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About the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center

Dixon Center History

The Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center, or the Dixon Center, was established with a gift to Auburn University from Solon and Martha Dixon, residents of Andalusia, Alabama. Solon Dixon’s love of natural resources, Auburn University, and young people created a vision that became reality in 1978 with his donation of 5,350 acres, the Dixon family home, and funds to construct facilities on the property. Eighty additional acres were later added, bringing it to its current size of 5,430 acres.

At the time, this gift was the largest ever made to Auburn University by a living donor. Since its dedication in 1980, the Solon Dixon Forestry Education Center has managed its natural resources and programs to meet the objectives of:

  • providing quality natural resource education to a variety of user groups, particularly Auburn University students
  • providing a base for and support of research efforts in natural resource fields
  • serving as a source of information and technology transfer from the scientific community to the general public
  • managing its natural resources wisely and economically to provide income for the Dixon Center’s programs

The Solon Dixon Vision

Mr. Dixon wanted a place where young people could experience nature while learning about forestry, wildlife, and other aspects of natural resources management. He envisioned a place for applied teaching and learning where people could see and experience the effects of management practices. In the development of the land and center, it is said that Mr. Dixon “wanted a place people could come and learn by putting their hands in the dirt.”

Solon and Martha Dixon standing in a mature pine stand

Dixon Center Facilities

Today, the campus facilities include two “bunkhouse style” dormitories and five “hotel-style” dorms with private/semi-private accommodations. There are separate private/semi-private staff quarters available for visiting faculty. Meals are prepared in a full-service kitchen/dining hall, while most of the Dixon Center’s classroom activities occur in the Charles Dixon Auditorium and the recently constructed 6,500 square foot Solon and Martha Dixon Foundation Learning Center, which houses a state-of-the-art auditorium, classroom, and conference room.

The Charles Dixon Auditorium is a versatile building constructed with a gift from Solon Dixon’s sister-in-law, Mrs. Thelma Dixon, in memory of her late husband. Other buildings include the Martha Dixon Administration Building, recreation building, and maintenance shop. Residences for the Dixon Center director and assistant director are located on the site, as is the historic Dixon Family home, built in the 1830s and preserved as a museum and historic landmark.

Solon Dixon Forestry Education entry road sign by Hwy 29

Meet the Staff

Get to know the Dixon Center staff who are responsible for all land management activities, day-to-day operations, and facility maintenance.

Joel Martin
B.S., Wofford College, 1989, Biology
M.S., Clemson University, 1992, Forestry
Responsibilities: Responsible for the overall forest management of 5,430 acres, maintenance of facilities, supervision of staff, and instruction and coordination of user groups.
John Gilbert
Assistant Director &
Advisor Natural Resources III
A.A., Central Alabama Community College, 2001
B.S., Auburn University, 2003, Forestry
M.S., Auburn University, 2007, Forest Stand Dynamics
Gilbert assists in all levels of forest management of the Dixon Center’s 5,430 acres, including the center’s GIS system, and the facilitation of activities and instruction for user groups.
Susan Cannon
Admin, Support Assoc. II
Susan provides office/administrative support and facilitates the operation of a full-service kitchen/cafeteria and the Dixon Center’s housekeeping staff.
Dustyn Tyer
Forestry Tech IV
Dustyn assists with timber inventory, timber sale preparation, prescribed fire, equipment operation, and maintenance.
Donald Odom II
Forestry Tech II
Donald assists with timber inventory, timber sale preparation, prescribed fire, equipment operation, and maintenance.

Kitchen and Housekeeping Staff

Lisa Macks
Wanda Bradley
Nicholas Holley
Kaleigh Macks
MaKenna Macks
Casherria Sims
Lontac Sims
Renee Sims

3 pans of home-made cinnamon rolls ready for baking

Contact Us

Phone: (334) 222-7779
Address: 12130 Dixon Center Road, Andalusia, AL 36420

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