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Eric Jackson and Forestry in Old Salem

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“Land and ecosystem preservation inspired my love of horticulture when I realized just how fundamental plants are to our existence on earth, to the health and diversity of our environment, and for creating a sustainable culture, says Eric Jackson, Director of Horticulture at Old Salem Museum and Gardens in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Eric is a descendant of the Bethania Moravians of Old Salem, born and reared in Winston-Salem. He has worked at Old Salem for twelve years tending historic garden recreations and stewarding a corresponding historic plant and seed collection.
Eric recently joined the Southern Garden History Society Board of Directors. 
Old Salem was founded by German-speaking members of the Moravian Church in 1766. The history-centered organization Old Salem, Inc. began in 1950 when a group of dedicated volunteers began the work of restoring and preserving the town and gardens for future generations. 

In 1971 Flora Ann Bynum, one of the founders of Southern Garden History Society in 1982, began the work of organizing the restoration and recreation of authentic Old Salem gardens and landscapes, which the New York Times described as “one of the most authentic of any outdoor museum in America.” Flora Ann and Old Salem went on to present a biennial conference Restoring Southern Gardens and Landscapes that continued for forty years. Read about that conference here.

Old Salem Museum and Gardens continues doing its fine history and horticulture work with the able help of Eric Jackson. Enjoy this seven-minute video about Forestry in Old Salem hosted by Eric Jackson.

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Randy Harelson, President (Louisiana) Randy Harelson was born in Macon, GA to parents whose families both came from East Baton Rouge Parish, LA, for many generations. The family moved back to Louisiana when Randy was seven, but always called him their “Georgia peach.” Educated at LSU Lab School and Louisiana State University, Randy moved to Massachusetts in 1974 to teach art in an innovative “integrated arts in education” program in Attleboro Public Schools. A gardener since childhood, he worked at Hill-Roberts Elementary School to develop an “outdoor classroom” of trees, shrubs, and flowers while a full-time art teacher. He later served as a professional designer and assistant horticulturist at Blithewold Mansion, Gardens and Arboretum in Bristol, Rhode Island. Randy’s broad career has included writing and illustrating nine published books, and running a retail nursery in Seagrove Beach, Florida that won the S. J. Blakely Award in 2003. Back home in New Roads, Randy has planted a small arboretum of trees and shrubs both native and imported, documented in Louisiana by 1860. Randy first attended a SGHS annual meeting at Mount Vernon in 2010. The next year his home was included in the Sunday tours at the Baton Rouge meeting. Randy and his husband Richard Gibbs, an architect and gardener, have been members ever since, and Randy joined the board of directors in 2015. At home they care for two acres of gardens, a 500-year-old live oak, the 200-year-old LeJeune House, and a Siamese cat named Miss Priss.

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