by Sandra Kruger, Executive Director of the Olmstead Linear Park Alliance
The old-growth forest at Deepdene in DeKalb County is full of mystery and wonder. With more than 70 bird species, a wide diversity of native trees and plants, and a plethora of wildlife, Deepdene offers visitors an exciting learning environment and a place to relax and unwind. While some visitors prefer to run the trails, others prefer the calm and tranquil welcome of birds singing and cool breezes through the trees. As one enters the forest, the mind begins to calm, and the stresses of everyday life begin to melt away.
Deepdene is a 22-acre forest that was added to the Old Growth Forest Network two years ago. While there are plenty of tall oaks and huge tulip poplars, there are also beautiful understory trees that thrive in the preserve. Unfortunately, there are also a great deal of invasive plants. Through partnerships with the Atlanta Audubon Society and Walter Bland of Rock Spring Restorations, we have been able to clear out these invasive plants and replace them with native ones. The goal was to create a bird-friendly and thriving wildlife sanctuary.
Each month, hard-working volunteers come out to help, and amazing results are our reward. Visitors to Deepdene witnessed May Apple (Podophyllum peltatum), Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis), Eastern Wild Ginger blooming underground (Hexastylis arifolia), Columbine (Aquilegia), and Scarlet Quince (Chaenomeles japonica). A rare type of mottled ginger (Hexastylis shuttleworthii) and Crane Fly Orchid (Tipularia discolor) have also been discovered.
Thanks to all this hard work, Deepdene forest is thriving. On Saturday, June 15, Atlanta Audubon presented Deepdene with its official Wildlife Sanctuary Certification. We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with Atlanta Audubon on this project. It is exciting to see what can flourish when given the right environment.
Be sure to plan a trip to Deepdene to witness the beautiful native wildflowers. You too can discover mystery and wonder of this beautiful, historic forest.