Julia Chandler Named South Fork Conservancy Treasurer

Atlanta (Nov. 2016) – Julia H. Chandler, CPA, has joined the board of the South Fork Conservancy as Treasurer. It’s the latest step forward for the nonprofit organization, which is restoring and conserving habitats along Atlanta’s Peachtree Creek, while building trails to provide more access to the natural environment.

Chandler is Vice President and Treasurer of the Carlisle Companies, a $3.5 billion multinational company. She recently relocated from Charlotte to Atlanta.

“The trails are very beautiful and the potential is exciting,” Chandler said. “I am very interested in the efforts to conserve this area within Atlanta and to create natural walking spaces in the city.  I’m also interested in contributing my background while learning from the rest of the board members about the many other disciplines that make this come together.”

Chandler’s responsibilities include monitoring the nonprofit group’s overall financial soundness, as well as helping guide its capital campaign, which recently got a $500,000 infusion of cash from The Kendeda Fund.

“After learning of Julia’s interest and reviewing her qualifications we were very eager for her to join the Board of Directors,” said Board Chair Bob Kerr. “She provides incredible financial and business experience and will fit seamlessly into the role of Treasurer. I’m eager for her to begin the process of adding more rigor and transparency to our financial management.”

Chandler earned her MBA from Carnegie Mellon University with a concentration in Finance & Accounting. She received her undergraduate degree, magna cum laude, from Amherst College.

For information on donating, or visiting South Fork’s urban wilderness trails, visit www.SouthForkConservancy.org. Check our Facebook page for updates.

About South Fork Conservancy

South Fork Conservancy is actively developing walking trails along Atlanta’s Peachtree Creek. Its goal is to conserve the urban waterway, connect existing and future trails, and restore the area’s natural beauty. SFC’s first phase is to create a trail system that connects Buckhead, Atlanta’s upscale business and residential center, with Emory University’s campus. Open trails include The Confluence, Cheshire Farm and Meadow Loop trails in Buckhead, and Zonolite Park in DeKalb County.  

Posted on November 28, 2016 .

South Fork with Sally: Teamwork Builds a Trail!

Co-founder Sally Sears reports from Peavine Creek, near the Emory University campus. 

At the Emory Village Alliance Streets Alive event, I made wreaths - from kudzu that South Fork Conservancy yanked from the creek - and decorated them with flowers.

I got so involved twisting them onto the heads of young boys and girls I didn't notice a young man studying the proposed trail maps on the poster behind me. At first, I thought he might be a little old for a wreath. But his comments were the crown of my day. 

He introduced himself as Lance Harden, cross country coach for Emory's runners. He says his team runs the trails along Peavine and the South Fork daily. And they'd like connections between the existing trails. He loves Zonolite, Herbert Taylor Park and Peavine's shorter trail. Could the trails connect so the runners could use them without having to drive? He offered an upcoming public service day for the team. Could they help?

COULD THEY HELP?

   Photo by South Fork Conservancy Executive Director   Kimberly Estep

Photo by South Fork Conservancy Executive Director Kimberly Estep

Two weeks later, with big approvals confirmed by David Payne, Jimmy Powell and others in the Emory hierarchy too high or low to name here, this happened. Notice Dave Butler, in the green cap on the right. Certified arborist, former Greenspace manager from DeKalb County, wise in the ways of volunteer management. He got the materials to the site, across the green space from 1456 Emory Road, NE. Note the shovels from the Tool Bank are Emory Blue. 

Lance Harden and some thirty of his finest runners showed up on the dot of 9:00 a.m. (College kids on the dot? Wow! What discipline!) And off they went, carving a good running trail from the privet along Peavine Creek, adding some 200 yards of green trail to the Peavine Trail already well used, and installing nine of the dozen expected steps to let the rest of us ease on down the slope to the trail.

 The Emory students opened the new trail with a ribbon-cutting using hedge clippers. 

The Emory students opened the new trail with a ribbon-cutting using hedge clippers. 

Curious neighbors showed up. They helped drag unwieldy litter out of the woods. Enthusiast and landscape architect Kit Eisterhold stayed with Dave Butler, Lance Harden and the crew for the morning's work. Now we have more trail, more trail users, and a well-done day of public service by a winning Emory team.

How great is that?

Thanks, all, for the opportunity provided by Emory Village Alliance Streets Alive to further the South Fork Conservancy's vision of connected creeks and neighborhoods. I'm cheering for the Home Cross Country Team!

Sally

 

South Fork Conservancy Receives $500,000 Kendeda Fund Grant

Sept. 1, 2016 - Plans to connect Buckhead to an urban wilderness is getting a big boost. The Kendeda Fund has pledged $500,000 to South Fork Conservancy, which builds and connects trails along Peachtree Creek in Atlanta and DeKalb County. The Kendeda Fund’s many goals include sustainability and improving connections to the natural world.

The announcement of the grant coincided with the kick-off of South Fork’s first capital campaign: Revealing the Creek. The group hopes to raise more than $2 million to build an iconic pedestrian bridge, footpaths and other improvements that will link the Lindbergh area, PATH400 and the Atlanta BeltLine to South Fork’s existing creekside trails. 

"Kendeda’s magnificent grant gives us a solid base on which we can work to raise additional money – including promised matching funds – and demonstrates that our goal is within reach,” said South Fork Board Chairman Bob Kerr. 

“You have to experience the South Fork Trails to really grasp their importance,” said South Fork co-founder Sally Sears, noting that philanthropist Diana Blank has visited the urban greenspace. “She saw long ago what a difference this very generous grant might make.” 

Key South Fork supporters heard the news at an August 18 event hosted by capital campaign co-chairs Billy Hall and Joni Winston. Shortly before the surprise announcement, urban planner Ryan Gravel, best-known for inspiring the Atlanta BeltLine, recalled collaborating with Hall and Sears on South Fork’s initial Vision Plan.

“This topography and this terrain and this kind of watershed is all over Atlanta, but ‘all over Atlanta’ isn’t doing this,” said Gravel, whose new book is called “Where We Want to Live.” “I think that the South Fork vision here is a real model for the rest of the region in terms of connectivity, stream restoration, nature, biodiversity and all the other kinds of elements that are part of this plan.”

For information on donating, or visiting South Fork’s four completed urban wilderness trails, visit www.SouthForkConservancy.org. Check our Facebook page for updates. 

About South Fork Conservancy
South Fork Conservancy is actively developing walking trails along Atlanta’s Peachtree Creek. Its goal is to conserve the urban waterway, connect existing and future trails, and restore the area’s natural beauty. SFC’s first phase is to create a trail system that connects Buckhead, Atlanta’s upscale business and residential center, with Emory University’s campus. Open trails include The Confluence, Cheshire Farm and Meadow Loop trails in Buckhead, and Zonolite Park in DeKalb County.

South Fork Conservancy Adds Board Members

Atlanta (August 2016) – The South Fork Conservancy, which builds and connects trails along Peachtree Creek, is welcoming two prominent Atlantans to its board. They are: 

  • Glenn Kurtz
  • Christian P. Larsen, M.D., D.Phil.

"These two gentlemen bring additional capabilities to the board and enhance the abilities of the SFC to fulfill its mission,” said South Fork Board Chairman Bob Kerr. “They have excellent experience and exceptional energy, intellect and leadership skills. They also have a strong passion for connectivity of green spaces and neighborhoods through a low impact trail system, providing the opportunity for urban residents to get closer to nature within a reasonable walking distance and offering adults and children alike a nature-based education opportunity, improving both physical and mental health."

         Glenn Kurtz

       Glenn Kurtz

 

Kurtz, director of parking at Georgia Institute of Technology, has been involved in transportation planning and management for more than 20 years. He serves as the chairman of the board for the Atlanta Bicycle Coalition and the Grant Park Conservancy. He also serves on the Green Parking Council’s advisory board. He served several years on the Chastain Park Conservancy’s advisory board and was a member of the 2011 Leadership Atlanta class. Before joining Ga. Tech, he was executive vice president - Transportation and Sustainability for Lanier Parking Solutions. 

  Christian Larsen, M.D.

Christian Larsen, M.D.

 

 

Dr. Larsen is dean of the Emory School of Medicine, CEO and chair of the board of directors of Emory Clinic, and vice president for health center integration for the Woodruff Health Sciences Center. He is an internationally recognized leader in transplant surgery and immunology, and was founding director of the Emory Transplant Center. 

 

 

 

South Fork Conservancy is actively developing walking trails along Atlanta’s Peachtree Creek. Its goal is to conserve the urban waterway, connect existing and future trails, and restore the area’s natural beauty. The group’s goal is to create a trail system that will eventually connect Buckhead, Atlanta’s upscale business and residential center, with the Emory University campus and beyond. Active trails include The Confluence, Cheshire Farm and Meadow Loop trails in Buckhead, and Zonolite Park in DeKalb County. For more information, visit www.SouthForkConservancy.org. 

Posted on August 5, 2016 .

Resolution Honors Martha Porter Hall

The South Fork Conservancy has honored board member Martha Porter Hall for her extraordinary leadership chairing the 2016 Creek Rising Committee. Under her guidance, the event raised more funds than ever before. The resolution follows:

RESOLUTION HONORING AND EXPRESSING APPRECIATION TO

 

MARTHA PORTER HALL

 

WHEREAS, Martha Hall joined the Board of Directors of the South Fork Conservancy with a wealth of experience, knowledge, and a passion for the mission of the SFC; and

 

WHEREAS, The South Fork Conservancy relies on the “Creek Rising Party” as a major fund raising tool; and

 

WHEREAS, Martha Hall accepted the challenge of helming a project unlike any in her environmental, city planning, zoning, and public spaces organizer experience; and

 

WHEREAS, Martha Hall worked tirelessly with her husband Van and a small group of volunteers to lay the foundation for a successful enterprise; and

 

WHEREAS, Martha Hall successfully negotiated the obstacles associated with a major leadership transition; and

 

WHEREAS, Martha Hall was effective in attracting major corporate sponsors and individual donors; and

 

WHEREAS, Martha Hall, aided by her band of volunteers, was successful in influencing, the suppliers, the local businesses, the participants themselves, and even the weather; and

 

WHEREAS, The 2016 Creek Rising Party was the most successful fund raising event in the history of the South Fork Conservancy.

 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Directors of the South Fork Conservancy commends Martha Porter Hall for her unselfish and untiring dedication and service to the people of Atlanta and the mission of the South Fork Conservancy.

 

            Adopted this 16th day of June, 2016

 

Posted on June 21, 2016 .

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Visits Cheshire Farm Trail

Atlanta (May 2016) – The Chief of the National Wildlife Refuge System, Cynthia Martinez, and other top U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) officials visited Cheshire Farm Trail in Buckhead on May 13. They reviewed the successes of the South Fork Urban Wildlife Refuge Partnership and discussed future goals. There are only 17 such partnerships in the entire country; they are designed to boost opportunities for city residents to connect with nature and restore local environments.

Chief Martinez explained that preserving urban greenspace for wildlife is a key priority. "We’re working closely with neighbors and other partners, and today is an excellent on-the-ground example of exactly what that vision was,” Martinez said. “Thank you for what you’re doing. It's not only the community that’s going to benefit, but our nation as a whole."

South Fork board members and partners showed the extensive progress made in removing invasive species, engaging volunteers, planting native shrubs and trees,  and creating access to the trails. They also demonstrated the “Animal Olympics” activity, which features signs in English and Spanish teaching children about animals and encouraging them to emulate their poses. 

“Atlanta’s a fabulous town but one thing we can work on is more greenspace –particularly for the people in the cities who live a little more closely than people in the suburbs,” said South Fork board member and Founding Director Sally Sears. “We’ll build more public investment in connecting all these pieces and building a marvelous refuge for us, when we need sanctuary (and) for the animals, when they want to return to the urban setting where they used to thrive.”

South Fork’s partnership includes a USFWS Five Star grant for a project called “Who’s Home on the Confluence?” The project involves collecting and analyzing data on plant and animal populations and water quality at Peachtree Creek. It also includes building creek access and engaging underserved communities in monitoring and sustaining current restoration and green infrastructure efforts.

Regional USFWS representatives also attended, as well as many nonprofit friends and partners of South Fork. These included Greening Youth Foundation, Atlanta Audubon Society, Trees Atlanta, Georgia Aquarium, the Georgia Department of Transportation and the Latin American Association.

About South Fork Conservancy

South Fork Conservancy is actively developing walking trails along Atlanta’s Peachtree Creek. Designated as an Urban Wildlife Refuge by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the nonprofit organization is named for the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, where many of the trails are located. Its goal is to conserve the urban waterway, connect existing and future trails, and restore the area’s natural beauty. The trail system will eventually connect Buckhead, Atlanta’s upscale business and residential center, with the Emory University campus and beyond. Active trails include The Confluence, Cheshire Farm and Meadow Loop trails in Buckhead, and Zonolite Park in DeKalb County. For more information, visit www.SouthForkConservancy.org.

 

 

 

South Fork Conservancy Hits Fund-Raising Milestone

Atlanta (May 2, 2016) – South Fork Conservancy, a nonprofit group building and connecting trails along Peachtree Creek, has hit a milestone. Its annual “Creek Rising” fund-raiser, held at Zonolite Park in DeKalb County on April 28, raised more than $30,000. That’s twice as much as in the previous year. Atlanta broadcasting icon Monica Kaufman Pearson and her husband, former South Fork board member John Pearson, were the celebrity hosts. Refreshments included South Fork’s signature “Bogwater” cocktails. Activities included a demonstration of water quality testing, as well as tours of the wetland gardens, Peachtree Creek and its sandy banks.

“The vision of children playing in what was once a brownfield while groups of conscientious citizens planned further improvements along South Fork was truly inspiring and I can't wait to see what we do next,” said South Fork’s Executive Director Kimberly Estep. “Special thanks to Creek Rising Committee Chairs Martha Porter Hall and Van Hall, who made sure everything was perfect for our big night,” Estep said.

Organizations and individuals supporting the event, and their level of sponsorship include:

Title Sponsor: The FloatAway Zonolite Community

Bridge Builders: Cox Conserves; Kaiser Permanente; McCarty Property Group; Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP; and UPS

Confluencers: AMLI Piedmont Heights, CM2H, Perkins+Will, Sylvatica Studio and Hammersmith, Inc.

Creek Risers: Catalyst Development Partners, The Integral Group

Host Committee: Rutledge Forney, M.D.; Bob Kerr; George Ickes; Tony and Leisa Powers; and Sally Sears

Event Committee: Martha Porter Hall and Van Hall (co-chairs) and members Sally Bethea, Debra A. Edelson, David Eldridge,  Ivy Claire Eldridge, Celia Lismore, Larry Smith, Rich Sussman, Terri Thornton and Barbara Tucker

Board Members, in addition to those named above:  David Eldridge, Billy Hall, Liza Littrell, Chris Nelson and Ruthie Taylor Norton

In-Kind Donors: Black Sheep Ensemble, Murphy’s, Neighbors and Rocky’s

Many of those involved served in more than one capacity. We also thank our many volunteers!

About South Fork Conservancy

South Fork Conservancy is actively developing walking trails along Atlanta’s Peachtree Creek. Designated as an Urban Wildlife Refuge by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the nonprofit organization is named for the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, where many of the trails are located. Its goal is to conserve the urban waterway, connect existing and future trails, and restore the area’s natural beauty. The trail system will eventually connect Buckhead, Atlanta’s upscale business and residential center, with the Emory University campus and beyond. Active trails include The Confluence, Cheshire Farm and Meadow Loop trails in Buckhead, and Zonolite Park in DeKalb County. For more information, visit www.SouthForkConservancy.org.

Posted on May 2, 2016 .

Kimberly Estep Named South Fork Conservancy Executive Director

Atlanta (April 2016) – Kimberly Estep has joined South Fork Conservancy as its executive director. She will help the organization continue its work building trails, and access to trails, along Peachtree Creek. She will also work closely with the organization’s board to steer expansion and fundraising efforts. 

           Kimberly Estep

        Kimberly Estep

“We are delighted to have Ms. Estep join us at this phase of our development and aspirations,” said Board Chair Bob Kerr. “She brings a wealth of enthusiasm, experience and intelligence.” 

“I am passionate about urban trails,” Estep said. “They connect communities, create a natural wildlife corridor and provide places to exercise. Plus, South Fork’s trails are really remarkable – they exist in areas that desperately need greenspace, and I look forward to helping expand, and create access to them.”

Estep comes to the South Fork Conservancy from the Arabia Mountain National Heritage Area, where she directed communication and stewardship projects. Under her leadership, news coverage, social media presence, volunteerism and programs saw exponential growth. She also built robust partnerships with organizations including Georgia State Parks, Park Pride and Atlanta YMCAs. Throughout her career, she has worked to inspire a love of the outdoors and deep connections to local green spaces. Building and promoting trails and long-term stewardship programs has helped her accomplish this goal. 

"Kimberly is a gifted builder of opportunities,” added South Fork’s founding executive director Sally Sears, who now serves on the organization’s board. “She makes us want to explore our urban creeks and reconnect them to ourselves. She's the perfect choice for South Fork's next chapter linking these new trails to the city. We are in sure hands with Kimberly."

Estep earned degrees in Environmental Studies and Communication from Florida State University and a Masters in Communication from Florida Atlantic University, with a focus on grassroots outreach.

About South Fork Conservancy
South Fork Conservancy is actively developing walking trails along Atlanta’s Peachtree Creek. Designated as an Urban Wildlife Refuge by The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the nonprofit organization is named for the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, where many of the trails are located. Its goal is to conserve the urban waterway, connect existing and future trails, and restore the area’s natural beauty. The trail system will eventually connect Buckhead, Atlanta’s upscale business and residential center, with the Emory University campus and beyond. Active trails include The Confluence, Cheshire Farm and Meadow Loop trails in Buckhead, and Zonolite Park in DeKalb County. For more information, visit www.SouthForkConservancy.org. 

“Animal Olympics” Activity Added to Cheshire Farm Trail in Atlanta

An unlikely parade of animals is set to entertain, educate and exercise children of all ages on a creekside trail in the heart of Atlanta.

The ANIMAL OLYMPICS is an activity kids will find on the Cheshire Farm Trail, which runs between Lindbergh and Cheshire Bridge Roads in Atlanta. The new signs are illustrated with fun facts, and encourage passers to be active and creative by imitating the actions of animals. 

"We love this new way to encourage children of all ages to get outside and have some fun learning their animal neighbors," says Bob Kerr, Chairman of the South Fork Conservancy Board.

   
  
 0 
 0 
 1 
 34 
 199 
 Thornton Communications 
 1 
 1 
 232 
 14.0 
  
  
 
  
    
  
 Normal 
 0 
 
 
 
 
 false 
 false 
 false 
 
 EN-US 
 JA 
 X-NONE 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
 
 
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
    
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  
   
 
 /* Style Definitions */
table.MsoNormalTable
	{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
	mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0;
	mso-tstyle-colband-size:0;
	mso-style-noshow:yes;
	mso-style-priority:99;
	mso-style-parent:"";
	mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
	mso-para-margin:0in;
	mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt;
	mso-pagination:widow-orphan;
	font-size:12.0pt;
	font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;
	mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria;
	mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;}
 
     Left to right, Kevin Lowry, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Mike Fynn, VP Operations, Greening Youth Foundation; Bob Kerr, Chair, South Fork Conservancy; Angelou Ezeilo, CEO and Founder, Greening Youth Foundation; Sally Sears, South Fork Conservancy.

Left to right, Kevin Lowry, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Mike Fynn, VP Operations, Greening Youth Foundation; Bob Kerr, Chair, South Fork Conservancy; Angelou Ezeilo, CEO and Founder, Greening Youth Foundation; Sally Sears, South Fork Conservancy.

 

"With our partners at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, we are making the new trail built by the Georgia Department of Transportation a great place for people to walk, explore and rediscover the beauty of Georgia's creeks inside the city."

Georgia DOT Board Member Stacey Key agrees. 

"Just about everybody wants a chance to get outside and enjoy nature, plus exercise and maybe learn something about the wildlife around us. This project stimulates so many good ideas. I'm happy to support these important concepts of  wellness and diversity education in such a fun way."

The signs are in English and Spanish, and feature ten different animals and insects native to the creeks around Atlanta. 

"I particularly like the Great Blue Heron sign," says Angelou Ezeilo, Founder & CEO of Greening Youth Foundation, a diversity leader in outdoor career placement. "Working with the US Fish and Wildlife Service helps to embrace the very highest standards of wildlife awareness. They know how to make wildlife important and attractive, particularly for urban neighbors who are hungry to re-connect to the outdoors around them."


The sturdy, weather-resistant signs are at home on the new trail, named Cheshire Farm to remember original settlers to the area. It runs beside the creek for half a mile between Cheshire Bridge Road and Lindbergh Drive. Already popular with neighbors, the trail is an early part of the South Fork Conservancy's plan to connect to the BeltLine and the PATH400 trails and up the South Fork of Peachtree Creek to Emory University.  

Parking is available on the Lindbergh Drive end of the trail along Armand  and Lindridge Drives. For more information, visit the South Fork Conservancy website at www.southforkconservancy.org.  

Posted on March 11, 2016 .

Headwater Highlights, July, 2015

Can't Talk. 2 Busy Hydrating!

IT'S HOT! Watch the weeds grow.

Every Monday this long hot summer volunteers bring fun and a keen eye to conditions along the hot Meadow Loop Trail south of Lindbergh Drive. 

Today the Johnson grass was out of control. We tugged out the high blades between the shorter milkweed and were rewarded with a few butterflies. Hot, wet and glorious work. I'd tell you more but I'm hydrating!  -- Sally Sears

Meanwhile Facebook friend Michael Williams reminds us the Monarch Butterflies will be thick on their migration route over Atlanta very soon. Our milkweed should be ready.

  Monarch Butterflies require milkweed for laying eggs. Photo by NatGeo. 

Monarch Butterflies require milkweed for laying eggs. Photo by NatGeo. 

Late summer (late Aug/mid Sept) monarch butterflies migrate from USA down to Mexico...passing right over Atlanta. This spot should be very active with them during that time. - Michael Williams

South Fork & Partners Win Prestigious Grant 

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) announced July 22 that 64 community-led wetland, stream and coastal restoration projects across the nation have been awarded more than $2.3 million in grants. In addition, the grantees have committed an additional $4.8 million in local project support, creating a total investment of more than $7 million in projects that will restore wildlife habitat and urban waters and will engage thousands of volunteers, students and local residents in community-based environmental stewardship projects.

South Fork Board Chairman Bob Kerr acknowledged the importance of the two-year $28,900 grant and thanked the Five Star leaders funding the work. 

"We appreciate every supporter helping this critical work. The Southern Company, EPA, the US Forest Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service,  FedEx, Alcoa Foundation, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company."

The South Fork Conservancy will partner with Park Pride, Trees Atlanta, the Atlanta Audubon Society, Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Georgia Aquarium, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service to promote community education and recreational enjoyment of the urban watershed. The partnership will bring scientists and trained volunteers together to establish protocols for monitoring and recording population data on birds, fish, frogs and invertebrates at the Confluence. The data will be shared through newsletters, field trips, and school and youth group activities, increasing awareness and support for conservation and improved biodiversity along the creek.

The Grit of Young Professionals

Four of a dozen volunteers organized a Young Leadership Council to help guide work along the South Fork and the Olmsted Linear Park. 

Nathan Shannon and Ian Karra share a hike with  Druid Hills High School alumns Allie Brown and Katie Bleau. Join them with regular hikes & events. See calendar here

So, What's in YOUR pocket?

I'm washing my jeans after a day working with volunteers along the South Fork Trails.
And when I clean out the lint trap, ouch! Something sticks into my finger.

Sucking out the thorn, I examine a truly astonishing variety of stuff fluffed into the dryer lint. Flower seed heads, slivers of vine bark and a crunchy plastic wrapper from a strawberry cigarillo.

I remembered putting the cigar wrapper in my pocket when we overflowed our trash sacks picking up litter along the trail. For new volunteers, it's an eye opener, seeing the traces of the people who are learning to love the trail

Today, nine months after the Cheshire Farm trail opened, the litter is mostly beer cans, some fast food wrappers, and light weight paper blown down from the Georgia 400 ramp high over head.
The leaf litter is something else. Every Monday morning since June began, we are clearing the meadow downstream of Lindbergh.

Every day makes the opening more inviting.

On the first Monday, the neighbors in Lindridge Martin Manor came to weed the weed garden. (Love that idea.Weed the Weeds.) Together they won a fat grant from Atlanta's Love Your Block program, and spent it on critical milkweed, the host plant required to entice monarch butterflies to return. Now we get to keep the kudzu and honeysuckle from eating the new milkweed plants. 
On the second Monday, Whole Foods Briarcliff led by manager Marisol Maldonado poured and Mark Lawrence raked mulch to define the walking trails around the oval.
The third Monday Georgia Conservancy brought Johanna McCrehan and Monica Thornton plus a half dozen other people to yank vines. 

Two blue herons flew above us as we worked.

 Johanna McCreahan & Leah Barnett make Ga. Conservancy greener.

Johanna McCreahan & Leah Barnett make Ga. Conservancy greener.

The fourth Monday belonged to Boy Scout Kai Mehra, his mom Lisa Ohno and neighborhood president Carey Sherrell. Barb Tucker led the vine pulling from trees bowed over with the weight of seasons of invasive vine growth.
Every week I worry we will need to borrow the watering pump and hose offered by Park Pride. Every week I wonder where we'll get the extra volunteer in case we need it to get the hose to the creek, the gas in the pump, and the heavy lifting to move it around to our baby plantings. 
On Saturday or Sunday, when it rains, I breathe relief. We will need to water one day. But not this Monday. 
July is seething hot. August is always a challenge. But then there's September, and the gorgeous October in Atlanta is in view. 
We are building a nest of committed volunteers caring for the creek and the trail. Maybe not so much the strawberry cigarillos.

--- Sally Sears

Who is Home at the Confluence?

Tamara Johnson is finding all kinds of surprising wildlife in the creek. She's an Atlanta born scientist with the US Fish & Wildlife Service. Monthly, she and science students including Gabby Griffin are researching which species and how many are able to thrive in the urban waters.

Long-neglected urban waterways like the South and North Forks of Peachtree Creek are often assumed to be lifeless. But new interest by biologists looking at restoring city creeks means Tamara's work has important potential. Sampling and documenting what wildlife is already here will offer a base line of populations to against which progress in restoring more life can be measured.

 This white tuberculed crayfish seems happy and healthy.

This white tuberculed crayfish seems happy and healthy.

What's Next?

Thanks for generous volunteers supporting the South Fork trails this summer.  We are planning regular workdays every Monday , 9 a.m. to N oon,  now through the growing season in October.

It's exciting to see so many people helping crate a new urban meadow for pollinating birds and bees along the creek at Lindbergh.  

The jobs include mulching, trimming tree branches, pulling vines, installing signs and other light-and medium-weight tasks. 

Neighbors in the Lindridge Martin Manor Association agreed to volunteer on the first Monday of every month.

Whole Foods Briarcliff is already engaged for the second Mondays.

The Georgia Conservancy volunteers will be up to their elbows on the third Mondays.

The Fourth Mondays and the two fifth Mondays will see other neighborhoods and organizations working hard to keep the trails attractive, walkable and sustained.  

See the pics on our South Fork Facebook page. Join us and let us put your picture there, too!

Posted on July 29, 2015 .