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Current SCT offices and future home of The Nature Center

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For Love of Nature

Local nonprofit, Southern Conservation Trust, is bringing nature to our community.

Webster defines conservation as “prevention of wasteful use of a resource”. I had to read that a couple of times and let that really sink in. Land is definitely a resource and wasteful use of land should certainly be prevented. How much do you know about conserving land? Admittedly, until I sat down with Katie Pace Quattlebaum, Executive Director of Southern Conservation Trust (SCT) in Fayetteville, I knew nothing about it. I had been to a few of our popular Fayette County nature areas, but now that I know the what, the why and the how behind these beautiful properties, I have a newfound appreciation for them. Southern Conservation Trust is focused on making sure that everyone has access to nature. They develop public nature areas, provide environmental education and conserve tens of thousands of acres of land, waterways and valuable habitat each year, and they have been doing so since 1993. 

In 2016, after running the marketing department for another nonprofit, Katie felt led to leave that position and search for another job, one that would harmonize with her love for the outdoors. "My husband Tom and I were talking about having a baby and I decided to leave that position [as it involved international travel].  I was looking for something that fit my outdoor lifestyle and this position came available." When Katie was hired as Executive Director in 2016, the organization had 4 local nature areas; Line Creek, Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary, Flat Creek and Morgan Grove, all of which were in disrepair or closed to the public. One of Katie’s first orders of business was to hire a Parks and Education Director. Enter, Nick Kilburg. “Nick could go in and just fix stuff when it needed to be fixed.” The 4 nature areas sprung back to life. Katie set about the business of creating awareness for her land conservation mission and she leaned into her knowledge of public relations and social media to do it. If anyone has ever had anything to do with a nonprofit organization, this is no easy feat, but Katie’s passion for her purpose is great and the community responded. Today, Southern Conservation Trust is managing 46,000 acres of land in the Southeast and is likely to add 10,000 - 20,000 more acres in the near future. “We are working in Texas and Colorado and as far east as Virginia." As a 501(c)3 and a qualified land trust in the United States, SCT is able to hold conservation easements. This means they can expand their conservation efforts outside the state of Georgia. "We are the fastest growing land trust on the East coast,” Katie says with a smile. 

The newest gem that SCT will be sharing with the community is The Nature Center in the historic Bennett-Graham-Brewer house on Beauregard Blvd. in Fayetteville just south of the square. "This nature center is going to be our hope to give back to the community," Katie says. "We’ve spent the last four years working really hard to build up our funding and build up our staff and to fulfill our mission. A nature center has always been something that our organization has wanted to do but we didn’t have the way to do it. We came across this beautiful, historic home last year and it just felt right. I knew we could make this work. We really think this will be a blessing to the community.” 

The Nature Center will be Fayette County's go-to for all things education about our environment. There will be a butterfly garden and a sensory garden, a baby alligator enclosure, all sorts of turtles, native snakes and mammals. They will have an indoor classroom and provide learning opportunities for students and community organizations. It will be wheelchair accessible, special needs inclusive and even be equipped to serve those who are visually impaired. "The whole center will be animals and habitats that are native to Georgia. Goats, chickens, rabbits and hopefully a cow in the future!" Katie exclaims. Her number one priority is making sure SCT is giving back to the community that has given them so much. The Nature Center is the perfect way to do just that. 

Katie is busy planning the Grand Opening of The Nature Center at 305 Beauregard Blvd in Fayetteville,  on Saturday, March 20, 2021. Please save the date as this will be a community event. I will most certainly be there and I cannot wait to touch a baby alligator! 

For more information or to donate go to or call 770-486-7774.


  • Southern Conservation Trust Executive Director, Katie Pace Quattlebaum
  • Barn on property circa 1890.
  • Gray Rat Snake, "Danger Noodle"
  • "Rhoda" the Native Eastern Box Turtle
  • Georgia Bobcat
  • Current SCT offices and future home of The Nature Center
  • Some of the SCT Staff. Back row, L - R: Jesse Woodsmith, Nick Kilburg, Katie Pace Quattlebaum. Front row L - R: Caroline Creel Akeman, Angela Goddard