2017 Backyard Wildlife Sanctuary Tour


Saturday, September 16, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

(Event will be held rain or shine!)


Atlanta Audubon Society will host its annual Wildlife Sanctuary Tour on Saturday, September 16, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. In 2017, Atlanta Audubon is excited to partner with the Atlanta History Center to include the Goizueta Gardens on the 2017 tour. Ticket prices include admission to the Atlanta History Center. 


Tickets are $24 for Atlanta Audubon Society & Atlanta History Center members and $30 for non-members. Online ticket sales have ended but tickets may be purchased at any of the six properties using cash or check. Credit cards will be acccepted at the Lost Corner site. 


The tour features six unique properties located along a 19-mile route that runs from Sandy Springs to Atlanta. The tour is self-guided, and visitors must provide their own transportation. The event will take place rain or shine. To respect the privacy of of our private homeowners, Atlanta Audubon will provide street addresses and GPS coordinates of our private home participants at the time of purchase. 


Each property has been certified by Atlanta Audubon Society as a Certified Wildlife Sanctuary because it provides five essential criteria for attracting wildlife and birds: food sources, nesting sites, bird feeders, shelter, and water sources. Visitors will see a wide variety of native plants and trees in a variety of different settings that attract a variety of birds, butterflies and other wildlife. Atlanta Audubon staff and volunteers will be available at each site to guide visitors through the habitats.




Tickets are $24 for Atlanta Audubon Society and Atlanta History Center members and $30 for non-members. Children aged 12 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult. Tickets may be purchased on the day of the event at any of the six locations using cash or check. Credit cards will be accepted at the Lost Corner Preserve site. 


Proceeds from the tour support the education and conservation efforts of Atlanta Audubon Society.




Sanctuary #1: Lost Corner Preserve, 7300 Brandon Mill Road, NW, Sandy Springs, GA, 30328. — Located at the intersection of Brandon Mill and Dalrymple Roads and situated on 24 acres of beautiful woodlands and nature trails, Lost Corner Preserve is a destination for nature lovers and history buffs. The property dates to the mid-1800s and was once a working farm. The property has had only two owners since Native Americans inhabited the land. The park features a community garden, greenhouse, apiary, walking trails, and a renovated cottage. Two fabulous white oak trees grace the walkway 100-year-old, beautifully renovated bungalow. Visitors will see Southern magnolia, black walnut, sweet gum, and a variety of overstory trees on the property. Lost Corner Preserve volunteers have invested countless hours in clearing privet and other invasive plants from the trail. There is a community garden, an active beehive (tended by Sandy Spring Mayor Rusty Paul), a pollinator/Monarch garden, featuring butterfly bush, morning glory, flowering quince, coral bell, and others.  Take time to walk the short trail (about 8/10 mile) down to a stream. On your return trip, check out the small water garden, containing a variety of marsh and bog plants as well as the community garden and bee hives (safely enclosed behind fencing.)


Sanctuary #2: Private home, Sandy Springs, GA, 30328.—If you’re looking for inspiration for your shade garden, you will not want to miss this stop on the 2017 tour, this homeowner has created a showcase in her fully shaded sanctuary in Sandy Springs. Originally part of a parcel of land owned by cartoonist Mark Dodd, this 1½-acre property is nestled in the woods on a sloped lot that leads down to a spring-fed stream. Admire the huge tulip poplars and other large trees as you meander down to the stream. Their gardens include a huge variety of plants, including Joe Pye weed, sweetspire, Jacob’s ladder, mountain laurel, trillium, Piedmont azalea, tree olive, wood aster, St. John’s wort, and a huge variety of ferns. Most of the plants in this garden are “rescues," and whimsical yard art adds color and variety to this relaxing landscape.


Sanctuary #3: Private home, Atlanta, GA, 30327 —This private sanctuary is a wonderful example of doing big things in small spaces. In this compact, city garden, the homeowner has created a delightful outdoor space and an oasis for butterflies and birds. With an amazing collection of feeders and nest boxes, this urban garden boasts a tranquil waterfall and pond complete with catfish, crawdads, and turtles. You’ll also find a practical combination of vegetables (because who doesn't need homegrown tomatoes?) and native plants, including hosta, spider lily, and ferns. A mix of overstory and understory trees, including oak and crepe myrtle, provides shade and creates a quiet place to relax and watch the wildlife that frequents this private sanctuary.


Sanctuary #4: Emma Wetlands at Blue Heron Nature Preserve, 1 Emma Lane, NE, Atlanta, GA, 30342.—Emma Wetlands is a nine-acre tract that is part of the Blue Heron Nature Preserve off Roswell Road in Buckhead. Created in 2000 after a community effort to preserve seven acres of floodplain from development, the Blue Heron Nature Preserve has blossomed into a multi-tract preserve. The goal is ultimately to connect all the properties to Path 400. In 2016, Atlanta Audubon Society, in cooperation with Blue Heron and other partners, received a 5-Star Urban Fish and Wildlife grant to restore habitat and monitor bird populations on the property.Over the past two years, volunteers have removed a large number of invasive plants and replaced them with native perennial and woodland species, including cardinal flower, cutleaf coneflower, devils walking stick, dogwood, eastern red cedar, cinnamon fern, and mist flower. In addition, a wildlife viewing blind was constructed to provide an observation point for the wetlands, which are teaming with birds and other wildlife.


Stop #5: Private home, Atlanta, GA, 30305 – Certified in August 2017, this wooded garden is a work in progress, but what a beautiful addition this property is to our network of certified sanctuaries. Located across the street from Bobby Jones Golf Course, one of the homeowners is an artist, which will become apparent as you meander through the garden. Along the shaded path, you will encounter a delightful variety of artwork and statuary, some she created and other items were imported from her husband’s native South Africa. The property features a beautiful tree canopy with several specimen trees, and a delightful variety of shrubs, flowering plants, vines, and herbs. Asters, salvia, cardinal plant, climbing hydrangea, mountain laurel, toad lily, clematis, wild ginger, and May apple are only a short list of the many plants you’ll see as you tour this fabulous sanctuary. Take the time to walk down the spiritual path to the left of the house to the sacred marriage space where the homeowners were recently wedded. The path was created to bring light into a previously undefined space and provide a respite area where one can enjoy the birds, chipmunks, and squirrels that frequent this area. 


Note on Atlanta History Center: The Atlanta History Center does not open to the public until 10 AM on Saturday, September 16, but they remain open until 5:30 PM and will honor our tickets throughout the day. Please plan your tour visit to arrive at AHS at 10 AM or after.


Stop #6:  Atlanta History Center, 130 West Paces Ferry Road, NW, Atlanta, GA, 30305 - Atlanta Audubon Society is excited to partner with the Atlanta History Center on the 2017 Wildlife Sanctuary Tour. The Atlanta History Center has 22 acres of greenspace, collectively known as the Goizueta Gardens. The Goizueta Gardens features six interpretive gardens, including the Mary Howard Gilbert Memorial Quarry Gardens, the Smith Family Farm, Swan Woods, Sims Asian Garden, and the Frank A. Smith Rhododendron Garden.  With such diversity in its outdoor spaces, Atlanta History Center provides a mosaic of habitats for birds, including native plants, large trees, understory trees, shrubs. Large trees, including American beech and white oak, provide ample cover and food for birds. Understory trees, such as native eastern redbud, Southern magnolia, and sourwood are also prevalent. A variety of native shrubs, including oakleaf hydrangea, American beautyberry, bottlebrush buckeye, and others may be found throughout the garden. You won’t want to miss this stop on the 2017 tour!




On the day of the tour, Atlanta Audubon’s will be selling Cafe Campesino, Atlanta Audubon t-shirts, Brown-headed Nuthatch nesting boxes, bird earrings, bird notecards, field guides, and other items at the Lost Corner Preserve site.




Guests must provide their own transportation and may visit the tour sites in any order they choose. Please note that restrooms are not available at private homes. Public restroom facilities will be available at Lost Corner Preserve and the Atlanta History Center. Please plan accordingly!


Bring binoculars and wear sturdy walking shoes. Visitors will encounter a variety of terrains so please wear appropriate footwear. 


For more information, please contact Dottie Head at 678-973-2437 or email.




Sponsorship of our 2017 Wildlife Sanctuary Tour begins at just $100. Click here to download sponsorship information. For more information, please contact Michelle Hamner.     


Atlanta Audubon wishes to thank event sponsors Rock Spring Restorations, GFWC Dunwoody Woman's Club, Mt. Vernon Printing, and Dunwoody Garden Club, as well as our three private property owners, Atlanta History Center, Blue Heron Nature Preserve (at Emma Wetlands), and Friends of Lost Corner Preserve for their support of the 2017 Wildlife Sanctuary Tour.





Dunwoody Garden Club

Beautifying Dunwoody Since 1967