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Winters’ property provides education, ecology, beauty for generations to come

Published Jan. 29, 2020

The University of Louisiana Monroe Foundation is pleased to announce the establishment of an endowed Professorship in Biology, with matching funds from the Louisiana Board of Regents Sponsored Program, and an endowed scholarship for biology students, both to be named in honor of Dr. Charles Allen from the sale proceeds of 105 acres in Caldwell Parish.  



Through this transaction, the initial donation by Dr. Harry Hall and Mary Lou Winters of 105 acres designated for scientific and educational research is expanded to provide financial support in perpetuity to faculty and students in the ULM Biology program.   


In March 2000, Dr. and Mrs. Winters donated 105 acres in the rolling Ouachita Hills Region near Columbia to the ULM Foundation in honor of Allen, a former ULM professor and accomplished botanist in Louisiana. Over the years, Winters and Allen co-authored several books on the plants of Louisiana and the Gulf South.


The property consists of diverse geological and ecological features rarely seen in Louisiana, including rugged terrain, many plants rare to the state, and native petrified wood. 


ULM biology students (including members of the Nu-Gamma Chapter of Tri-Beta, the National Biology Honor Society) and faculty have organized annual BioBlitz events for more than seven years. This event, led primarily by students, highlights the outdoor classroom – the ULM Biological Station and Charles Allen Nature Preserve. During these all-day events, participants, along with content experts, hike through high ridges and bottomlands on a mission to spot and identify as many life forms as possible, birds, plants, reptiles, amphibians, mammals, butterflies and more. 


“The ULM Biological Station is a gem hidden among the Ouachita Hills. The property is located along the banks of the Ouachita River, and has some of the most unique vegetation in the state along with fossils that are millions of years old. In the past several years, this has been used as an extended classroom by ULM biology faculty,” said Dr. Joydeep Bhattacharjee, professor of biology.


In December 2019, the Caldwell Parish Industrial Development Board purchased the property from the ULM Foundation with the intent to expand their tourism attractions and allow ULM to continue use of the property for educational and research purposes. 


The parish is building a walking trail through the town of Columbia, including the cemetery, building the Sherman Lake in town, and believes the Charles Allen ULM Preservation adds yet another attraction for unique flora and fauna to the area with hiking trails.


About Dr. Harry Hall Winters III – Dr. Winters earned both his Bachelor of Science and Medical Doctor from LSU. Beginning in 1953, he spent the next five years in residencies in the Charity Hospital System in Louisiana. His training was primarily in internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and general surgery. In 1959, he moved to Columbia, where he continued to practice medicine for 35 years and serving many years as the coroner of Caldwell Parish. He also served as president of Area Health Council for North Louisiana. Winters referred to himself as a "small-town country doctor" who made house calls on his patients whom he dearly loved. 


About Dr. Charles M. Allen – Allen earned his Bachelor of Science in Forestry and Master of Science in Botany from LSU. He earned his Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He is a botanist, plant taxonomist, retired professor, noted author, and conservationist who provides a variety of professional ecological and botanical consulting services as well as detailed instruction on plant identification. His in-depth courses provide continuing education for many of the most experienced field biologists and plant professionals and yet can leave the novice student with a much deeper and thorough understanding of plants thanks to his years of experience and patience. Allen taught at ULM from 1991-2001 and was awarded the College of Pure and Applied Sciences Research Award in 1994, Alumni Association Service Award in 1996 and voted favorite professor by Alpha Lambda Delta in 2001.