In 1995, naturalist John Henry Dick bequeathed historic Stono Preserve to the College of Charleston Foundation. Before his death, Dick placed a conservation easement on the property with the Lowcountry Open Land Trust to protect its pristine 881 acres from future development. The strategic comprehensive plan guides the restoration of Stono Preserve’s natural setting to create a conservationist’s classroom for the College.
The master plan creates a living laboratory for students of multiple disciplines – from marine biology to forest management to historic preservation. Ayers Saint Gross designed and implemented a 4.3-mile nature trail with site wayfinding and interpretive signage, the renovation of the existing artist’s studio, and the new meeting barn for events, conferences, and lectures. The project goals were to be a model for natural resource management locally and nationally, to balance cost with stewardship, to enhance what is unique about the land, to be a good neighbor, to be a good steward, to fit buildings into the site naturally, and to provide immersive educational programs for the College.