The Atlanta Audubon Society participated in a conservation project focused on saving Hemlocks. The Hemlock Wooly Adelgid (HWA) is an insect that was introduced from Japan. It attaches to the underside of Hemlock twigs where it will eventually kill the tree. Hemlocks in the North Georgia Mountains have been especially hard hit. AAS worked with Clemson University and the US Forest Service on a biological control method using a small lady beetle from Japan. This beetle is a specialist and feeds only on the HWA. Although some success was observed with the beetle release program, more recent research indicates that the Scymnus coniferarum lady beetle, found in the U.S. west of the Mississippi River may be more effective in controlling the HWA.
The Chattahoochee National Forest is one of our Georgia Important Bird Areas (IBA). Widespread impacts to any tree species have an effect on the ecology of the forest and therefore have a direct impact on the birds that live and breed in these areas. For up to date information on the HWA and control programs visit the Georgia Forest Watch Hemlock Wooly Adelgid Campaign web page.
Freedom Park, home of the Carter Presidential Library, is a 210-acre greenspace of rolling hills near downtown Atlanta. The Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden was established as a joint project of Atlanta Audubon Society and the DeKalb Master Gardener Association. Its goal is to develop a small area of native wildlife habitat in a public space which might, in a small way, restore our vanishing wildlife habitat. Another goal is to provide information to the surrounding community about such habitats as well as involve that community in the development of the garden. The Bird and Butterfly Garden is still managed by the local community and serves as an example of successful habitat restoration in an urban setting.
Atlanta Audubon is attempting to partner with as many local efforts as possible that are in the process of protecting and maintaining valuable greenspaces in our overdeveloped areas. We are able to offer advice on bird-friendly habitat, perform site inventories, lead field trips, certify a property as a wildlife sanctuary, and encourage our members to attend clean-up efforts.
These efforts include work on the Atlanta Beltline, a collaboration with the Atlanta Botanical Garden in local parks, the installation of bird and duck boxes in numerous open spaces, and advising local groups on habitat protection and restoration in their communities. Field trips offered in new developing parks provide an opportunity for people to learn about conservation opportunities in their neighborhoods.