On April 22, The Nature Conservancy in Georgia will launch its new “South River Neighborhood Network” initiative, part of the Conservancy’s global conservation in cities program, in DeKalb and Fulton intown locations.

Atlanta has long been known as the "city in a forest" due to its abundance of trees, uncommon in major cities. Two major river systems, the Chattahoochee River and the South River, run through Atlanta and support the forests, but are largely hidden. Working with Park Pride, the South River Watershed Alliance, Trees Atlanta and many other community partners, this initiative will fund and support five “urban forest” projects led by community revitalization organizations in southeast/southwest DeKalb County and the City of Atlanta, through advocacy, stewardship, education and community building.

 

Projects include:

  • Sugar Creek Farm at the Wylde Center in Decatur: native plant pollinator garden.
  • Chapel Hill Park in Decatur: trail creation to better connect residents, many of whom are seniors, to the park.
  • The 200-acre scenic wetlands Constitution Lakes Park in Southeast Atlanta: invasive species removal/native plant project to improve existing habitat/nesting areas for birds and wildlife.
  • Thomasville Heights in southwest Atlanta/Fulton County: trail creation and neighborhood beautification.
  • Redan Nature Preserve in Stone Mountain: trail creation and tree planting to support 100+ bird species.

All projects are community-driven and address environmental issues including forest protection and restoration, pollinator habitats, greenspace management, invasive species, neighborhood beautification and water quality in the vast network of streams and forests that support south Atlanta communities. The Conservancy will hold community events throughout 2017 to engage local residents in the shared benefits of public green spaces. Deron can discuss how this initiative will heighten community engagement around environmental issues in south Atlanta, help improve air and water quality and connect communities to local greenspaces that drain to the South River, which is about 60 miles long; its watershed drains the entire southeast section of Atlanta.

Other community partners include DeKalb County, City of Atlanta, Atlanta Canopy Alliance, Chapel Hill Park Friends Group, Constitution Lakes Friends Group, Audubon Society, Thomasville Heights Civic League, Wylde Center, Friends of Redan Nature Preserve, Georgia Institute of Technology, Emory University, UGA, the Conservation Fund, American Rivers and Trusts for Public Land.