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Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation Teams with ETV Endowment for SC Premiere of “America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell”



Press Release

The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation will to partner with South Carolina ETV and the ETV Endowment of South Carolina in presenting a special, free debut screening of America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell (Episode III) – acknowledging the accomplishments of the Sustainable Forestry & African American Land Retention (SFLR) program through highlighting the work of the Center. The show was shot right here in the Lowcountry.

This program made its national premiere last month in the Oprah Winfrey Theater at the Smithsonian’s National African American Museum in Washington D. C.

“We were privileged to accompany a few of the folks that are featured in this public television program to Washington last month,” Jeanne Stephens, CEO for the Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation, said. “This episode features some of our local forestry landowners who are successful in not only retaining their family land, but through the SFLR program, they are able to increase the lands economic benefits. This allows them to keep their land in the family for future generations.”

America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell (episode 3) is a free event and open to the public. The event will be held Monday, January 27th at the Charleston Music Hall. Doors open at 6:30 pm and the program begins at 7 pm. There will be a panel discussion following the premiere featuring those whose stories were shared in the documentary. Audience members will be able to ask questions about the show or the SFLR program. To reserve your free seat, visit

The show’s host, Chuck Leavell, is one of a kind. Often on tour with the Rolling Stones, he’s both acclaimed as a rock-and-roll piano player and as a conservationist tree farmer. After studying forestry by correspondence and doing much of his homework while riding a tour bus with the Fabulous Thunderbirds in the mid ‘80’s, Chuck and wife Rose Lane White Leavell turned her family’s plantation near Macon, GA., into what has become a textbook tree farm.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Heir’s Property Preservation on the screening of this premiere,” Rachel Chesser, Director of Planned Giving at the ETV Endowment of South Carolina, said. “We’ve had great success with these local premiere screenings in the past. There’s nothing like seeing it on the big screen, and with this one in particular, it’s an added bonus when the show is about determined people in our own community and the success they are having right here in the Lowcountry.”

America’s Forests with Chuck Leavell can be seen on Public Television throughout the entire country. If you can’t make the free premiere, the show will air locally throughout South Carolina on SCETV on Thursday, February 6th at 9 pm and on the South Carolina Channel on Tuesday, February 11th at 9:30 pm.

The Sustainable Forestry & African American Land Retention Program was launched in 2013 as an effort to aid African American landowners in turning their forested properties into economic assets.  The program capitalizes on innovative partnerships between local, state, and federal organizations to assist landowners in this process. SFLR provides a variety of support to these landowners, including access to legal assistance and opportunities for sustainable forestry.

The Center is a non-profit organization that protects heirs’ property and promotes the sustainable use of land to provide increased income to historically under-served landowners.  Its services include: legal and forestry education, direct legal services to resolve heirs’ property title issues, forestry land management services, technical assistance and connection to programs and financial assistance to make these families’ land more profitable.

For more information about the Center, go to: and take a look at their video at:

The Center for Heirs’ Property Preservation has been protecting heirs’ property through legal education and direct legal services since 2005. In 2013, the Center began promoting the sustainable use of land through forestry education and services to provide increased economic benefit to low-wealth family land owners. The Center provides legal services and forestry services in Allendale, Bamberg, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Clarendon, Colleton, Darlington, Dorchester, Florence, Georgetown, Hampton, Horry, Jasper, Marion, Orangeburg, Sumter and Williamsburg counties. 

To date, the Center has provided 2,713 persons with free, one-hour “Advice and Counsel” (A&C) with 602 clients receiving direct legal services to clear title. A total of 1,063 simple wills have been drafted at free, community Wills Clinics; more than 430 families (who collectively own in excess of 22,000 acres) have benefited from various levels of education and expert resources to develop and implement sustainable forestry management plans, and 245 titles have been cleared on family land with a total tax-assessed value of $14.4 million

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