The College of Charleston Dixie Plantation, Environmental Learning Center
When artist and naturalist John Henry Dick passed away in 1995, he left his family property, known as Dixie Plantation, to the College of Charleston Foundation. The 800-acre site, located 17 miles from the College’s main campus, was intended to be used for long-term ecological research as well as public education.
Biohabitats assisted Ayers Saint Gross Architects and Planners in the development of this historic property as a secondary campus. The project included the design of a building, field stations, and a path linking the structures.
To support the development of a landscape design that would reestablish habitat, minimize construction impacts on ecological resources, and enhance the natural setting, Biohabitats performed a characterization of existing habitats on the property and identified areas critical to the site’s ecology that should be conserved and restored.
In addition to wetland and forest enhancement recommendations, Biohabitats provided suggestions for reducing the College’s footprint and reliance on public utilities through the use of stormwater infiltration BMPs, a wastewater treatment wetland and the harnessing solar, wind and tidal power.
Biohabitats also provided recommendations for incorporating the site’s ecology with the College’s research and public service missions. For example, the team suggested that the College establish a research project to restore longleaf pine forests (Pinus palustris), an increasingly rare community, indigenous to the site and the region.