ose Lane Leavell sits in the family room of her
farmhouse in Bullard, Georgia, surrounded by pine.
Much of the 2,500 acres she owns with her husband,
rock keyboardist Chuck Leavell, is planted in pine.
The house, built around 1870 and expanded several
times, is built mostly of pine from their forest,
right down to the floors, ceilings, walls, and even
the kitchen counter tops.
It’s such as integrated tribute to Rose
Lane’s roots in Georgia forestry, which
date back to the 1700s, that it’s easy to miss her
2012 Forest Landowner of the Year Award, also made
partially of pine, which blends into the room from its perch on the mantel.
“The landowner thing is in my DNA,” she says late one June afternoon as the sun begins to cast shadows through the trees of Charlane Plantation. “I don’t know it any other way. You’re born to manage this land. Land owning, hunting, horses, dogs, and especially trees are part of me. They make me who I am.”
Chuck Leavell has used his platform as one of the most accomplished keyboardists in rock music history, most notably for the Rolling Stones for the last three decades, to serve as a tireless advocate for environmental and conservation causes.
He’s perhaps the most visible advocate for the forest industry, though he’s quick to point out he’s not even the foremost tree expert in his immediate family.
“I’ve learned a lot over the last 30 years,” he says. “But Rose Lane has lived this her entire life. It’s in her blood.”
When Chuck Leavell is not on the road with The Stones, playing on tours and albums for a who’s who of other musical groups, or producing his own critically acclaimed work, he and his wife of 39 years run one of the most diverse tree farms in the industry.
Charlane Plantation (www.charlane.com), which is a combination of the first half of Chuck’s given name and the second half of hers, hosts quail hunts, weddings, corporate
outings, school groups, artists retreats, college student researchers, and the occasional group of international visitors the Leavells meet while on tour.
Visitors stay in the Bullard House, an 1835 farmhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in an adjacent lodge built on the site of an original barn. The buildings’ decor includes items from Chuck’s 40-year rock career and heirlooms from Rose Lane’s family.