By Dottie Head
Sometimes you meet someone who just makes you say “wow!” That was my reaction when meeting Isabella Asztalos, from Norcross. A 13-year-old, home schooled 8th grader and two-year participant in the Atlanta Urban Ecologists (AUE) program, Isabella’s resume is impressive. What’s more impressive is her knowledge of and compassion for the natural world (especially birds!). Young people, like Isabella, give me hope for our future.
Isabella was part of AUE during the 2017-18 school year. She enjoyed it so much that she signed up again for 2018-19. If you’re not familiar with the program, AUE is an 8-month program offered by Atlanta Audubon, Blue Heron Nature Preserve and The Amphibian Foundation. These groups, along with other sponsors, collaborate to offer students in grades 8 through 12 an exciting glimpse into the world of wildlife conservation. By visiting different venues in the metro area, participants gain a diversity of experiences that include going behind the scenes at Zoo Atlanta, banding wild birds, and exploring Arabia Mountain's rich ecological systems. Each session is led by professionals who facilitate the learning and expose students to a variety of conservation and environment-based career pathways.
Isabella was fortunate to connect with Tixie Fowler, though Tixie argues it’s the other way around. Regardless, Tixie and Isabella were neighbors living within easy walking distance of Johnson Dean Forest, a small remnant pocket of forest located near bustling downtown Norcross. Joining them on a recent chilly morning walk through the forest, the camaraderie between the two was evident.
Tixie is the Executive Director of Gardens for Growing Community, a non-profit dedicated to connecting youth and nature. Despite the age difference, Tixie and Isabella hit it right off, and Isabella became Tixie’s “right hand helper” for many of the local workshops and community presentations that she organizes. “Isabella has always been very willing to jump in and help with all the details that go into setting up and running our conservation workshops,” says Tixie. “She also is an avid and hungry learner, and even when the content was on an adult level, she would sit patiently and fully engaged, soaking up every word. Her love for birds and her ability to identify them by song as well as shape and color totally amazes me–I wasn't a birder before I met Isabella, but she opened that world up to me.”
As an environmental educator, Tixie is actively involved in organizing community outreach activities, workshops and presentations. Isabella was usually seen at her side helping set up and manage events. They partnered with the Atlanta Coyote Project in an effort to calm their neighbors' fears about urban coyotes. Isabella helped the Norcross Garden Club conduct a “Bats as Pollinators” workshop and was a huge help at the club's annual plant sales. She also provided Tixie with valued insight into making activities more interesting for kids.
“Isabella was my assistant with the Kids in Conservation summer workshops during which youth spent the day outside exploring the forest learning about various areas of conservation, sort of a mini, localized AUE,” says Tixie. “If anything was boring or confusing, she would suggest ideas on how to make it better for kids.”
“She was also a great help with the other younger participants,” continues Tixie. “Although Isabella doesn't generally talk a lot, when the subject is about birds, wild animals and nature, her whole face lights up, and both kids and adults listen very respectfully to what she has to say. And the AUE instructors love her because she asks great questions!”
Isabella and Tixie are both active with the Friends of Johnson Dean Forest, a group of local conservation-minded volunteers who created and continue to maintain the trails and nurture natural habitat within the 11-acre city preserve. This work, inspired further by what she learned in the Kids in Conservation workshops, motivated Isabella to solicit the Norcross City Council last fall for a mayoral proclamation formally recognizing Johnson Dean as a valuable community asset. She also asked them to commit the funds needed for signage that would designate the preserve as an Atlanta Audubon Certified Wildlife Sanctuary. Isabella was assisted by 7-year-old Abby Maguire, another nature enthusiast she met in the Kids in Conservation workshops.
For their presentation to the City Council, Isabella and Abby laid out Audubon's requirements for certification Wildlife Sanctuary and explained why protecting native birds and plants is important. They engaged (and in some cases stumped) Council by asking several questions such as “what are the four things that wildlife need to survive and thrive?” and “why are birds important?” Taking the request very seriously, Council members asked the two girls several questions in return, and were impressed by their thoughtful and knowledgeable answers.
“After much discussion about protecting native birds and plants, the Mayor asked the girls to name their favorite bird,” recounts Tixie. “Abby instantly replied ‘the flamingo’, which cracked everyone up and basically sealed the deal on the decision to support the girls’ request.”
Fast forward to fall, when Atlanta Audubon certifiers visited the property and, agreeing with the young girls' assessment, officially certified it as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. By this time, Isabella had been invited to serve on Sustainable Norcross' Bee City USA Committee, and asked to help develop a Youth Advisory Committee for the Sustainable Norcross team. Keep in mind, Isabella IS ONLY 13 YEARS OLD!
Unfortunately, Isabella is unable to continue these commitments because her father accepted a new position in south Florida, and Isabella's family relocated just before the first of the year. This ended her involvement with the City of Norcross and broke Tixie’s heart in the process.
“She was my nature buddy—I feel like an essential part of me is missing,” says Tixie. “But her mother recently sent me a video showing the siblings playing in the new pool, while Isabella was totally absorbed in exploring their new backyard and making some well-thought out decisions about where to hang her bird feeders. She truly and deeply loves wild things.”
While we’re all sad to see Isabella move to Florida, we can only imagine what conservation issues she will find to get involved with in her new home. Tixie assures me that they are keeping in touch, and that she will send us updates.
In the meantime, Tixie is helping Isabella sell her bird-themed note cards back here in Atlanta (did I mention that Isabella is also an accomplished artist?) The cards are available in the Atlanta Audubon store, with proceeds split between helping Isabella keep her birdfeeders full of tasty seeds and suet and supporting the Atlanta Audubon programs that have given Isabella the confidence and resources to make a difference in wildlife conservation. You may purchase sets of Isabella’s notecards in the Atlanta Audubon online store.
On Friday, February 8, the Atlanta Audubon Society officially recognized Briarlake Forest Park, in DeKalb County, as an Atlanta Audubon Certified Wildlife Sanctuary. The certification was a collaborative effort between Atlanta Audubon and the Friends of Briarlake Forest. The designation is a fitting tribute for the friends group that has worked tirelessly to protect and restore this 21-acre old-growth forest located near Northlake Mall.
The Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Program encourages both private and public properties to enhance their land for birds and other wildlife by installing native plants and providing food, water, and shelter for birds and other wildlife.
“Atlanta Audubon is thrilled to partner with the Friends of Briarlake Forest Park to add this beautiful old-growth forest to our network of more than 500 certified wildlife habitats in Atlanta and north Georgia,” says Melinda Langston, Atlanta Audubon board member and Wildlife Sanctuary Program Coordinator. “The welfare of birds and other wildlife is directly linked to the quality of food and shelter available to them. The hard work of the friends group has not only created valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife, but has also preserved this wonderful forest located in central DeKalb County for future generations.”
The 21-acre Briarlake Forest Park was acquired by DeKalb County’s Department of Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Affairs in 2015. The Friends of Briarlake Park have worked with DeKalb County to remove invasive plant species, such as privet and English ivy, and to add native plant species, including native azaleas, autumn fern, blueberry bushes, and native grasses that benefit birds and other wildlife. With multiple trails for public use, Briarlake Forest Park boasts more than 60 specimen trees, including a 250-year-old white oak that stands near the house on the property and several magnificent beech trees. Future plans call for the old homestead to be developed into an education center for the community.
“The friends group for Briarlake Forest Park wishes to thank Atlanta Audubon for recognizing the significant habitat that we have been able to save and protect for the future of our community,” says Margo Reynolds, a member of the Friends of Briarlake Forest Park and Chair of the Grounds, Trails, and Maintenance Committee. “Our goal is to maintain an environment that encourages protection for all of our bird species and other wildlife within the forest for generations to come and to educate our children about the value of having green space in our neighborhoods. Having a 21-acre old growth forest in the middle of an urban community is a rare and beautiful asset and having the bird population that the forest supports is a testament to nature that is a joy to behold.”
For more information on certifying a property as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, visit https://www.atlantaaudubon.org/wildlife-sanctuary-certification.html.
Atlanta Audubon Society is committed to building places where birds and people thrive. We create birds -friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
Mark your calendars and make plans to attend Atlanta Audubon’s 4th Annual Atlanta Bird Fest, which will run from April 13 through May 19, 2019. The Southeast’s largest bird and nature festival, Atlanta Bird Fest features a full month of activities, including field trips to Georgia’s best birding hotspots, nature-based workshops, and guest speakers. Events are tailored to all levels of bird, nature, and outdoor enthusiasts—there’s something for everyone!
The 2019 Atlanta Bird Fest will kick off with an event featuring Noah Strycker. In 2015, Strycker set a worldwide record for his Big Year of Birding, spotting 6,042 of the world’s estimated 10,400 bird species in a continuous journey spanning all seven continents from January 1 to December 31. Strycker will be in town the weekend of April 13 and 14 leading birding trips and giving the keynote address at the Atlanta Bird Fest Opening Celebration on Sunday, April 14, at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center.
Over the subsequent four weekend, there will be a variety of events for bird and nature enthusiasts ranging from a bird walk and luncheon at Serenbe, a Wine and Warblers Trip to north Georgia, a bird walk followed by a coffee and chocolate tasting on the Atlanta BeltLine, a field trip to see Red-cockaded Woodpeckers at Piedmont National Wildlife Refuge, a Shorebird Trip to the Georgia coast, and more.
The month-long event will end with a Closing Celebration at Sweetwater Brewery on Sunday, May 19, featuring Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, professor at the University of Georgia’s Department of Geography, the director of the UGA’s Atmospheric Sciences program, and past-president of the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Shepherd is a leading international expert in weather and climate. His TedX Talk on “Slaying the Climate Zombies” is still one of the most-watched lectures about climate change on YouTube. X Atlanta talk on "Slaying the Climate Zombies is still one of the mos
Early registration will begin on March 1, 2019, for Atlanta Audubon Society members and will open to the general public on March 8, 2019. For a complete listing of events or to register, please visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/atlanta-bird-fest.
Atlanta Audubon is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
AWARD WINNING PHOTOGRAPHS ON DISPLAY AT BRICKWORKS GALLERY ROADSHOW OF 2018 BEST AVIAN PHOTOS COMING TO ATLANTA FEBRUARY 9 TO 24
Atlanta Audubon and Brickworks Gallery will host the Audubon Photography Awards Exhibit from February 9 through 24, 2019 at Brickworks Gallery, near the Atlanta BeltLine. A public opening event is planned for Saturday, February 9, from 4:30 to 7:00 PM at Brickworks Gallery. David Ringer, National Audubon Society’s chief network officer, will be in attendance to meet Atlanta Audubon members and guests from 4:30 to 5:30 PM. In addition to promoting greater strength, diversity, and capacity throughout the Audubon network, David leads Audubon’s BirdFriendly Communities program, in which Atlanta Audubon is a leading national chapter. The event is free to attend, but registration is requested.
Selected from more than 8,000 entries, the winning photos were published in the Summer 2018 issue of Audubon Magazine and show bird life at its most vivid, vulnerable, formidable, and elegant. This year’s exquisite photographs celebrate the splendor of many bird species protected under the 100-year-old Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), the most important bird conservation law, which is currently under siege in Congress and by the Department of the Interior.
Following the public opening event on February 9, the exhibit will be open for viewing through February 24 at Brickworks Gallery, located at 686-A Greenwood Avenue NE, in Atlanta. For more information or to register for this free event, please visit www.atlantaaudubon.org/audubon-photography-exhibit.
Parking Information: Parking is very limited. Brickworks Gallery has two dedicated parking spaces and a third shared handicap accessible space. Guests are encouraged to utilize a rideshare service such as Uber or Lyft, or parking may be found throughout the neighborhood on Greenwood Avenue on the east side of Ponce de Leon Place Avenue.
About Brickworks Galley: Brickworks Gallery is located in an historic industrial-era building on the fabulous Atlanta BeltLine. The B. Mifflin Hood Brick Co. building, at 686-A Greenwood Avenue in the Virginia Highland neighborhood, has been refurbished and brought back to life as a gallery and meeting place. The gallery is a 5 minute walk north on the BeltLine from Ponce City Market, and a 5 minute walk down the BeltLine from the south-east corner of Piedmont Park. Come spend a day in our wonderful neighborhood of shops, restaurants and parks and visit the gallery to view our fabulous works. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, from 12:00 to 6:00 PM, or by appointment.
About Atlanta Audubon: Atlanta Audubon is committed to building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.
By Kiana Leveritte, Wildlife Sanctuary Program Intern
Lou Clymore has breathed life into the Atlanta Audubon Audubon Society for more than 12 years as a volunteer certifier for the Wildlife Sanctuary program. After taking a Tree Keepers class with Trees Atlanta, she was introduced to the literary works of Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, and she found the passion to make a difference. She began birding in her back yard, and now Lou doubles as a master birder and gardener, and her fervor for bird-friendly spaces is apparent in the zeal and attention she brings to the seven acres of flora in her back yard. As a certified Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary caretaker herself, Lou brings the same intensity to her yard and its best interests as she does to those spaces she certifies.
In each property she certifies, Lou is a fountain of wisdom pouring out support and advice to the property owners. Some might even consider her an avid environmental educator for her community. Her crusade brings her into different parts of Atlanta's concrete jungle, and she always loves seeing the spectrum of creativity people bring to their yards.
This same spirit of creativity shows when walking through her back yard. Although the beech tree is her personal favorite, Lou’s yard is a Piedmont native wonderland. From the array of native shrubs like hearts-a-bustin’, beautyberry, serviceberry, and American holly to the tall bigleaf magnolia, her yard has many sights to see. She has a glorious pollinator garden, trees, and winding vines that bring persimmons, blackberries, and mulberries into her household when they yield. Like many wildlife sanctuaries, Lou’s yard is home to many birds and other small critters, including beavers. Eastern Phoebes, Blue Jays, and Swamp Sparrows sing in your ears while Red-tailed Hawks, Brown-headed Nuthatches, and Sandhill Cranes fly overhead. It truly is a sight to behold. Everywhere you look, you see her love for the environment: bird boxes, bird baths, ground cover, plant diversity, and minimal invasive species so that the space thrives.
In her 12 years as volunteer certifier, Lou Clymore’s love for birds and the native Piedmont flora shines in the way that she guides people in her certifications and her surrounding community. The advice she offers to those who take the same torch is simple: “Enjoy it. Take in the experience as a volunteer certifier. Make memories, and learn what works as you go.” She also encourages other certifiers not to stray from being inquisitive about the properties and to revisit for clarity if needed. Her last piece of advice is to remain organized and keep copies of all the paperwork used in case of mishaps or misunderstandings.
Lou Clymore, we thank you for all your hard work and dedication to your community and the Wildlife Sanctuary program for the Atlanta Audubon Society. Your efforts are a reminder to us all on what it means to create thriving, bird-friendly spaces in Atlanta and its surrounding areas while encouraging others to do the same.
by Esther Stokes, Stokes Landscape Design and Atlanta Audubon Board Chair
Winter is a favorite time for me in wildlife sanctuaries and natural areas. Instead of a riot of flowers and bees, it is the evergreens that stand out. The berries stand out on winterberry hollies and American hollies. The grasses have lengthened to their full height, and they sway in the cooler winter breeze. There can be a lot of winter bird activity because they feed on all the seeds left from the growing season, some still on the plants and others resting on the ground, just waiting to be discovered by hungry birds. It is a quieter time, but it has its own special charm.
Whether the wildlife sanctuary is a residential garden or a 250-acre nature preserve, most of us bring to it a tendency to want to neaten it up. The growing season is past, we think it looks messy, the seedheads are ratty, some of the grass starts to lay over, and we wish it looked better. And so, before you know it, the gardener is out in the garden with pruners to neaten up. And the maintenance crew for the nature preserve seizes the moment to cut back, mow, prune, etc. We do want to control these spaces.
If you can resist the tendency to whack it all back, just think of the benefits: The birds have more to eat, the mammals have some cover and can find food in the overgrowth, the pollinators have laid eggs on (or in) the leaves or on the stalks, and keeping these things on the property will benefit next year’s populations. Leaving a bit of ground litter in your yard is a simple way to help the yard’s ecosystem remain balanced and keep native birds coming back for future visits.
The trick is to pick just the right time to cut things back or to mow if you have a meadow. We do have to mow (or cut back in the garden) at least once a year, because almost all the land in the Piedmont has a will to return to forest. If we don’t mow, volunteer trees spring up: first the pines and poplars, and then other species. Of course, the opportunistic weeds and plants will germinate as well, so “letting things go” is not an option. We have maintenance responsibilities; we just don’t have to be obsessive about it.
But by the time spring comes, we don’t want to have last year’s growth intermingled with new growth; we want to have things cleaned up by then. And so we must decide how neat we want things to be, how much chaos we can tolerate, and just when to get ready for spring. If you just can’t take the overgrowth, cut things back in most of your area and leave a portion standing for the birds. Do your best to keep leaves on your property for the benefit of the plants and the pollinators. And enjoy the slower time of winter.
by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
On Friday, October 19, 2018, the Atlanta Audubon Society recognized the City of Atlanta’s McDaniel Branch Wetlands as an Atlanta Audubon Certified Wildlife Sanctuary. The designation has been a collaborative effort between Atlanta Audubon Society and the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management (DWM).
“Atlanta Audubon is thrilled to partner with the City of Atlanta Department of Watershed Management to add McDaniel Branch and other wetland areas to our network of more than 450 certified wildlife habitats in Atlanta and north Georgia,” said Melinda Langston, Atlanta Audubon board member and Wildlife Sanctuary program coordinator.
The Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary program encourages both private and public properties to enhance their land for birds and other wildlife by installing native plants and providing food, water, and shelter for birds and other wildlife. “The welfare of birds and other wildlife is directly linked to the quality of food and shelter available to them,” says Langston. “The plantings used in the McDaniel Branch not only help hold the stream banks in place and improve water quality, but they also create valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.”
This 12-acre property is nestled between the south Atlanta and High Point area of the city, and over the past year, plantings of a variety of native plant species have been underway, including wild rye, river oats, black- and brown-eyed Susan, partridge pea, ironweed, Joe-Pye weed, and Mexican hat coneflower. In addition, dozens of native trees, shrubs, aquatics, and riparian fringe species have been planted around the ponds, including red maple, river birch, overcup oak, water oak, American hornbeam, redbud, dogwood, beautyberry, button bush, sweetshrub, spicebush, and witch hazel.
The McDaniel Branch stormwater project was designed to mitigate the impacts of stormwater runoff in and around Atlanta’s intown neighborhoods. The constructed wetlands central to this project mimic natural systems for managing stormwater. As a way to help hold the stream banks of the McDaniel Branch Wetlands in place, the Department of Watershed Management’s Green Infrastructure team installed a number of aquatic and riparian fringe plants, including flatstem spikerush, swamp sunflower, Louisiana iris, pickleweed, bluestem, upland sea oats, cardinal flower and cinnamon fern. A mowing plan has also been implemented to allow native plants to thrive and avoid harming ground-nesting birds and other wildlife during the nesting season.
The wetland is home to variety of bird species, including the Wood Thrush, Green Heron, Orchard Oriole, Indigo Bunting, Common Yellowthroat, and Red-headed Woodpecker.
The McDaniel Branch Wetlands is located at 441 Bowen Circle SW, Atlanta, GA 30315 and is open to the public. If you live in the area, Atlanta Audubon Society encourages you to check it out for birding and outdoor recreation.
For more information on certifying a property as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, visit https://www.atlantaaudubon.org/wildlife-sanctuary-certification.html.
by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
An explosion of color greets visitors arriving at the Roswell home of Mim Eisenberg, and that is just the way she planned it. Even on a chilly, late November morning there are still a smattering of flowering plants adding a splash of color to the autumn landscape. There is also a steady stream of colorful visitors to the bird feeders: the usual collection of titmice, chickadees, cardinals, and wrens and then, much to our delight, a Red-breasted Nuthatch not five feet from where we were standing. Surprise! The purpose of our visit was to certify Mim’s yard as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. Georgia LaMar and Sheryl Berg were the volunteer certifiers, and I was just tagging along to take some photographs.
Nestled on a one-third acre, corner lot in east Roswell, the main garden lies in the side yard, where everyone who walks or drives by can see it. It quickly becomes apparent on the sunny, cool morning we visited that we weren’t the only one enjoying her garden; many of the neighbors, dog walkers, and other passersby were also taking advantage of the visual feast that is Mim’s garden.
Originally from New York City, Mim moved to Atlanta in 1994 because she was tired of apartment living and wanted a house she could afford. Atlanta’s four seasons and short, mild winters were also selling points on her decision to relocate south. “I bought my ranch-style house in 1995 because it’s on a corner, with lovely light coming through the clerestory windows, and I envisioned creating a perennial garden on the land,” says Mim.
A professional editor and oral history interview transcriptionist, Mim is the owner of WordCraft, Inc., receiving copy and interview files from all over the U.S. for transcribing, editing, and proofreading. Fast forward 24 years, and Mim still does contract work, but she also volunteers her time to proofread for Atlanta Audubon, the Georgia Ornithological Society, and other conservation and nonprofit groups, a service that is deeply appreciated. If you’re reading this or any other Atlanta Audubon article or publications, chances are good that Mim has already taken her editor’s pen to it. She’s tough, but she keeps us honest, and it’s good to know that our articles and copy are error free.
On certification day, Mim and her two adorable, energetic dogs, Molly, a tiny, 4-year-old Papillon, and Jazz, a tri-color, almost 2-year-old Pomeranian, show us around the yard. Georgia LaMar, a long-time volunteer certifier, has some questions. “How would you describe your style?” she asks.
“I have a cottage garden filled with a riot of colorful perennials that attract birds and insects and that bloom from early spring to early winter,” says Mim. “Inherently rather lazy, I wanted to create a mostly perennial garden that would attract birds and wildlife while requiring little more than water and occasional fertilizing to be healthy, and so the journey began. And little by little, one by one, I added plants that would flower during three seasons, just as those in my mom's garden in Connecticut used to,” Mim told us.
Mim waited years to certify her yard over concerns it lacked the required 50% native plants, but Georgia and Sheryl assure her that the large overstory oak trees, including red oak, hickory, and sweetgum, are more than adequate compensation for the smattering of non-native plants that provide color and visual interest to the landscape. Mim discusses her plans to add more native plants to her garden in the coming years, but also shares that it can be challenging to find plants that are free of neonicotinoids. This class of insecticides is used to treat many plants that are available at big-box retailers and nurseries. The “neonics,” as they are called, are designed to discourage insects from consuming the plants, but they are water soluble and spread easily in the landscape. Studies have shown that neonics can have disastrous consequences for bees, birds, and other pollinators. Instead, Mim looks for her plants at native plant sales, such as the ones hosted by the Chattahoochee Nature Center or the Georgia Native Plant Society. She also recommends Santa Rosa Gardens in Florida as a great source for neonic-free plants.
As she guides us around, the incessant noise of bulldozers and heavy equipment drones in the background. Much to Mim’s dismay, a 58.4-acre swath of forest behind her home was leveled in October 2016, and a subdivision is slowly going up in its place. This type of rampant clear-cutting for new subdivisions has become all too common in the metro area, and Mim is just sick at the number of trees that have been cut down and the habitat that has been destroyed. “I cherish my garden and am thrilled that there is so much wildlife in it, fulfilling one of my purposes in creating it. Even though it’s just one-third of an acre, I would like to think that some of the creatures displaced by the clear-cutting have found a home in my garden.”
After a tour of the side yard, Molly, Jazz, and Mim lead us into her small, fenced back yard, featuring more native trees, shrubs, raised flower beds, bird houses, a small patio fountain, and bird bath.
“What are your favorite plants?” Georgia asks. “I love all of my plants,” says Mim, “but the two that have over the years paid for themselves many times over are the Lantana ‘Miss Huff’ and my [native] New England aster because they are virtually care free and attract a myriad of butterflies and other pollinators.” Another insect magnet is Veronica spicata ‘sunny border blue’, she says. [Readers, please note that lantana and veronica are not native plants to Georgia.]
In addition to her gardening, Mim is an accomplished photographer and takes photos of the birds that visit the feeders just outside her kitchen window. Over the years, Mim has shared on social media sites photos of the birds and animals that visit her garden. She still posts regularly to www.flickr.com/photos/mimbrava/.
After a tour of the yard, we head inside so that Georgia and Sheryl can compile their notes. Jazz and Molly show off a few of their tricks, including the remarkable ability to recognize and retrieve by name (e.g., green donut, yellow ring, etc.) various toys from the pile near their crates. After a bit of Q&A about outdoor cats (a big no-no) and fertilizer/chemical use (natural/organic only, please), Georgia and Sheryl congratulate Mim and present her with an official Atlanta Audubon Sanctuary sign, adding her to the network of more than 450 Atlanta Audubon certified properties in the Atlanta.
That afternoon, a neighbor friend helped mount the sanctuary sign in her garden, and the very next day an Eastern Bluebird landed on her sign, giving the bird-friendly seal of approval. She snapped its photo and gave us permission to use it on the sanctuary section of our website.
By Steve Phenicie
Everyone else writes to you at this time of year, so a birder should too. Here are some things that the friends of the feather-clad would like this year:
I know this list is a pretty tall order, Santa, but you’ve been known to be very generous.
Atlanta Audubon elected three new members to the Board of Directors at their annual meeting on Sunday, December 9 at Manuel’s Tavern. Leslie Edwards, Evonne Blythers Lapsey, and Ellen Macht were elected for three-year terms, beginning January 1, 2019.
In addition to new board members, Atlanta Audubon welcomed a group of Advisors committed to the mission of the organization who bring unique skill sets, perspectives, and demonstrable leadership, knowledge, or interest in the fields of conservation and ornithology. Advisors include: Marcia Bansley, founder of Trees Atlanta; Giff Beaton, author of Birding Georgia; Mark Berry, Vice President of Environmental and Natural Resources at Georgia Power; Raphael Bostic, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Dr. Robert Cooper, Professor of Wildlife Biology at the University of Georgia’s Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources; Stacia Hendricks, Naturalist Manager at Little St. Simons Island; and John Pruitt, Retired Anchor, WSB TV.
“We are excited to welcome Leslie, Evonne, and Ellen to the Atlanta Audubon Board of Directors and to add this new group of Advisors to our organization,” says Esther Stokes, board chair. “These individuals bring a wealth of talents and experiences to the Board that will help Atlanta Audubon fulfill its mission of building places where birds and people thrive.”
Dr. Leslie Edwards holds a PhD in geography from the University of Georgia and has retired after serving on the faculty of the Department of Geosciences at Georgia State University. She is the lead author of The Natural Communities of Georgia and wrote “The Land, Climate, and Vegetation” portion of The Georgia Breeding Bird Atlas, both published by the University of Georgia Press. Leslie has served on the boards of several conservation-related organizations, and is currently active in Atlanta Audubon’s wildlife sanctuary certification program.
Evonne Blythers Lapsey is currently a Park Ranger/Naturalist with DeKalb County Recreation, Parks & Cultural Affairs and the Director and founder of the Edge of Night Camping Club (ENCC). Formerly, she was an Environmental Education Coordinator for the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA). Evonne has been a passionate Girl Scout leader for nearly 20 years, and a very strong advocate in getting families outdoors. Her latest accomplishment, visiting all 65 Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. Evonne is an enthusiastic participant in Atlanta Audubon’s Taking Wing teacher professional development.
Ellen Macht is one of the founders of Food Well Alliance that exists to unite the local food movement to build a healthier local food system together. She has more than 30 years of experience in corporate and investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, nonprofit management and as a nonprofit board member. Currently, Ellen is the immediate past chair of Georgia Organics and board member and Treasurer of the Atlanta Wealth Building Initiative.
Additional Atlanta Audubon board members include Craig Bell, Charles Bowen, Gina Charles, Linda DiSantis, Roarke Donnelly, Angelou Ezeilo, Shannon Fair, Jairo Garcia, Melinda Langston, Charles Loeb, Ellen Miller, Rusty Pritchard, David Scaefer, Esther Stokes, Bowen, Gina Charles, Ellen Miller, Charles Loeb, Rusty Pritchard, Michael Wall, and Amanda Woomer.
Atlanta Audubon Society is building places where birds and people thrive. We create bird-friendly communities through conservation, education, and advocacy.