America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell Goes to South Carolina to film the Third PBS Episode

Friday, November 30, 2018

America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell is proud to bring you a third PBS Episode sharing the landowners of the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention ( SFLR) program is a partnership of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (Endowment), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and USDA Forest Service (USFS). We filmed the success of African American landowners across the southeast in South Carolina this Fall. A glimpse into the life of landowners through film is just what is what we captured with tree plantings, forest cruising, personal stories of family land, and Chuck Leavell even played piano at the local church to create church choir music. You do not want to miss this premier episode.

We watched three landowners tell their stories of family land and forestry focus. On the first set, of America's Forests with Chuck Leavell, certified tree planter Mary Hill, was interviewed. The property her family owns has been handed down and her late husband's great, great grandfather received 43 acres and a mule after the Civil War. Now the land is cultivated as a tree farm for the benefit of future generations.

Chuck enjoyed showing future generations how to plant pine trees on the property and even had his wife Rose Lane get a behind the scenes picture with him.

Next, he could not help but get in on some gospel music with the choir of Greater Emanuel A.M.E Church in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.

A natural tree farmer from Georgia, Chuck Leavell is always wanting to hear from the people. He listens patiently and hears the voices of the land like here in South Carolina on the steps of the historic Cherry Hill Classroom with landowners. The Cherry Hill Community Center is a place where visitors can go in search of African-American history.

At the register of deeds in Colleton County, South Carolina, Chuck talks with tree farmer Joe Hamilton. They explored his family history in the basement of the county seat to understand land ownership dating back to the Civil War. On our last stop, Chuck interviewed the Acting Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service Leonard Jordan at Francis Marion National Forest.

We hope you are as excited about the premiere of our third episode in South Carolina and the SFLR program, as are we. The inspiring and life-changing stories of these landowners won’t be found anywhere else. When the episode premiers this Spring, call into your local PBS station request it!

For more information on the series, to host a showing of an episode or to get involved in future episodes, visit americasforestswithchuckleavell.com, follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or email us.






Award Winning Program in the South to be Filmed by America’s Forests

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell noticed a program that needed to be documented called the Sustainable Forestry and African American Land Retention program (SFLR). As the Forbes article that came out on July 26, 2018 saidthe U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development(HUD) and the Council on Foundations announced the 2018 winners of the sixth annual Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships, recognizing excellence among the two sectors which improves quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents across the country.”

“It’s this collaborative approach to service that will lead us to find solutions to help the most vulnerable,” HUD Secretary Dr. Ben Carson said when presenting awards to the ten recipients in Washington, D.C. The goal of the SFLR is to help promote intergenerational forestland retention and wealth creation for African-American landowners. In many cases, the programs work is helping black farmers to climb back from a negative tide that has been going on for decades. By comparison, African-American farmland peaked in 1910 at 15 million acres to just 2.4 million acres in 1997. By 1999, only 1% of all privately-owned rural lands were black-owned.” Ryan Velez wrote for the Your Black World article about SFLR.

The SFLR program currently supports eight project sites across seven states and more than 800 landowners, who own a combined 68,423 acres. The goal is to help connect landowners to specialized networks of forestry and legal services providers. These networks are coordinated by trusted community-based organizations (CBOs), which combine different resources and connections including non-profits, universities, and the private sector. The eight CBOs are as follows:

Black Family Land Trust (VA)

Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation (SC)

Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund (AL)

Limited Resources Landowner Education Assistance Network (AL)

McIntosh Sustainable Environment and Economic Development (GA)

Roanoke Electric Cooperative (NC)

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (AR)

Winston County Self Help Cooperative (MS)

“Working forests benefit us all. Many public benefits flow from private lands. They are essential in providing clean air and water, habitat for fish and wildlife, forest products and recreational opportunities.”- USDA U.S. Forest Service (USFS)

For more information on the series, to host a showing of an episode or to get involved in future episodes, visit americasforestswithchuckleavell.com, follow along on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or email us.