Category Archives: Conservation

Good News About Trees

trees-atlantaIf you live inside the city limits, Trees Atlanta will give you up to 3 free trees for your front yard and even plant them for you!  It’s part of Trees Atlanta’s NeighborWoods program.  Check it out and sign up for your trees at www.treesatlanta.org/freeyardtree.  These are all wonderful shade trees free for the asking! Now how can you beat that?

While you are on their site, please consider signing Trees Atlanta’s Canopy Alliance Pledge (www.treesatlanta.org/pledge).  These signatures will show Atlanta’s policy makers and influencers your support for protecting our urban canopy!   It only takes a minute, costs nothing and will really help.

Linda's lot prior to construction

Tree-save fence – Darlington Rd. White Oak

Another piece of good news is shown in the photo to the left.  It’s a picture of a tree-save fence around a wonderful White Oak on Darlington Rd.  We estimate the Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) between 36 and 42 inches, making the estimated age about 100 years!

The owners were very careful to make sure that the new house will be situated to save this tree.  Given the recent spate of clear cutting, it’s a very encouraging sight.

Not only the tree is being saved, but so are the countless birds and critters that depend on it.  Photos below show some glamour shots as well as birds enjoying this magnificent tree. Thanks to the owners, and welcome to Peachtree Park!

Future posts will report on the neighborhood’s efforts to significantly improve tree preservation.  In the meantime, you can add to our canopy and increase your property value with free Trees Atlanta trees.

Trees Atlanta –
Free Yard Tree Program
Tree Species List

Protecting Our Amphibians

 

American Toad

American Toad on moss

Just a few nights ago we heard American Toads calling.  It’s a happy sound, usually a harbinger of spring and unusual for this time of year.  But we have heard them occasionally when there is a slight bump up in temperature, and they’ve been calling this month.  One of our past blogs, Frogs in the City, was about frogs in urban areas and frogs that we have here in Peachtree Park.  And, we’re really lucky to have them.

Frogs and salamanders are amphibians, which are an indicator species  of ecological health –  ‘canaries in the coal mine.’  Unfortunately, they are vanishing globally at an alarming rate.

There’s a new organization in Atlanta dedicated to creating and implementing long-term solutions to this crisis.  It’s called The Amphibian Foundation and was started recently by Mark and Crystal Mandica.

image_3-fort_stewart

Mark Mandica during Flatwoods Salamander surveys at Fort Stewart, GA

It’s located close by at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve with state-of-the-art research labs.  There’s also a ‘metamorphosis meadow’, an outdoor area that will hold dozens of ‘mesocosms’ where native species will be bred.  (A mesocosm enables scientists to study the natural environment under controlled conditions.)

It’s an ambitious project with a primary goal of involving our local community in amphibian conservation.  They have volunteers and interns, and hold workshops to help identify Atlanta’s urban species.

Spotted Salamander - Ambystoma maculatum

Spotted Salamander – Ambystoma maculatum

They also created the Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program (MAAMP) with 30 sites that are monitored monthly by citizen scientists.  If you are interested, you can attend a training workshop to help with monitoring activities.  The MAAMP website is a terrific resource for amphibian identification, including the calls of frogs and toads.

Check out The Amphibian Foundation’s website and visit them at Blue Heron Nature Preserve.  Maybe the next time you hear a frog calling or see a salamander in the leaf litter you’ll know who they are!

 

Blue Heron Nature Preserve

Blue Heron Nature Preserve

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Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring

References and Additional Information

[1]  The Amphibian Foundation
[2]  Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program
[3]  Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program: Frog Calls
[4]  Blue Heron Nature Preserve
[5]  Blue Heron Nature Preserve: November 2016 Newsletter
[6]  The Intown Hawk:  Frogs in the City – 2 New Studies
[7]  Wikipedia: mesocosm
[8]  Encyclopedia of Life:  What is an Indicator Species?
[9]  National Geographic: Amphibians

Protecting The Earth With Benign Neglect — Green Gardening with Ann Lovejoy

Ann Lovejoy is a gardener, a national and international lecturer, and an award winning writer and author of numerous books. We’ve read her blog ‘Green Gardening with Ann Lovejoy’ for years. She graciously gave us permission to share a link to this beautifully written post.

Nature Loves (Benign) Slobs

For decades now, I’ve been researching ways to help nurture flora and fauna as well as the planet. Increasingly it seems like many of the same things are devastating or beneficial to every living thing, from sequoias and and whales down to worms and soil dwelling bacteria. Not surprisingly, devastators include…

via Protecting The Earth With Benign Neglect — Green Gardening with Ann Lovejoy

Welcome Home

Growing up in the country near near Atlanta, I could hear Bobwhites making their distinctive Bobwhite calls in the woods and fields nearby; it is a beautiful sound.  The woods and fields in and around Atlanta once were filled with those calls too.  Bobwhite calls are now gone, another victim of habitat loss.

Quail Release

Brett Bannor of the AHC releasing the Bobwhites

But a remarkable thing happened yesterday right here in the heart of Buckhead.  Twenty Northern Bobwhites were released on the 33-acre campus of the Atlanta History Center (AHC). The hope is those calls will return to some of Atlanta’s urban woods.

The credit for this idea belongs to President and CEO Sheffield Hale who was there for the birds’ release.  Goizuetta Gardens and Living Collections Director Sarah Roberts and Manager of Animal Collections, Brett Bannor were also there and told us the focus is on release and conservation.

Bobwhite

Male Bobwhite (photo BS Thurner Hof)

The Bobwhite quail is the only quail native to the eastern United States.  They are predominantly seed eaters, but females eat insects when preparing to lay eggs and chicks eat insects too.  The Bobwhite population has declined 85% since 1960 and 80% don’t live through the first year.  But the History Center’s plan is to replenish their initial population with more birds in hopes of establishing breeding pairs.

Bobwhites prefer early successional habitat, which is harder and harder to find.  However AHC’s Swan Woods has 10 acres of secondary successional forest with strictly Piedmont natives.  And now they have a wildflower meadow with native grasses and other plants, including partridge pea which Bobwhites love to eat.

Bird FestWe were lucky to be on a tour hosted by Atlanta Audubon, part of the Atlanta Bird Fest which continues through May 15.  Atlanta Audubon also has bird walks at the History Center in the summer and fall.

We discovered that there’s much more to explore at the AHC than the main museum and Swan House.  Extensive walking trails go through woods, fields and magnificent gardens.  Conservation abounds and friendly staff is eager to tell you about it, such as an experimental American Chestnut orchard in partnership with the Georgia chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation.  If you haven’t visited the AHC recently, check it out.

Good luck all you Bobwhites.  We’ll be listening for your call.

Quail Release

Bobwhites contemplating freedom