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Forestry Center marks 35 years

Members of the Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation were on hand for the celebration. Shown are (seated) Martha Dixon and Foundation president Doris Tyler; (standing) Philip Jones, Rhett Johnson, Trippy McGuire and Louisa Baker.

Members of the Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation were on hand for the celebration. Shown are (seated) Martha Dixon and Foundation president Doris Tyler; (standing) Philip Jones, Rhett Johnson, Trippy McGuire and Louisa Baker.

Auburn University’s School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences celebrated the 35th anniversary of the Solon Dixon Forestry Education center on Tuesday.

Dr. Janaki R.R. Alavalapati, dean of the school, said the facility, where every forestry and wildlife science major spends at least one term studying, is a major asset.

Solon and Martha Dixon donated the Dixon homeplace, more than 5,000 acres, and $500,000 to Auburn University to establish the center in 1980. The Charles Dixon family contributed funds for the construction of the Charles Dixon Auditorium. At the time, it was the largest single gift ever given to the AU by living donors.

Since that time, the family has continued its philanthropic support of the educational center, Alavalapati said.

Joel Martin, said the center averages 5,500 user days per year. In addition to the AU students who study there, the center has partnered with LBW Community College, the University of Florida at Milton and Gainesville, Yale University, the University of Georgia, University of Nevada, and Iowa State.

Martin said the latest plant inventory showed that students have access to 1,015 species of plants, which represents one third of all species that exist in Alabama.

Dixon Center director Joel Martin and John Vick speak at the celebration.

Dixon Center director Joel Martin and John Vick speak at the celebration.

The hands-on learning opportunities are unparalleled, he said, adding that students can have hands-on study in timber measurement, fire management, protection of water, plant and animal species.

“What would Solon Dixon think?”

“That’s the question we ask often,” Martin said. “Some things we do he would not be entirely happy with. But at the end of the day, if he were sitting on a stool on the porch, we think he would be pleased.”

Members of the Charles Dixon family in attendance were (from left) John Vick, Patricia Vick Moody, Scott Moody, Glenn Leuenberger, Charles Roland and Dillon Roland.

Members of the Charles Dixon family in attendance were (from left) John Vick, Patricia Vick Moody, Scott Moody, Glenn Leuenberger, Charles Roland and Dillon Roland.