities also include the Crossroads, a new dining facility to serve visitors to the Center.

Our student village houses graduate students and research technicians in new modern facilities that include private bedrooms and bathrooms with shared living space.

The Center’s Information Technology (IT) department includes trained network, Geographic Information System, and database professionals. Our state-of-the-art IT services effectively link our remote location to the broader community of academic institutions and scientific collaborators.

The Jones Center features new modern facilities on our campus at Ichauway.

About Ichauway

The 29,000 acres that comprise Ichauway include a diverse range of ecological communities:
  • extensive longleaf pine forests
  • slash pine forests
  • oldfield loblolly pine stands
  • mixed pine hardwoods
  • riparian hardwood forests
  • isolated depressional wetlands
  • agricultural fields
  • shrub-scrub uplands
  • human cultural zones
  • rivers and creeks

Ichauway is located on the Dougherty Plain, a karst topography with local relief ranging from 90 to 200 ft MSL, and is dominated by sandy soils with drainage classes ranging from excessively drained sands to very poorly drained clays. The property contains approximately 18,000+ acres of upland pine grassland habitats with the remainder consisting of agricultural fields, wetlands, and riparian hardwood hammocks. Virgin longleaf forests on Ichauway were harvested in the early 20th century, with today’s second generation longleaf stands dominated by 80-100 year-old trees. The longleaf forests found on Ichauway today demonstrate the results of over 80 years of ecologically-sound management with frequent prescribed fire and single tree selection silviculture. Upland pine habitats at Ichauway are dominated by longleaf pine and either a wiregrass (native ground cover) or broom sedge (old field) understory. Basal area ranges from 40-60 sq. ft./acre with most stands characterized by mature, widely spaced pines.

The fire-maintained longleaf pine ecosystem is a remnant of the forest type that once dominated the southeastern Coastal Plain and is perhaps the most significant ecological attribute of Ichauway. Much of the ground cover of the 18,000 acres of this forest at Ichauway has not been disturbed by previous agricultural tillage and consequently harbors some of the most species-rich habitats in North America. More than 1,100 vascular plant species have been documented on Ichauway. The ground cover under longleaf pines is extremely diverse with more than 50 different species sometimes found in an area of approximately a square yard. The characteristic vegetative structure and composition of well-managed longleaf forests support a unique faunal community that provides habitat for many species of conservation concern. Over 370 vertebrate species have been documented on Ichauway, and herpetofauna represent many of the most threatened species of the longleaf pine ecosystem.

Just over 15 miles of Ichawaynochaway Creek flow through Ichauway, and the Flint River forms 13 miles of the property’s eastern boundary. Aquatic and wetland habitats range from cypress-gum ponds and grassy, ephemeral wetlands to riverine habitats including cypress sloughs, deep pools, gravel riffles, and large stone, rapid water shoals. Diverse hardwood forests, called hammocks, are found on alluvial soils adjacent to the river and the creek. The aquatic habitats and their adjacent uplands are critical habitats for many rare species of plants, amphibians, reptiles, and birds. The limestone geology of Ichauway and the associated riverine habitats are unusual in the southeastern Coastal Plain because the stream channels are rocky with many shoals and significant amounts of groundwater input as seepage from fissures in bedrock.

The ecological communities found across Ichauway provide a unique example of the historic landscape of the southeastern Coastal Plain. These relatively undisturbed natural communities offer valuable insight and opportunities for research that helps better understand the structure, function, and value of these ecosystems.

The upland longleaf pine forests are the largest land cover type on Ichauway (approximately 18,000 acres).

Key Ecosystems

Longleaf Pine Upland

Flint River

Ichawaynochaway Creek

Cypress-Gum Wetland

Open, Grassy Wetland

The ecological communities found across Ichauway provide a unique example of the historic landscape of the southeastern Coastal Plain.

Key Ecosystems

Longleaf Pine Upland

Flint River

Ichawaynochaway Creek

Cypress-Gum Wetland

Open, Grassy Wetland

The ecological communities found across Ichauway provide a unique example of the historic landscape of the southeastern Coastal Plain.

Robert W. Woodruff Foundation

The Jones Center is funded and supported by the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. Ichauway itself is owned by the Foundation and is managed and utilized by the Jones Center for conservation, research, and education programs.

The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation was established in 1937 (originally as the Trebor Foundation) by Robert Winship Woodruff, long time leader of The Coca-Cola Company and an avid outdoors man. After Mr. Woodruff’s death in 1985, Ichauway became the property of the Woodruff Foundation. Mr. Woodruff originally assembled Ichauway as a quail hunting reserve, and he spent as much time there as possible. His many trips to Ichauway were necessary, he said, “to readjust my sense of values.”

In his will, Mr. Woodruff expressed the wish that Ichauway be maintained as a natural preserve. After seeking counsel from scientists and naturalists, the Foundation’s trustees established the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in 1991.

About the Foundation

The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation is an independent, non-profit, private foundation devoted to improving the quality of life in Georgia. The Foundation makes grants to qualified non-profit organizations in six broad program areas: health, education, environment, human services, arts and culture, and community development.

The Foundation is responsive to the needs of the community, participating with the community in supporting initiatives led by others.

Full information about the Foundation grant program and administrative operations is available through the Foundation website.

Strategic‌ ‌Plan‌

The Jones Center is distinct in the community of ecosystem research organizations. We are built on a strong foundation established by Robert W. Woodruff, who committed to conserving this land and improving the lives of those within Ichauway and surrounding communities. His foresight, followed by the vision and dedication of the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, led to the establishment of a world-class research and conservation institution at Ichauway. Over the last 27 years, the Jones Center has earned a distinguished reputation and has grown its impact on the scientific understanding and management of natural resources in the southeastern U.S.

Our strategic plan is a vision for the future. We feel a deep responsibility to continue our tradition of excellence, and our commitment to stewardship of the land, water, and wildlife will not waiver. We acknowledge that our foundation and ethic are firmly rooted in both the land and the experiences of those who preceded us. We recognize the need to anticipate future challenges in our unique role as crossroads between researchers that acquire knowledge and enhance understanding, and managers that demonstrate and practice natural resource management and conservation. The core of our ethics is to apply this philosophy to future conservation and land management challenges.

Our People

Ann Benton

Operation Services Worker

 

Cindy Craft

Admin & Human Resources Assistant

 

Mandy Dukes

Accountant

 

Jenna Fleet

Administrative Specialist

 

Becky Gay

Business Administrator

 

Jawaski Harvey

Guest Services Worker

 

Heather Ireland

Guest Services Assistant

 

B.J. Jones

Operation Services Worker

 

Kier D. Klepzig

Director/Entomology and Microbiology

Elisha Ledford

Receptionist

 

Terri Underwood

Guest Services Manager

 

Alfred Lee Williams

Operation Services Worker

 

Jeneka Williams

Operation Services Worker

 

Behnoosh Abbasnezhad

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Landscape Ecology

Leah Andino

Research Associate, Landscape Ecology

Christine Bahlinger

Affiliate Research Technician, Mussel Conservation

Jordan Baron

Graduate Student, Wildlife Ecology

Carlie Blackburn

Research Technician, Ecohydrology

Ivy Bryan

Research Technician, Herpetology

 

Ben Campbell

Research Technician, Ecological Silviculture

Alisen Chapman

Research Technician, Plant Ecology

Suranjana Chatterjee

Graduate Student, Ecohydrology

Lexie Dingerson

Graduate Student, Wildlife Ecology

 

Tess Eichner

Research Technician, Ecohydrology

Christine Favorito

Research Associate, Entomology & Microbiology

Lisa Giencke

Senior Research Associate, Plant Ecology

 

Ben Gochnour

Graduate Student, Entomology & Microbiology

Ian Goldberg

Graduate Student, Ecological Silviculture

Stephen W. Golladay

Affiliate Biologist, Mussel Conservation

Lindsey Grimes

Research Technician, Entomology & Microbiology

Chloe Hall

Research Technician, Aquatic Sciences

Michelle Henson

Graduate Student, Plant Ecology

 

Avery Holbrook

Research Technician, Ecological Silviculture

Ally Horn

Research Technician, Ecological Silviculture

Leela Hospach

Graduate Student, Entomology & Microbiology

Jen Howze

Senior Research Associate, Herpetology

 

Amber Johnson

Research Technician, Landscape Ecology

Sullivan Kemp

Research Technician, Wildlife Ecology

Garrett Lawson

Graduate Student, Herpetology

 

Emma Marzolf

Research Technician, Plant Ecology

 

Gail Morris

Senior Research Associate, Wildlife Ecology

Arthur Lamounier Moura

Graduate Student, Landscape Ecology

Gabe Nyen

Graduate Student, Ecological Silviculture

Madison Ohmen

Research Technician, Plant Ecology

 

Thomas Ohmen

Research Technician, Entomology & Microbiology

Elizabeth Parsons

Graduate Student, Wildlife Ecology

Jabryan Pegues

Graduate Student, Ecological Silviculture

Sydney Pleak

Research Technician, Entomology & Microbiology

Jesus Rodriguez Riverol

Research Technician, Herpetology

 

Jamie Rogers

Research Associate, Aquatic Sciences

Jade Samples

Graduate Student, Herpetology

 

Hunter Scully

Graduate Student, Landscape Ecology

Varsha Shastry

Graduate Student, Wildlife Ecology

Tom Sheehan

Graduate Student, Entomology & Microbiology

Elizabeth Sicking

Graduate Student, Entomology and Microbiology

 

Chelsea Smith

Graduate Student, Mussel Conservation

Justine Smith

Graduate Student, Wildlife Ecology

Phoebe Soldi

Research Technician, Wildlife Ecology

Jasmine Sone

Research Technician, Landscape Ecology

Stribling Stuber

Research Associate, Ecohydrology

Caitlin Sweeney

Affiliate Assistant Biologist, Mussel Conservation

Scott Taylor

Senior Research Associate, Ecological Silviculture

Gabriel Tigreros

Graduate Student, Entomology & Microbiology

Hallie Turner

Research Technician, Ecological Silviculture

Tanner Warren

Research Technician, Landscape Ecology

Cole Wzientek

Research Technician, Wildlife Ecology

Seth E. Younger

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Landscape Ecology

Nicole Zampieri

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Landscape Ecology

Maddie Zickgraf

Research Technician, Herpetology

 

Lain Alexander

Information Technology Manager

Brian Clayton

Monitoring Technician, Aquatic Sciences

Bryan Cloninger

Central Analytical Lab Technician

Thomas Graham

System & Network Technician

Trace Haywood

Analytical Lab Assistant

Michael Simmons

Database Data Analyst

Jason Suggs

Geospatial Analyst

Brandon Barber

Carpenter Assistant

James Barwick

Conservation Worker

Bobby Bass

Conservation Technician

Steven Brown

Safety Officer

Joshua Bruce

Conservation Worker

Susan Bryan

Lead Grounds Landscaper

Tyler Chambless

Conservation Worker

Tyler Clay

Conservation Worker

Kevin Coker

Plumbing/HVAC/Electrical Tech

Clayton Cook

Electrician/HVAC Specialist

Joseph Cook

Grounds Landscaper

Nathan Cramer

Conservation Worker

Randy Davis

Security Officer

Eriana Douglas

Conservation Technician

James Evarts

Safety/Security Manager

Sam Gowan

Conservation Worker

Allia Grande

Conservation Technician

Vidal Greene

Lead Carpenter

Ryan Griffin

Conservation Worker

Joseph Hawkins

Conservation Worker

Johnny Hendricks

Security Officer

Zach Henshaw

Forestry & Wildlife Biologist

Terry Hudson

Conservation Worker

Aaron Ireland

Maintenance Manager

Dawson Jackson

Conservation Worker

Kylie LaBelle

Conservation Technician

Darren McVey

Conservation Worker

Eddie Moore

Conservation Worker

Lee Nix

Conservation Worker

Daniel Nutt

Grounds Specialist

Robert Pascual

Maintenance Technician

Charlie Perkins

Vehicle Maintenance Worker

Tim Phillips

Agricultural Specialist

Brandon Ponder

Grounds Landscaper

Bradley Pruitt

Conservation Fellow

Layne Richardson

Conservation Fellow

Dale Rigsby

Conservation Utility Worker

Daniel Roland

Conservation Worker

Brandon Rutledge

Conservation Coordinator

Arthur Sheffield

Lead Mechanic

David Sisson

Assistant Natural Resource Manager

Arvis Smith

Driver/General Maintenance Worker

Scott Smith

Natural Resource Manager

Rollie Thomas

Conservation Worker

Raymond Varnum

Conservation Worker

Sam Williams

Conservation Worker

Sandy Williams

Conservation Worker

Jessica McCorvey

Education Program & Communications Specialist

Rachel McGuire

Outreach & Education Coordinator

Ben Thesing

Communications Specialist

Jimmy Bullock

Senior Vice President, Forest Sustainability
Resource Management Service

Dr. Wes Burger

Associate Director, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, Forest and Wildlife Research Center, Mississippi State University

Dr. Jerry F. Franklin

Professor Emeritus of Ecosystem Management
College of Forest Resources
University of Washington

Dr. Gene E. Likens

Distinguished Senior Scientist, Ecologist
Founding Director and President Emeritus
Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Dr. Andrew Sánchez Meador

Executive Director, Ecological Restoration Institute
Associate Professor of Forest Biometrics and Quantitative Ecology, Northern Arizona University

Dr. Jennifer Tank

Galla Professor of Biological Sciences
Director, Notre Dame Environmental Change Initiative
University of Notre Dame

Dr. Frank R. Thompson

Research Wildlife Biologist, USDA Forest Service
Cooperative Professor, Fisheries and Wildlife Sciences, University of Missouri Columbia

Behnoosh Abbasnezhad

Postdoctoral Research Associate, Landscape Ecology

Lain Alexander

Information Technology Manager

Leah Andino

Research Associate, Landscape Ecology

Christine Bahlinger

Affiliate Research Technician, Mussel Conservation

Brandon Barber

Carpenter Assistant

Jordan Baron

Graduate Student, Wildlife Ecology

James Barwick

Conservation Worker

Bobby Bass

Conservation Technician

Ann Benton

Operation Services Worker

 

Carlie Blackburn

Research Technician, Ecohydrology

Steven T. Brantley

Ecohydrology

Steven Brown

Safety Officer

Joshua Bruce

Conservation Worker

Ivy Bryan

Research Technician, Herpetology

 

Susan Bryan

Lead Grounds Landscaper

Ben Campbell

Research Technician, Ecological Silviculture

Jeffery B. Cannon

Landscape Ecology

Tyler Chambless

Conservation Worker

Alisen Chapman

Research Technician, Plant Ecology

Suranjana Chatterjee

Graduate Student, Ecohydrology

Tyler Clay

Conservation Worker

Brian Clayton

Monitoring Technician, Aquatic Sciences

Bryan Cloninger

Central Analytical Lab Technician

Kevin Coker

Plumbing/HVAC/Electrical Tech

L. Mike Conner

Wildlife Ecology

Clayton Cook

Electrician/HVAC Specialist

Joseph Cook

Grounds Landscaper

Cindy Craft

Admin & Human Resources Assistant

 

Nathan Cramer

Conservation Worker

Randy Davis

Security Officer

Lexie Dingerson

Graduate Student, Wildlife Ecology

 

Eriana Douglas

Conservation Technician

Mandy Dukes

Accountant

 

Tess Eichner

Research Technician, Ecohydrology

James Evarts

Safety/Security Manager

Christine Favorito

Research Associate, Entomology & Microbiology

Jenna Fleet

Administrative Specialist

 

Becky Gay

Business Administrator

 

Lisa Giencke

Senior Research Associate, Plant Ecology

 

Ben Gochnour

Graduate Student, Entomology & Microbiology

Ian Goldberg

Graduate Student, Ecological Silviculture

Stephen W. Golladay

Affiliate Biologist, Mussel Conservation

Sam Gowan

Conservation Worker

Thomas Graham

System & Network Technician

Allia Grande

Conservation Technician

Vidal Greene

Lead Carpenter

Ryan Griffin

Conservation Worker

Lindsey Grimes

Research Technician, Entomology & Microbiology

Chloe Hall

Research Technician, Aquatic Sciences

Jawaski Harvey

Guest Services Worker

 

Joseph Hawkins

Conservation Worker

Trace Haywood

Analytical Lab Assistant

Johnny Hendricks

Security Officer

Zach Henshaw

Forestry & Wildlife Biologist