FREEDOM PARK BIRD & BUTTERFLY GARDEN GETS NEW COORDINATORS

I’m happy to announce that as of February, 2015, the Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden will have some new coordinators. My good friends and nature lovers, Pandra Williams, Jeff Killingsworth, Lauren Sandoval and Beech Hollow Farms  will be adopting the Garden via Park Pride.

All three have had a long term commitment to restoring native habitats and to community education. Pandra currently manages Beech Hollow Farms, a nursery for native plants, which works with communities and organizations to restore native greenspaces. Beech Hollow Farm is a 120 acre native plant farm just outside Lexington, Ga. The Farm is the culmination of a nearly decade long mission to save and propagate plants from the metro Atlanta area threatened by development and invasive species. Pandra has also been the driving force behind EcoAddendum, an organization whose focus has been on education and restoration of native species for pollinators, birds and, butterflies

Jeff is the Nursery Manager at Beech Hollow Farms and is in the process of getting his certificate in native plant studies at the State Botanical Garden He previously worked at EcoAddendum in a similar position. Jeff has been a long term gardener and has been studying ecology centered books for many years.

Lauren, in her day job, is the Youth Education Manager at Trees Atlanta. The Youth Education program uses the Freedom Park Garden as an environmental education tool with students at May Lin Elementary School just up the hill. Previously Lauren has also worked at EcoAddendum where she was closely involved with management and community education projects.

I’ll be stepping back as Garden Coordinator as soon as they take over. I’ve had that position for many years, since the first plant was put in the Garden in the spring of 2005. The Garden was enlarged three times over the years and now has over 40 species of native plants established there. Thanks to Al Hurt of Audubon we have an active bluebird box on site. There is also a bird bath for visitors to take a dip in (birds only please).

The DeKalb Master Garden Association and the Atlanta Audubon Society helped to get the garden started. The Master Gardener Association left a few years ago to go on to other projects. Over the years many neighborhood individuals and organizations helped to keep the garden going. They are too numerous to name here but I can only say how grateful I’ve been for their help!

I feel the community is very lucky to have Pandra. Jeff and Lauren taking things over. I know they will bring a great deal of knowledge, enthusiasm, dedication and energy to the project. They are committed environmentalist and have a special interest in pollinators. I can’t wait to see their vision for the Garden come into being.

Carol Vanderschaaf

2014 FPC Officers

At the Freedom Park Conservancy Annual meeting held the Second Tuesday of November 2013, the new slate of Officers were elected for 2014. New Officers and Committee Chairs for 2014:

2014 Freedom Park Conservancy Executive Directors
President: David Hamilton
Vice President: Edward Holifield
Vice President: Ed Dreistadt
Secretary: William ‘Billy’ Davis
Treasurer: Carol Gregory

2014 Committee Chairs
Park Improvement: Jay Wozniak
PR/Communications: Stephanie Saxon
Nominating Committee: Edward Holifield

Congratulations to all! 2014 looks to be a big year for Freedom Park as the Board begins in earnest the effort to update the park master plan which is long overdue for a refresh. The board also continues its charge to protect the integrity of the park boundary and the lease between GDOT and the City, which is unique to Freedom Park, in the City of Atlanta. In 2013 the FPC Board successfully worked with the Parks Department and Atlanta Public Schools to establish a City resolution for the donation, by APS, of the forthcoming parking lot in Freedom Park adjacent to Mary Lin Elementary School. This resolution is a necessary recognition of the process by which the parking lot was established and most importantly it protects the integrity of the 99 year lease for Freedom Park. Not familiar with the unique history of this great park? Check out this mini documentary.

FPC Board Member Allen Bradley in the news

Allen (right) and friends kayak the Georgia coast.

Allen Bradley would testify under oath to the greatness of the great outdoors. Much of his leisure time is devoted to communing with it: hiking, camping, canoeing. He has even negotiated the Appalachian Trail, the Georgia and Smokey Mountains National Park portions.

In November, the corporate tax attorney with Stites & Harbinson and three buddies took on a demanding test of nature—paddling along the entire Georgia coast in sea kayaks.  Bradley joined Doug Petterson, James Marlow and Phillip Hodges in Hilton Head, S.C., and for the next eight days covered 150 watery miles to Amelia Island, Fla., traveling dawn to dusk…. read the rest of the story on the Daily Report and go here for more photos from the trip.