Season 9 - South Carolina Tree Farmers - Land of Legacy Series | Episode 5

#161 | Land is more than finances; it’s your culture and heritage

February 11, 2021 | Annie Ruth Jones

On episode 5 of the Land of Legacy series, you’ll meet Annie Ruth Jones, a new SC Tree Farmer whose roots in the land run deep, as her family’s heritage stays strong.

Annie Ruth Jones is much more than a new SC Tree Farmer; she’s a beacon of light for her family and other African American landowners who have struggled for more than 100 years to keep what land they could in their families. With newly discovered and trusted advisors, Annie found the help she needed and the hope she deserved for growing her family’s 125 acres of woodlands while maintaining her family’s heritage in Sellers, South Carolina. You’ll hear the passion and pride in her voice as she talks about memories of her family, especially her father, and how he enticed Annie to stay on the farm and continue his legacy for years to come.  She credits the professionals like Kenneth Dunn, David Bourgeois and Sam Cook from the Center for Heirs Property Preservation for introducing her to the possibilities and the many options for making the most of her family forest. Not only that, they helped her achieve rare recognition as a Certified Tree Farm. As a result, everyone now knows these forests are in good hands for the future.

While she might not love all the creepy crawly creatures that roam the forest floor, Annie loves the trees that shelter them and guards the growth of those same trees with fierce determination and pride for her family and their future.

Listen now, and share this series with others, who – like our SC Tree Farmers – love the land and put the family in family forestry!

Navigation Points

[2:15] Annie shares a little bit about her land and her family.

[4:25] Annie shares her family tree and how she came to inherit her property.

[9:25] Annie’s father stressed the importance that everyone in his family finish high school.

[11:00] Annie talks about her father and what kind of man he was.

[12:00] Hold on to the land because they’re not making any more of it.

[13:40] A quick introduction to Kenneth Dunn and what he does for the Center of Heirs Property Preservation.

[17:45] Annie can’t stand the tree frogs!

[24:00] Annie does a tour of her property and talks about why she loves the big tree in her yard.

[27:45] Holding onto land is very expensive, especially for a Black family and especially if it’s not producing. This is why Annie loves the resources provided by Kenneth Dunn and the Center for Heirs Property Preservation.

[31:05] Annie made a promise to herself that she would not sell her land.

[32:55] Annie feels so blessed to have been able to keep the property in her family name thus far.

[34:15] It’s up to the younger generation now to see if they want to keep the land in Tree Farming.

[34:40] Kenneth explains some of the challenges African American landowners have when it comes to keeping their land.

[38:20] Without Heirs Property help, landowners really can get taken advantage of.

[41:25] Annie shares how the family make decisions together when it comes to their property.

[42:50] What do you need to do to become a certified Tree Farmer?

More Information

South Carolina Tree Farm

Forestry Association of South Carolina

South Carolina Forestry Commission

The Center for Heirs Property Preservation

Clemson Cooperative Extension

Annie Ruth Jones with Heirs Property Forester David Bourgeois and Annie’s Grandmother Lizzie Cooper (inset) who acquired and worked the original farm with her Grandfather Chapman Cooper from 1935. Annie says, “Anything that a man can do on the farm, my grandmother could do.”

Emily Oakman, Director of Landowner Outreach, Forestry Education and Programs at Forestry Association of South Carolina and Producer of the Land of Legacy Series




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