The Red Hills region is an idyllic setting filled with longleaf pines that stretches from Tallahassee, Florida, to Thomasville, Georgia. At its heart lies Tall Timbers, a former hunting plantation. In 1919, sportsman Henry L. Beadel purchased the Red Hills plantation to be used for quail hunting. As was the tradition, he conducted prescribed burnings after every hunting season in order to clear out the thick brush to make it more appealing to the nesting birds. After the U.S. Forest Service outlawed the practice in the 1920s, condemning it as harmful for the forest and its wildlife, the quail population diminished dramatically. Astonished by this loss and encouraged by his naturalist friend Herbert L. Stoddard, Beadel set his sights on conserving the land in order to study the effects of prescribed burnings on wildlife. Upon his death in 1958, Beadel donated the entire Tall Timbers estate to be used as an ecological research station. The Legacy of a Red Hills Hunting Plantation traces Beadel's evolution from sportsman and naturalist to conservationist. Complemented by a wealth of previously unpublished, rare vintage photographs, it follows the transformation of the plantation into what its founders envisioned--a long-term plot study station, independent of government or academic funding and control.
Robert L. Crawford was formerly a biologist on the Tall Timbers staff and has contributed many articles to The Auk, The Wilson Bulletin, The Oriole and other ornithological journals. William R. Brueckheimer was the Tall Timbers Beadel Fellow from 1973 to 1984