by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Atlanta Audubon has received a $3,000 grant through the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Viewing Grants program to construct and install a 12-foot-tall Chimney Swift tower at Atlanta’s Freedom Park.
The Chimney Swift tower at Freedom Park will complement existing bird- and pollinator-friendly habitat work completed by the Freedom Park Conservancy and their partners at the Freedom Park Bird and Wildflower Garden. Certified as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary in 2018 and located in Freedom Park at the corner of North Avenue and Candler Park Drive, the garden is a site for the reintroduction of native plants and shrubs for bird and pollinator habitat.
Since the 1950s, Chimney Swifts and other aerial insectivores have experienced drastic population declines due to several factors, such as the increased use of pesticides that harms their main prey, flying insects, and the loss of swifts’ nesting and roosting habitat (formerly hollow trees and more recently, man- made chimneys). Chimney Swifts, now listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, have responded to these challenges by increasingly flocking to urban areas that offer abandoned factory smokestacks or historical home chimneys that have been left uncapped and which mimic their natural breeding and roosting sites.
Freedom Park is a free public park born out of formidable citizen activism linking the movements of environmentalism, urbanism, historic preservation and more. As one of Atlanta’s largest public green spaces, Freedom Park spans more than 200 acres, linking diverse areas such as the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site, Old Fourth Ward, Inman Park, Poncey-Highland, the Carter Center and the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library, Candler Park, Druid Hills, Virginia Highland, and Little Five Points.
Atlanta Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and community engagement.
Updated April 2, 2020
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), and Governor Brian Kemp has issued a statewide shelter-in-place order that runs through April 13. Schools will remain closed for the rest of the school year. In addition, on March 23, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued a 14-day Stay-at-Home Executive Order to help flatten the curve as the virus spreads throughout Georgia.
Atlanta Audubon continues to evaluate this situation and is taking a series of precautionary measures to protect the most vulnerable members of our community. In an effort to be proactive and minimize transmission risks, the Atlanta Audubon office will be closed through the month of April, with a re-open date to be determined. All staff will continue to work remotely. We are also canceling and postponing staff- and volunteer-led trips and events through the end of April, including rescheduling Atlanta Bird Fest for fall 2020. We encourage everyone to remain calm throughout this time and to stay abreast of the latest recommendations from health officials. (Resources are listed at the end of this document.)
We are evaluating this situation on a daily basis and will make additional updates as appropriate.
Out of an abundance of caution, we are announcing the following modifications to our upcoming activities. Contact information for the relevant staff are listed below each activity, if you have further questions or concerns.
FOR ALL ACTIVITIES
April Monthly Meeting
Again, we encourage everyone to keep informed of developments, as this situation is rapidly evolving. Atlanta Audubon will continue to follow and adhere to recommendations issued by the CDC. Any changes to our programs and activities will be posted on our website, www.atlantaaudubon.org. General inquiries can be made to Atlanta Audubon at 678.973.2437. Please leave a message and someone will call you back.
Jared Teutsch, Executive Director
Esther Stokes, Board Chair
Georgia Department of Public Health — https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus
Georgia Department of Health Daily Status Report: https://dph.georgia.gov/covid-19-daily-status-report
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
Guest article by Audrey Pruitt, Trees Atlanta
The One Million Trees Initiative is the first of its kind in the United States to connect diverse communities and approaches that protect and improve the urban forest. Led by Trees Atlanta, this initiative is an innovative collaboration of 10 metro Atlanta cities and 10 Atlanta-based nonprofits, working together to combat local climate change and environmental stresses from urban growth.
The impacts of climate change are amplified in urban areas where rapidly growing populations and competing demands for land use intersect. The City of Atlanta is forecasted to more than double in population by 2050, and the same trend is predicted for the entire metro Atlanta region. As more people move into urban areas, demands on metro Atlanta's infrastructure grows. Investing in the natural infrastructure of trees can have high returns on investment and provide many short- and long-term benefits to people.
According to Matt Westmoreland, Post 2 At-Large member of the Atlanta City Council, “One million new trees in metro Atlanta would capture 1.4 billion gallons of water and 530,000 gallons of CO2 every year— reducing stormwater runoff, improving water quality, reducing rates of asthma and heat-related illnesses, and improving air quality.” This bold collaboration demonstrates how local action can make immediate impact. Connie Veates, Co-Executive Director of Trees Atlanta said, “The benefits of trees for the health and wellbeing of people and the urban ecology of metro Atlanta is abundant. Trees Atlanta is proud to be able to coordinate and lead this effort with our amazing nonprofit and municipal partners.”
The first city partner to officially join the One Million Tree Initiative is the City of Atlanta. The Atlanta City Council unanimously passed a resolution on Monday, February 17 supporting the collaborative effort. The first ten metro Atlanta cities to formally commit to joining the initiative are currently being finalized. Greg Levine, Co-Executive Director of Trees Atlanta added, “We’ve been amazed at the level of interest from cities and other municipalities who have reached out to us since we announced the One Million Trees Initiative. We are definitely excited about the possibility of expanding the partnerships beyond ten cities.”
The one million trees will include trees planted in city land and public projects, preserved in forested areas, and installed by individuals on private property, including residential yards and businesses. The One Million Trees Initiative will be completed within ten years.
The initial nonprofit partners committed to the One Million Trees Initiative are Atlanta Audubon, Atlanta Botanical Garden, Georgia Conservancy, Park Pride, The Conservation Fund, The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, WABE, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, and Trees Atlanta.
About Trees Atlanta: Founded in 1985, Trees Atlanta works tirelessly to address Atlanta’s tree loss, protect its forests, and create new green space. Trees Atlanta is a nationally recognized nonprofit citizens' group that protects and improves Atlanta’s urban forest by planting, conserving, and educating. www.treesatlanta.org
About Atlanta Audubon: Atlanta Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and community engagement.
GEORGIA ORNITHOLOGICAL SOCIETY AWARDS GRANT TO ATLANTA AUDUBON FOR PHASE TWO HABITAT RESTORATION WORK AT BIG CREEK GREENWAY
Atlanta Audubon was recently awarded a grant in the amount of $20,900 from the Georgia Ornithological Society’s (GOS) Bill Terrell Avian Conservation Grants fund to implement a second phase of bird-friendly habitat restoration at Big Creek Greenway in Alpharetta. Atlanta Audubon will restore ten additional acres of bird-friendly habitat, building on the 12 acres restored during phase one of this project in 2019. Atlanta Audubon will be partnering with the City of Alpharetta, Georgia Native Plant Society, and the Ed Isakson/Alpharetta Family YMCA to complete this work.
Big Creek Greenway is a linear park extending approximately eight miles from its northernmost point near Windward Parkway in Alpharetta to its southernmost point near Old Alabama Road in Roswell. This park has proven to be an important greenspace for resident and migratory birds in Fulton County, with more than 190 bird observations recorded on eBird, a real-time, online database that has revolutionized the way the birding community reports and accesses information about birds.
The focus of this restoration project will be to create bird-friendly habitat by removing invasive and exotic plant species such as Chinese privet and English Ivy, and installing native plants as appropriate that will assist resident and migratory birds to use the area as nesting, foraging, and stopover habitat.
In addition to the restoration work, Atlanta Audubon will monitor bird activity at the site and will create a set of data from which to better inform conservation decisions in the future. In particular, the data collected through field surveys and banding sessions will provide valuable information on individual and species movement, survival rates, annual apparent reproductive success, habitat selection, species density at focal locations, site fidelity, and dispersal of offspring. Additionally, this project will allow Atlanta Audubon to conduct volunteer work days and community education programming, which will help raise awareness of the importance of birds and healthy habitats.
“Atlanta Audubon’s restoration work at Big Creek Greenway is central to our efforts to make a difference for important urban public green spaces in Atlanta through our participation in National Audubon’s Bird Friendly Communities Program,” says Jared Teutsch, Atlanta Audubon Executive Director. “Alpharetta’s Big Creek Greenway is a highly used public amenity, not only by birders, but also by walkers, joggers, cyclists, and others who enjoy the outdoors. This project combines habitat restoration work with ornithological study, community engagement, and strong public-private partnerships to educate the public about the important dual roles that our parks must play as recreational and therapeutic spaces for people and high quality habitat for wildlife.”
Birds that will benefit from the habitat restoration work include several species that are listed on Georgia’s State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP), including the Brown-headed Nuthatch, Common Grackle, Chimney Swift, Brown Thrasher, Wood Thrush, and Rusty Blackbird. SWAP is a statewide strategy to conserve populations of native wildlife species and the natural habitats they need before these animals, plants, and places become rarer and more costly or difficult to conserve.
“The City of Alpharetta is grateful for our partnership with Atlanta Audubon, whose efforts benefit the local wildlife and residents,” says Jason Binder, Alpharetta City Council Member. “Maintaining natural habitats is essential for us to maintain the natural beauty and wildlife we all enjoy in Alpharetta.”
For more information on the Big Creek Greenway, visit www.alpharetta.ga.us/government/departments/recreation-parks/facilities/big-creek-greenway.
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and community engagement.
Atlanta Audubon recently elected Joshua Gassman, Gus Kaufman, Emmeline Luck, Paige Martin, and LaTresse Snead to the Board of Directors. The board also welcomed Robin Lanier, who joined the board in August, filling a vacant position. These individuals will serve a three-year term that began on January 1, 2020.
Current board members Angelou Ezeilo, Jairo Garcia, Melinda Langston, and Amanda Woomer were also re-elected for a second term. Additional Atlanta Audubon board members include Charles Bowen, Gina Charles, Linda DiSantis, Leslie Edwards, Shannon Fair, Evonne Blythers-Lapsey, Charles Loeb, Ellen Macht, Rusty Pritchard, and Esther Stokes.
“We are excited to welcome Joshua, Gus, Emmeline, Paige, LaTresse, and Robin to the Atlanta Audubon Board of Directors,” says Esther Stokes, board chair. “These individuals bring a wealth of talents and experiences to the Atlanta Audubon Board that will help the organization fulfill its mission of building places where birds and people thrive.”
For nearly 20 years Joshua Gassman has led interdisciplinary teams focused on sustainable design, including net positive water and net positive energy projects. He has successfully managed a broad spectrum of projects, ranging from large research labs for major universities to interpretive and education centers, many of which are nationally-recognized and LEED certified. In his current role as the sustainable design director at the architectural firm Lord Aeck Sargent, he leads the design team for The Kendeda Building for Innovative Sustainable Design at Georgia Tech, which aims to be the most sustainable building ever built in the southeastern U.S. Other projects on which he has worked include the Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center, Chattahoochee Nature & Discovery Center, the Blue Ridge Parkway Visitor Center, The Bascom Visual Arts Center, and the High Museum of Art: Child and Family Education Center.
Gus Kaufman, Jr., is a familiar face to many Atlanta Audubon members who have attended one of his bird walks. A licensed psychologist whose practice is with Oakhurst Psychotherapy Associates, Gus’s love for nature and birdwatching began as a child growing up in Macon, with an Eagle Scout father and a Girl Scout leader mother. Living next to the largest tract of forest in Macon provided the Kaufmans with ample opportunities to hone their bird identification skills. After college, Gus made his way to Atlanta in the fall of 1968, where he was a public school teacher in addition to writing under the pseudonym Smokey Kaufman for the Atlanta-based underground newspaper, the Great Speckled Bird. He later received his master’s in humanistic psychology at West Georgia College and studied psychotherapy in Boston, receiving his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Fielding Graduate University. Gus is a member of the Greater Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Birders (The Gaggle) and, in addition to birding, he still plays soccer (badly, he says) and engages in social activism.
Robin Lanier works in Georgia Power’s Environmental Affairs Organization as the environmental regulatory and strategy manager. In her current role Robin manages the development of Georgia Power’s environmental compliance strategy for all facilities, leads the development of strategy and planning related to the company’s environmental capital budgets, and provides leadership in environmental regulatory activities pertaining to matters before the Georgia Public Service Commission. Robin graduated from the University of Georgia holding a degree in agricultural engineering with an emphasis in structures and structural systems. She has received her Engineering In-Training (EIT) license in the state of Georgia and is also a Certified Energy Manager (CEM) through the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE). In the community she actively participates on the Young Professional Board for the Atlanta Children’s Shelter and is a mentor in Georgia Power’s Women in Engineering program. Robin joined the Atlanta Audubon board in August 2019 to fill a vacancy.
Emmeline (Emme) Luck has worked as the Policy Associate for the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance (SEEA) since June 2018. In this role, she tracks local, regional, and national policy trends and developments to keep stakeholders informed about the evolving state of energy efficiency in the Southeast. She has also completed several research projects and speaking engagements during her time at SEEA. Emme graduated with a dual degree in environmental sciences and French studies from Emory
University. She also earned a sustainability management concentration through the Goizueta Business School. At Emory, Emme also completed The Climate Reality Project Leadership Corps training in March 2019 and serves as the communications director for The Climate Reality Project: Atlanta Chapter, which aims to spread awareness of the climate crisis and its solutions by engaging local communities. Emme grew up in the small coastal town of Sag Harbor, New York, where she first discovered the importance of our natural world and her passion for helping others to connect with their environments. She enjoys exploring Atlanta and learning new things about the Southeast. In addition to her passion for environmental sustainability and conservation, Emme loves hiking, reading, traveling, and practicing yoga.
Paige Martin is a career fundraiser and serves as director of development for global oceans at The Nature Conservancy (TNC), an international leader in marine conservation. Prior to her current role, Paige led the development team for TNC in Georgia and managed a comprehensive $36 million campaign. Paige joined TNC in 2014 after six years at Emory University, most recently as chief development officer for the neurosciences. In addition to her experience at Emory and five years in the corporate world (Fidelity Investments in Boston), Paige has led record-breaking development programs at The Asheville School, Duke University, and All Saints’ Episcopal Church. She holds a master’s degree and bachelor’s degree from Auburn University, both in communication. Paige lives in Atlanta with husband and Centers for Disease Control expert Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, two sons, and two rescue dogs.
LaTresse Snead is Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Building Healthy Cities strategy globally, where she helps develop and promote nature-based solutions for the most pressing challenges facing cities around the world. While advancing strategy, fundraising, and communications efforts, LaTresse oversees a passionate staff who work on everything from greening megacities and researching urban tree canopies to harnessing the potential of stormwater and creatively engaging the world’s billions of city dwellers with nature. Her role also includes helping the Conservancy think through issues of diversity, inclusion, and equity. Prior to this role, LaTresse directed the Conservancy’s Volunteer and Community Outreach programs, where she launched Connect with Nature, a nationwide initiative that has linked thousands of people with natural areas and meaningful volunteer opportunities. Prior to joining The Nature Conservancy, LaTresse worked for a mix of nonprofits and businesses, including the American Red Cross, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, the Georgia chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and Tastefully Simple. She holds a BA in African American studies from San Francisco State University and a MPA with an emphasis in nonprofit management from Georgia State University. When she’s not traveling, she lives outside Atlanta with her husband and son, where she’s an aspiring yogi and cyclist.
For more information on Atlanta Audubon, visit www.AtlantaAudubon.org.
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and community engagement.
Guest article by Theresa Hartz, Atlanta Audubon Volunteer and Master Birder Instructor
The number is staggering. In less than one human lifetime, 2.9 billion breeding birds have been lost from the continental United States and Canada. That is more than one in four birds that have disappeared from our shores, forests, wetlands, grasslands, deserts and neighborhoods. This can be thought of as a balance sheet. Each year birds produce their young while other birds die (naturally and caused by humans). Between 1970 and 2017, many more birds have died than have been hatched and survived.
This astounding and disturbing conclusion is the result of a collaborative study recently published in the journal Science. The research team, which included scientists from the American Bird Conservancy, Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Smithsonian Institution, U.S. Geological Survey, Canadian Wildlife Services, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, studied data collected from 1970 through 2017. The data of the breeding population of 529 species were analyzed using North American Breeding Bird Surveys and Audubon’s Christmas Bird Counts, as well as ten other data sets. The team also analyzed more recent data collected by radar technology that tracks large groups of birds as they migrate in spring and fall.
These are not our "exotic and unusual" birds that have declined so dramatically. More than 90 percent of the total loss of birdlife comes from 12 avian families. We are talking about our backyard and neighborhood birds!
Red-winged Blackbirds are well known, common birds that utilize several habitats. Yet they have declined by one-third. For those of you who grew up in the Midwest, you might recall flocks of colorful Bobolinks flying in the fields. As with several other grassland birds, we have lost an astounding 60 percent of these beautiful birds. The Eastern Towhee is a common backyard bird however we have lost 40 percent of them. Even harder to fathom is the loss of one in four Blue Jays (Blue Jays!!) Common winter feeder birds, such as Dark-eyed Juncos and White-throated Sparrows, are both down by more than 30 percent. One in three Baltimore Orioles are gone. Perhaps you are beginning to grasp the incredible scope of this problem. To paraphrase the American Bird Conservancy, if these birds are in trouble, the wider web of life (including us) is in trouble too. It is not a case of just one canary dying in the mine, it’s almost three billion of them.
Major drivers of dramatic bird declines
Habitat loss through development, agriculture, and resource extraction head the list. When we develop a patch of land that was previously good, messy habitat, the birds have to go elsewhere. The problem now is, "elsewhere" has become scarce. In this same vein is habitat degradation, which occurs when the habitat is changed (often "improved") and becomes less able to support birds. Examples are when a woodland is fragmented or altered by invasive plants, or when water quality is compromised. To keep them green, people use pesticides containing neonicotinoids, which kill birds when they feed on poisoned insects or pesticide-laced seeds, for example. Herbicides kill host plants for insects that birds feed on, and birds die if their prey disappears.
Other major human caused threats to birds are feral or free-roaming cats (a major killer of birds) and collisions with infrastructure (glass buildings, communication towers, wind turbines). The major decline (more than 30 percent) in our native insects mirrors closely the decline in birds. Climate change is expected to exacerbate these threats as well as create new challenges.
The scientists who produced this report believe it is still possible to reverse course and stop this decline. Action at the national scale is needed, and, given the migratory nature of many birds, is indeed also needed at the international level. We need governmental and political leadership to strengthen, not weaken, our environmental laws that have been so successful in the past. Banning DDT and other pesticides brought the Bald Eagle and Peregrine Falcon back from near extinction. Wetland conservation in the Clean Water Act has increased our waterfowl by 50 percent, to the delight of both hunters and birders.
There are three important bills currently in Congress that would help protect birds. The Recover America’s Wildlife Act would increase federal funding for state conservation programs, thus giving the states the ability to decide their unique priorities. These funds would be redirected funds, not new federal dollars. The Bird Safe Building Act would require new and renovating federal government buildings be renovated to include bird-safe materials and design. The Migratory Bird Protection Act would restore provisions in the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (which has been in effect for 100 years) that have been weakened over the last few years.
There are also key actions that we all can take to make our homes, neighborhoods and region a safer and more bird-friendly environment.
People often ask me if I have noticed reduced birdlife since I started birding. I answer, yes, most definitely! Sadly, there is now the data to back up this claim. If we continue down this road of losing 30 percent of birdlife every 48 years, many of our favorite backyard birds won’t be around for anyone to enjoy. Is this really the legacy we wish to leave to our grandchildren?
by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Atlanta Audubon Society has received a $25,800 grant to restore bird-friendly habitat at the Cascade Springs Nature Preserve in Southwest Atlanta. The project is funded through a 2019 Five Star and Urban Waters grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF).
Atlanta Audubon Society will work with seven partners to restore urban bird habitat by removing exotic, invasive plants and installing native, bird-friendly plants and conducting bird surveys in Cascade Springs Nature Preserve located in the Utoy Creek watershed in southwest Atlanta, Georgia. The results will be 12 acres of restored bottomland forest—a priority habitat in the Piedmont region—accompanied by a year's worth of bird population data, interpretive signage, and a series of educational programming with the local community. Partners include the Friends of Cascade Springs Nature Preserve, the City of Atlanta, Georgia Native Plant Society, Rock Spring Restorations, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance, Greening Youth Foundation, and National Audubon Society.
“Atlanta Audubon Society will work with partners to help restore the native forest while also contributing to National Audubon Society’s “Plants for Birds” initiative,” says Adam Betuel, Atlanta Audubon director of conservation. “Restoration efforts will focus on providing improved habitat conditions for resident and migratory songbirds, including many species which have been identified on the State of the Birds Watch List in 2016 and or the Georgia State Wildlife Action Plan, such as Wood Thrush, Brown-headed Nuthatch, Prothonotary Warbler, Canada Warbler, and Cape May Warbler.”
Atlanta Audubon’s restoration goals will focus on freeing the intact native tree canopy and repressed native seed bed by removing invasive, exotic plants such as Chinese privet, English ivy, and Japanese chaff flower and installing bird-friendly native plants as appropriate to supplement the native seed bed and provide more immediate benefits to birds and wildlife. In addition, Atlanta Audubon will conduct educational outreach and volunteer work days, including bird and plant walks and a local school program.
Major funding is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, FedEx, Southern Company, Shell Oil Company, and BNSF Railway. The goal of this grant program is to develop community capacity to sustain local natural resources for future generations by providing modest financial assistance to diverse local partnerships for wetland, forest, riparian, and coastal habitat restoration, as well as stormwater management, outreach, and stewardship with a focus on water quality, watersheds, and the habitats they support. Forty-six projects totaling $1.7 million were awarded, leveraging $4.4 million in matching contributions from grantees, and generating a total impact of more than $6.1 million.
A full list of 2019 projects is available at https://www.nfwf.org/fivestar/Documents/2019grantslate.pdf
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and community engagement.
by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Students and teachers, along with staff from Atlanta Audubon and Convivial Landscapes, worked together on Wednesday, November 20 to install a bird-friendly native plant garden at Heritage Academy in south Atlanta as part of a year-long program to prepare students to become better stewards of our shared environment.
To date, Atlanta Audubon has worked with seven schools through the Connecting Students with STEM through Birds Program, including Boyd Elementary, Cleveland Academy, Continental Colony Elementary, Emma Hutchinson Elementary, Heritage Academy, Main Street Academy, and Usher-Collier Elementary. In addition, Fickett Elementary has also been selected for the 2019-20 school year, and installation of their garden is scheduled for later this year.
With generous funding through the Morgens West Foundation, Wells Fargo Foundation, and Atlanta Audubon members, Connecting Students with STEM through Birds is a comprehensive elementary school program.for federally designated Title I schools in the metro area. Each school receives a bird-friendly outdoor learning area featuring native plants that allows teachers to extend learning outside of the traditional classroom. Atlanta Audubon partners with Convivial Landscapes, LLC, an ecological landscaping company, to select plants and to design and install the garden on school grounds with the help of students and teachers. Additionally, each school receives a classroom set of binoculars, bird- and nature-themed books for the school library, student programming by Atlanta Audubon, and professional development for teachers. Throughout the school year, Atlanta Audubon staff will visit the school to conduct bird-banding demonstrations and other programs to help teach and engage the students with birds and the environment.
“Students are always excited to participate in the garden installations, says Melanie Furr, Atlanta Audubon director of education. “When I return to the schools for programming during the year, the students are eager to point out what they planted and share what they have seen in the garden. I often have students tell me they wish they could go outside and go birding every day. I tell them that they can! Birds are everywhere if we just stop and look.”
Today’s youth will grow up to become tomorrow’s policy experts, decision makers, and community advocates, says Furr. By creating a bird-friendly habitat at the school, Atlanta Audubon is providing a means for the students and the community to learn more about the natural world around them. As students and educators learn more about their local ecosystems and the issues affecting them, they naturally become better environmental stewards.
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
by Georgia LaMar, volunteer sanctuary certifier
When did you decide to make your home an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary? I started gardening for wildlife with native plants after hearing a speech by Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants. Once I fully understood how essential native plants are for birds and pollinators, I was so excited to get started with planting. Finding out that Audubon completely understood the importance of natives was just a gift! I hope to get the neighbors on board with the Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary sign.
How would you describe your style? My goal is to learn enough about native plants and to arrange them in a way that attracts and doesn't repel my neighbors. I want to win them over. My main goal is to spread the idea of planting natives by having a beautiful yard filled with natives. We need to educate others about the importance of what we're doing in our gardens.
What is the one plant you can’t do without? I love my frogfruit (phyla nodiflora) It was so easy to grow and there are little bees and pollinators on it all summer long. It's a host plant, too! https://www.wildflower.org/plants/result.php?id_plant=phno2
What plant gives you the most bang for the buck? I love the insects that come to my Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) the bees, damselflies, and beautiful wasps are amazing.
Do you have a favorite trick? I'm trying to learn which plants you can cut back and when. I LOVE the tall elegance of our natives, but when they completely flop over that can be difficult. This year I cut my Canada goldenrod way back and by September it looked great. It wasn’t flopping at all. It was still tallish, which I like. The general rule I've heard is to cut back before July 4th to make sure you don't interfere with blooming. Now I need to find out which of my other natives can handle being cut back early in the spring to prevent flopping later in the season.
Note: You can follow Leslie’s journey on Facebook @pollinatorfriendlylandscapes.
To learn more about certifying your yard as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, please visit our website.
by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Atlanta Audubon has awarded a Habitat Restoration Fund Grant to the Little Creek Farm Conservancy for habitat restoration work at the Little Creek Horse Farm and Park, in DeKalb County. As part of the grant, Atlanta Audubon will work with the Conservancy to restore a creek bank and create a bird- and wildlife-friendly habitat in an under-utilized meadow area along the South Fork of Peachtree Creek in the north-central portion of the park. The Atlanta Audubon Habitat Restoration Grant is made possible through the generosity of a private donor.
Located at 2057 Lawrenceville Highway in Decatur, the Little Creek Horse Farm and Park is a 40-acre site that encompasses an equestrian facility and greenspace for local residents to enjoy. The South Fork of Peachtree Creek traverses the property from its east to the west borders. The property was designated as a DeKalb County park in 2004 and is one of the last remaining horse stables inside the Atlanta perimeter.
The Little Creek Farm Conservancy, formed in 2007, partners with DeKalb County to provide stewardship of the park and to offer educational, environmental, and recreational outreach programs and events for the public. DeKalb County Parks and Recreation offers operational support, maintains facilities, and provides land upkeep. They are also responsible for animal care.
As part of the grant, Atlanta Audubon will remove invasive plants along the creek bank and meadow and install site-appropriate, native plants. Atlanta Audubon and Little Creek Farm Conservancy will also explore other opportunities enabled by the habitat restoration project like bird species abundance monitoring, community outreach programs, and Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Certification.
“Atlanta Audubon is eager to work with the Little Creek Farm Conservancy to restore the creek bank and create a bird-friendly garden in the meadow area that is filled with native plants that are good for birds and other wildlife,” says Adam Betuel, Atlanta Audubon director of conservation.
“Little Creek Farm Conservancy is deeply grateful to the Atlanta Audubon Society for this opportunity to restore an underutilized park area with native plants suitable to support a broad diversity of wildlife,” says Project Lead, Bobbi Woolwine, Little Creek Farm Conservancy. “This sanctuary is a gift for the community to enjoy and learn about nature. Adam and I are already planning Atlanta Audubon guided bird walks.”
Established in 2018, the Atlanta Audubon Habitat Restoration Grant aims to increase high quality habitat for birds while also increasing community partnerships and educational outreach. Past projects include Henderson Park, in Tucker, and Candler Park Conservancy for work at Candler Park. To learn more about applying for the Atlanta Audubon Habitat Restoration Fund Grant, visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/habitat-restoration-fund.