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Private wildlife sanctuaries open to public Saturday as part of Atlanta Audubon tour

This is one of four private gardens that have been certified as wildlife sanctuaries by the Atlanta Audubon Society that are to be open to the public during a tour Saturday. Credit: Atlanta Audubon Society

By David Pendered

The private gardens of four homes will be open to visitors Saturday as part of the Atlanta Audubon Society’s tour of seven certified wildlife sanctuaries, which is part of a month-long celebration of “Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month,” as proclaimed by Gov. Brian Kemp.

This is one of four private gardens that have been certified as wildlife sanctuaries by the Atlanta Audubon Society that are to be open to the public during a tour Saturday. Credit: Atlanta Audubon Society

The celebration continues the next two weekends of the month, with additional events on Sept. 26 and Sept. 27. Events are planned at various venues in metro Atlanta.

Gardens at four private homes are to be open Saturday, places where the wildlife sanctuaries typically are not open to the public. The addresses of these homes will be provided only to those who buy tickets.

The three public sites on Saturday’s tour include Zonolite Park; Freedom Park Bird and Butterfly Garden; and Tapestry Creek, which was established along Stockade Creek, part of the headwaters of Intrenchment Creek.

Admission to all seven sites is priced at $30 and the self-guided tour is open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by cash or check at any site.

Wildlife sanctuaries have been immensely popular across the metro area. More than 550 wildlife sanctuaries have been certified by Atlanta Audubon. To be certified, the proposed sanctuaries have to meet four criteria for attracting wildlife and birds, according to Atlanta Audubon:

  • Food sources (including at least 50 percent native plants);
  • Nesting sites;
  • Shelter;
  • Water sources.

Homeowners have established elaborate plantings to meet these requirements. Along the way, the description of a “certified wildlife sanctuary” has come to include a respite for humans as well as animals and insects such as butterflies.

The governor signed a proclamation June 25 regarding native bird month. The document mentions an array of social and scientific factors that contribute to the proclamation:

chalk art

The Atlanta Audubon Society’s celebration of ‘Georgia Grows Native for Birds Month’ culminates with a chalk art contest, similar to this one, Sept. 29 at Piedmont Park. Credit: Jessie Parks

  • “Annually, 2.3 million residents and visitors participate in bird and wildlife watching in Georgia, spending $1.8 billion in the pursuit of these activities each year….
  • “Plants that occur naturally in Georgia provide critical insects and other food sources for birds and other wildlife that non-native plants do not…..
  • “Landscaping choices have meaningful effects on the native insects that bird populations need to survive….
  • “By making informed chioices, our stae can grow in harmony with the functional habitat that our bids and wildlife depend on….”

This is the calendar of upcoming events:

Saturday, Sept. 21: 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

  • Concrete Jungle Ramble and Bird Walk in food forests in Piedmont Park/Morningside.
  • Admission: $10 per person.

Sunday, Sept. 22: 9 a.m. to noon.

Flowers that blossoms in meadows at Zonolite Park, in DeKalb County, are among the sights of the Wildlife Sanctuary Tour on Saturday. Credit: Atlanta Audubon

  • Farm-to-Table Brunch with Atlanta Audubon and Georgia Organics – Brunch is to include an omelet station with Wrecking Barn Farm vegetables; a biscuit bar with the farm’s artisanal bacon, housemade sausage, and pork butter, along with local fruits, housemade preserves, and whipped cream. There will also be a Mimosa and Bloody Mary bar and coffee.
  • Wrecking Barn Farm, 4000 Bushy Fork Road, NW, Loganville, GA  30052
  • Admission: $75 per person, to support construction of a tower for chimney swifts.

Thursday, Sept. 26: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

  • Swift Night Out at Brickworks Gallery – light appetizers and beverages
  • 686-A Greenwod Avenue, NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
  • Admission: $12 per person.

Friday and Saturday, Sept. 27 and Sept. 28: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days

  • Native Plant Sale at Chattahoochee Nature Center
  • 9135 Willeo Road, Roswell, GA 30075

Sunday, Sept. 29: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Chalk Art Festival at the Exhibitat at Piedmont Park – Participants will receive a 5-foot-square area to create an artwork regarding Georgia’s native plants and animals; categories include organizations; artists; families.
  • The Exhibitat at Piedmont Park located in Piedmont Commons section near Monroe Drive
  • Cost of squares vary by catetory.

Note to readers: For more information on all events, visit Atlanta Audubon Society.


David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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