‘Stuckie’ found nearly perfectly preserved more than 40 years ago

Published: Mar. 2, 2023 at 10:24 AM EST
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WAYCROSS, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a destination you may not have considered for a fun family day trip or more likely you’ve never even heard of it before.

Southern Forest World has been around for more than four decades but is often overlooked or just forgotten all together, despite one of the most unique attractions you may ever experience.

“So many people will tell me they rode by this building and don’t know what we are. Didn’t bother to stop and come in,” says Southern Forest World Manager Bertha Sue Dixon.

What they are, nearly hidden amongst the trees in Waycross, Georgia, is Southern Forest World.

“Southern Forest World is a museum that is all about the forest,” explains Dixon.

As you step inside the forest is there to greet you. Visitors getting a crash course in all things forest.

From trees, to the dangers of deforestation, animals who live there and all the different products that come from the forest, some of which may surprise you, including products used by NASA.

More than enough to keep it interesting for Dixon.

“I basically learn something here every week. Just something I did not know I pick up.”

Just like those other famous ‘Worlds’ out there, Southern Forest World has plenty of unique attractions.

A 250-year-old Saw Timber, a tree that grew inside a tree, a hollowed out tree, a piece of a tree that dates back to the pilgrims, oh and, “our mummified dog.”

Or as you likely know him, “Stuckie.”

Stuckie was found about 28ft up inside this chestnut oak back in the 1980′s left nearly perfectly preserved.

“All your oak trees have acid, so that’s mummified him. Being hollow also helped him because it gave a chimney affect, so the scent went out the top, so anything attracted to dead flesh didn’t know he was in there. If we wanted to mummify something, we’d use chemicals, his was the natural flow of air going by his body,” Dixon explains.

They believe he was trained to hunt raccoons which is probably what lead him up the tree.

“You can actually tell how good a dog he was because he really tried to get through this hole,” says Dixon.

So, whether it’s because of Stuckie, or just curiosity, Dixon hopes to see more people coming through their doors to explore and learn about the beauty and importance of our Southern Forests.

“I have tried to put Southern Forest World in the limelight. I would say that’s what brings me back every day,” Dixon said.

Southern Forest World will be celebrating 42 years this coming May and they plan to have plenty of events to invite the public to come celebrate with them.

For more on Southern Forest World click here.