By Jessi Noreault
At 210+ acres, Freedom Park is one of the largest green spaces within the Atlanta area. A hidden gem located in the park at the corner of North Avenue and Candler Park Drive is the Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden, a site for the reintroduction of native plants and shrubs for bird and pollinator habitat.
On January 15, 2019, Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden became Atlanta’s first certified Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary of 2019! With the certification, the garden will be joining a network of approximately 450 Atlanta properties in reestablishing and adding wildlife habitat for threatened birds and other species to our urban area. To find out more about Atlanta Audubon’s Wildlife Sanctuaries or how you can certify your own property, visit: Atlanta Audubon.
This past November, Beech Hollow volunteers Pandra Williams and Jessi Noreault, worked with members from Cub Scout Pack 586, a Scouts for Equality Inclusive Unit from the Candler Park, Lake Claire, and Inman Park neighborhoods of Atlanta.
Pandra and Jessi guided Cub Scout Pack 586 in identifying invasive species to be removed from the area, how to properly remove plants, identifying desired native plants and how to plant new material. Together we removed Bradford Pear/ Pyrus calleryana.
Pack 586 are fierce with a shovel and did an amazing job digging right down to the roots to get these invasive species out of the garden to make room for planting native plants. Since it was Fall, plants were hard to identify, and some desired native plants had their roots revealed. No worries though, the plants were put right back in the soil without any plant injuries. Best of all, this created a great educational opportunity to discuss and look at plant roots and plant dormancy.
Once we cleared a few areas in the garden, Pandra did a demonstration on how to plant. The scouts planted several native plant species including native Baptisia ssp, Purple Coneflower/ Echinacea purpurea, Georgia Aster/ Symphiotrichum georgianum, and Black-Eyed Susan/ Rudbeckia hirta
Make sure to take a walk-through Freedom Park this spring to check out the blooms from our plantings!
We love being able to get the word out about native plants, work with and help other local groups and get native roots back into their home soil whenever there is an opportunity! If you are part of an organization that is interested in education or plant installations of native Georgia plants, please reach out to us. Every new connection we make is just one more step toward healing our environment. We can’t do it without y’all!