by Dottie Head, Director of Membership & Communications
Atlanta Audubon Society has officially recognized Pine Lake, in DeKalb County, as an Atlanta Audubon Certified Wildlife Sanctuary. The certified area includes a 17-acre lake, a park, two adjoining wetlands, and a bio-retention area.
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.
“Pine Lake began as a camping resort to escape the big city of Atlanta, but over time the City had to redefine their vision,” says Megan Pulsts, a Pine Lake city council member who has been involved with restoration effort and who spearheaded the certification on behalf of the City of Pine Lake. “A tremendous amount of effort over many years has been invested in turning Pine Lake into an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary.”
The smallest city in DeKalb County, the City of Pine Lake lies about 12 miles east of downtown Atlanta, off Rockbridge Road. The City and community worked together to remove invasive plant species, such as privet and English ivy, and to add native plant species to provide food and shelter for birds and other wildlife. Pine Lake added more than 150 new trees, 250 bushes, and 36,000 square feet of native wildflower and grass seeding. The focus was on native plant species that tolerate Georgia’s variable weather conditions, ensuring minimal maintenance over the lifetime of plantings.
As its name infers, Pine Lake features a beautiful lake as well as two constructed wetlands and a bio-retention pond that naturally filters storm water runoff and other water flowing through Pine Lake. The western wetlands features clusters of bigleaf magnolia, holly, and redbud trees, as well as blackberry spicebush and winterberries. The Pine Lake dam was seeded with wildflowers and native grasses, and, in the eastern wetlands, Southern magnolia, sycamore, swamp white oak, sweet gum, tulip poplar, native azaleas and other drought-tolerant species were added. Finally, more than 30 new trees were planted in the bio-retention area.
“Atlanta Audubon is thrilled to partner with the City of Pine Lake to add this beautiful lake, park, and adjoining wetlands to our network of more than 550 certified wildlife habitats in Atlanta and north Georgia. This is an amazing area and a true gem in the Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary Program,” 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. Pine Lake has worked diligently in recent years not only to create valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife but also to create a wonderful outdoor space for the residents of Pine Lake.”
For more information on certifying a property as an Atlanta Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary, visit our website. For more information on Pine Lake, visit www.pinelakega.com.