Dr. Bernard Cline Outdoor Learning Center
Beginning in 2004, the Flannery O'Connor-Andalusia Foundation began building an Outdoor Learning Center at Andalusia designed to provide public access to a portion of the undeveloped property for recreation and environmental education. In 2010, the Foundation Board of Directors decided to name the Center after Dr. Bernard McHugh Cline, a brother of Regina Cline O'Connor and an uncle of Flannery O'Connor. Dr. Cline was a physician with a specialty in eye, ear, nose and throat medicine, who practiced in Atlanta. He acquired the Andalusia property in the early 1930s. He hired workers to operate the farm, and he came down to Milledgeville on the weekends, where he shared the property as a retreat with his family and friends. He enjoyed raising and riding horses (the photo to the left shows Dr. Cline feeding his colt "Lady Luck" along with his brown and white pony, "Shirley Temple" - circa late 1930s). Dr. Cline also purchased wooded tracts to the north of the farm from other owners, which he left undeveloped as a wildlife preserve. Many years later, this additional property was developed into what is now referred to as the Northwoods residential subdivision.
The Dr. Bernard Cline Outdoor Learning Center includes the restored pond at the bottom of the hill in front of the main house and the pond's perimeter trail. The Center also includes the Lower Tobler Creek Nature Trail, a three-quarter-mile looped trail that crosses Tobler Creek in two locations. The Center features a series of interpretive signs linking the natural landscape to O'Connor's literature, along with identification tags providing information on the various trees along the trail. The Foundation hopes to expand the trail system in the future and construct outdoor pavilions and other structures for recreational and educational activities. Students of all ages use the Center as an outdoor laboratory in fields of study such as environmental science, botany, zoology, geology, and geography. Creative writing students and published authors and poets find inspiration on the trails and near the water.
The Foundation is thankful for the many volunteers and Eagle Scouts who donated labor and materials for the Dr. Bernard Cline Outdoor Learning Center. The Foundation is also very grateful to the following donors for the creation and development of the Center: