Posts tagged #environment

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.

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.

 

 

 

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.