Jeff Galloway’s Piedmont Park Memories

Jimmy Carter. Changing The Peachtree Road Race Course. A New Relay Race.

I “discovered” Piedmont Park by accident. It was 1960, and I was warming up for my race at a track meet at Grady Stadium. I was nervous, the track was crowded and I wanted to run away from the crowd to settle my mind. I ran across 10th Street and was drawn into the calming natural environment of Piedmont Park. I returned to the track and ran one of my best races that year.

Life experiences during the next decade brought me to Connecticut for college, sailing with the United States Navy off Vietnam, Tallahassee for graduate school and the Olympics in Munich, Germany. By 1975, I was drawn back to Atlanta and looking for the best location for my running store: Phidippides – the original running store in Atlanta, and in the United States.

Before choosing from three possible locations, I took a three-mile run around each store. Once I ran from Ansley Mall along Piedmont Road and found the Park, my choice was made. I remembered my run in high school and was excited to have the wonderful loops and fields so close to the store.

“Regardless of the number of stress items on my “to do list,” the Park’s calming hormones worked their magic as soon as I entered the tree-lined sanctuary.”

As Phidippides became the headquarters for the Peachtree Road Race during the big growth years of 1975-1978, I ran many miles throughout every area of the Park because I had to squeeze in my run during hectic work days. Regardless of the number of stress items on my “to do list,” the Park’s calming hormones worked their magic as soon as I entered the tree-lined sanctuary.

During the first two years that I served on the management team of “The Peachtree”, the race finished at 5 Points in the downtown district. As I was looking for ways to improve the course, I was inspired to change the finish to Piedmont Park during my one of runs from Phidippides. With the help of Director Bill Neace and our Public Affairs Director Bob Brennan, we were able to make this move which is now noted as one of the race highlights.

A special sighting occurred on one my pre-dawn runs in 1978 along Lake Clara Meer. There was a vehicle ahead with some runners in a tight group headed toward me. Since vehicles were not allowed in the park, I was curious. On the outside of this group were several huge guys intently looking at me. As the group ran under a streetlight, I saw President Jimmy Carter on his morning run!

“As the group ran under a streetlight, I saw President Jimmy Carter on his morning run!”

While Piedmont Park was a wonderful resource during the ‘70s and ‘80s, there were a number of problems including areas that were not very safe. This was BC: “Before Conservancy,” which was founded in 1989. There has been a dramatic upgrade in the Park, including safety, due to the work of this great organization.

My favorite run into the Park starts on the BeltLine behind Ansley Mall and into Piedmont Park without having to cross a street. I love to see the dogs in the dog park and then run over to Park Tavern and up to Lake Clara Meer. My Galloway Training Program members have run thousands of miles in Piedmont Park. I trained for my personal marathon record there (2:16), finding an ideal variety of flat and rolling terrain all inside the Park.

My wife Barbara and I are proud to host a 5K, half marathon and kids runs on December 14 and 15 with the major beneficiary being the Piedmont Park Conservancy. This year, we have an exciting new relay division of the half marathon for walkers and runners during the Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute’s Half Marathon, powered by Jeff Galloway. Gather your friends, co-workers, and family members to enter a team. The last segment is less than three miles and entirely inside beautiful Piedmont Park. I will be at the finish line for pictures and congratulations.

I have run in many great parks across the globe. Piedmont Park is truly “world class” due to the work of the Conservancy. Join us for our 6th Annual Race Weekend and support this wonderful organization. Register today at www.jeffgalloway131.com.

Author: Jeff Galloway

Author Bio: Native Atlantan Jeff Galloway ran in the Munich Olympics, founded the first running store in the US (Phidippides), has coached over a million runners and walkers, and directs the Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute’s Half Marathon, powered by Jeff Galloway which finishes in Piedmont Park.

Testing on Treats: Children and Teens Become Scientists for Halloween

For October’s Homeschool Day, students of all ages learned the scientific method with the help of Halloween candy.

K – 5th Grade’s White demo activity, where grade students learned about density, the scientific method and how to make a hypothesis

6th – 12th Grade’s demo activity, where middle and high schoolers learned how to apply the scientific method and create

Walker’s jack-o-lantern, featuring a hydrogen peroxide solution.

Dana Buskovitz, education coordinator, and Kaycee Walker, assistant education coordinator, collaborate together on a science lesson plan for each Homeschool Day, which started one year ago.

“We started Homeschool Day because we wanted to reach out to all students,” Dana said.

The lesson plan was Halloween inspired, just in time for the upcoming holiday. However, there was a twist.

Grade school students hypothesized which candy bars would sink or float.

Middle and high schooler students hypothesized which type of solvents would dissolve candy corn the fastest.

Students were not allowed to eat the candy! But they were able to play with their food as they performed science experiments.

Grade schoolers completed a STEM challenge to construct a cube from gummy drops and toothpicks.

Middle and high schoolers built catapults out of forks, spoons, popsicle sticks and rubber bands. They then competed in a candy corn launching contest to see whose would go the farthest.

If you would like to join the Conservancy for next month’s Homeschool Day, you can register at piedmontpark.org/homeschool. If you would like to sign up for a field trip in the Park, you can schedule a field trip at piedmontpark.org/field-trips.

Author: Jessica Vue

Splish Splash Doggie Bash: Dogs Take Last Dip for the Summer

Over 1,000 humans and dogs alike came to Piedmont Park’s Aquatic Center and Pool to attend this year’s Splish Splash Doggie Bash on October 5 and 6. Ending the summer season with a bang, the Park welcomed four-legged swimmers to take a dip before draining the pool for the fall and winter season. The pool party also offered human friendly bar for dog parents, as well as giveaways, including toys, treats, bandanas and coupons from participating vendors.

Photo credit: Rick Moll

The Piedmont Park Conservancy hosts Splish Splash Doggie Bash every year to raise funds for the Piedmont Park Dog Parks. The Park offers three acres for dogs to run off-leash, separate enclosures for large and small dogs, new trails and landscaping, shady areas, benches and restrooms for dog parents, dog water spickets and weekend concessions including King of Pops with dog popsicles for good boys and girls alike.

Photo credit: Rick Moll

To support the dog parks this holiday season, buy a bone with your pup’s name on it! Learn more at: https://www.piedmontpark.org/support-the-park/dogparksupport/

Author: Jessica Vue

#KnowTheCost – Spreading the Message to Atlantans

Did you know that it takes approximately 668 gallons of water to make a single soccer ball? Over 663 million people worldwide drink dirty water – that’s twice the population of the United States.

#KnowTheCost. This is the message that IBM, in collaboration with the Weather Channel, wanted to spread. The Mill, an experiential and interactive design studio, chose Piedmont Park as the venue to reach as many Atlantans as possible.

“It seemed like a no brainer with the stunning backdrop of Dockside, and the foot traffic the Park attracts,” says The Mill.

The Mill was challenged to ideate a concept to support a Change campaign that IBM and the Weather Channel were launching in June of 2019 to raise awareness around the issue of global clean water scarcity and water footprints. That is when The Mill came up with an activation ultimately called Know the Cost.

The Mill would take everyday items and freeze them in the amount of ice equivalent to the amount of water it takes to produce each one (leveraging global average). In this activation, a t-shirt, soccer ball, coffee cup and plastic T-Rex toy would be on display. They would work alongside a waterfootprint.org scientist to provide and validate the statistics and claims. 

After some online research for parks in the area and a positive testimony, The Mill found Piedmont Park. The Mill says, “the rental was affordable, spacious, convenient and scenic, with great attractions and foot traffic.” Although it was an outdoor activation, The Mill really appreciated having a building included with the rental to store equipment, escape the heat, and utilize the restrooms. Other amenities that were useful included the security option and easy access for load-in and out.

We love when clients come to us with new challenges and opportunities like these, so the hope is that we’ll continue to do even more of these types of activations in the future, says the Mill. “If the opportunity presents itself, we would do another event here.”

To host your next activation or installation in Piedmont Park, contact ldickinson@piedmontpark.org or (404) 537-2831 to reach Leslie Dickinson. Also, visit https://www.piedmontpark.org/corporate/ to learn more.

Honoring the Brown Thrasher: Chalk Art Festival 2019

Have you ever walked through Piedmont Park and stopped for a moment to close your eyes and listen to the birds sing?

Piedmont Park is home to countless birds and other wildlife. No matter what is happening on the grounds of Piedmont Park, there are little creatures with big stories fluttering through the treetops.

In honor of Georgia Grows Native for Birds month in September, the Piedmont Park Conservancy is participating in the Atlanta Audubon Society Chalk Art Festival and highlighting the Brown Thrasher, a common resident of Piedmont Park.

The Brown Thrasher, the state bird of Georgia, is a relatively large songbird that can be identified by their brown feathers, yellow eyes, curved beak, and bold black and white patterns. Brown Thrashers nest in dense wooded areas such as forests, and are the only species of Thrasher found east of Texas. With an omnivorous diet, they are ground foragers and primarily survive on fruits (such as holly berries), seeds, and nuts.

 

Photo credit: Kevin Gaston

The Piedmont Park Conservancy’s design will feature native plants used by Brown Thrashers for food and habitat by illustrating a “bird’s eye view” of the native plants that attract them; a close up of the Brown Thrasher’s eye; and inside the eye will be those native plants such as Holly, Elderberry, Juniper, Dogwood and Serviceberry.

Appreciation goes to our artists: Dana Buskovitz, Krystal Collier, Hannah Hanssens-Reed, and Kaycee Walker!

Please visit the Conservancy’s piece, and all of the art at the Atlanta Audubon Society’s Chalk Art Festival on Sunday, September 29. Chalking occurs from 1-5pm. Voting and awards is from 5-6pm. The festival is located at the Piedmont Commons of Piedmont Park. This location is at the very north end of Piedmont Park.

Party for Piedmont Park: Over $125,000 Raised

On Thursday, September 5, the Piedmont Park Conservancy cheered to 30 years at the Party for Piedmont Park! In the last 30 years, the Piedmont Park Conservancy has invested over $66 million into Piedmont Park, and continues to raise over $3.5 million each year to sustain the maintenance and programming of beautiful Piedmont Park. With more than 700 people in attendance, the Piedmont Park Conservancy was able to raise more than $125,000 for Piedmont Park. 

Guests arrived at Greystone, a gorgeous venue hall with original granite walls overlooking the pool and Lake Clara Meer. Attendees were treated to an open bar, restaurant tastings from Atlanta’s premier spots, a silent auction and an opportunity to snap a picture at the photo booth. Everyone danced through the decades with DJ BIGG H and Ricardo Spicer of Amp’d Entertainment. Finally, attendees shared their stories to be illustrated at a live drawing by The Sketch Effect.

Missed the party? You can still support by donating today!

Join us for our next social fundraiser, the Piedmont Park Beer Garden on Thursday, October 3, 2019.

Thank you to our host committee for planning and supporting an awesome event!

Left to Right: Zak de Leon, Stefanie Agusta, Jeffrey Glover, Carrie Furman, Calvin O’Keeffe, Celia O-Keeffe, Byron Kirkpatrick, Erin Croom, Tahmida Shamsuddin, Arvind Reddy, Katherine Johnson, Justin Wong, Ashley Blackwell, Jenna Wong, Alex Ginsberg

Photo Credit: Rick Moll Photography

Celebrating 15 Years of Fresh Produce at Green Market

Imagine, it’s a beautiful Saturday morning in April where the trees blossom and the birds sing. On this day, the Piedmont Park Conservancy introduces the Green Market to the public as part of its Centennial Celebration. Crowds of people stare in amazement as they await the unveiling. This is the start of something new.

We are proud to commemorate 15 years of Green Market at Piedmont Park. The Conservancy first introduced the Green Market on April 17, 2004 in partnership with the City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs. As a key sponsor and supporter of the program, Kaiser Permanente greatly contributed to the Green Market’s success over the years. Since its debut, the program has influenced the diet and lifestyle of millions of visitors in the heart of Atlanta. 

In the beginning, the Green Market featured high quality, locally-grown produce, prepared goods, flowers, herbs and other specialty items. The program included chef demonstrations designed to showcase how fresh produce could be prepared at home and live music from local bands as entertainment. Now, the Green Market has board-certified dietitians who guide guests in their path of health and nutrition while utilizing market produce. Also, there is a kid-friendly activity center for guests with small children.

 “Green Market gives walkable access to local fresh produce, meat, baked goods and more. How amazing is it to walk out your door on a Saturday morning and do your shopping in one location?!” said Green Market Manager Mary Yetter.

Over the past decade, the staff at the Conservancy have played an integral part in the development of the Green Market. The program has been voted one of the top five farmer’s markets in Atlanta by Access Atlanta, and is currently available on Saturdays, March 30 – November from 9am to 1pm at 12th Street entrance.

In response to this momentous occasion, the Conservancy is hosting a party to celebrate Green Market’s 15th anniversary. Save the date for September 21, 2019.

This blog is in memory of Carrie Jennison, who helped establish the Green Market.

Author: Amari Woods

Ilyssa and Mike: The Perfect Wedding Destination

Piedmont Park is more than Atlanta’s playground, it’s where memories are made.

Ilyssa and Mike first met through a mutual friend at a bar. A few drinks and laughs later, Ilyssa knew she was interested in Mike. From there, the rest is history.

With marriage quickly approaching, the couple needed to find the perfect location. They loved nature and spent a lot of time in New York City’s parks while dating. Mike even proposed at a park! “So in choosing a venue, Piedmont Park was the perfect place – a beautiful park in the middle of the city with lots of natural beauty all around,” said Ilyssa.

What was your favorite part of your wedding?

“Every single part of our wedding was complete magical!! If I had to choose one part, I think I would say the beginning of the wedding at Dockside: the bridal reception and ceremony. These parts were both outside with the beautiful lake in the background, the weather was perfect and it just felt so enclosed by so much stunning natural beauty,” Ilyssa stated.

Dockside is one of Piedmont Park’s most popular wedding venues. With vast trees and a stunning lake, this location is great for any romantic occasion!

The couple invited their closest family and friends to witness their union at this scenic location.

 What was it like to work with Piedmont Park Conservancy staff?

“It was a great experience working with Jane from Piedmont Park! She was always super helpful and attentive from the moment we started considering the venue to after the wedding too,” she said.

The staff at the Conservancy are dedicated to making each experience magical.

As the Director of Facility Rentals, Jane Rollo is responsible for answering any facility questions guests may have, especially the bride and groom. She assisted in making their wedding day special.

Will Piedmont Park play a role in your married life?

“Of course! We actually plan to move to Atlanta this summer and we cannot wait to spend as much time as we can walking, playing, picnicking and of course reminiscing in the park! We also hope to get a pup soon and look forward to bringing the dog to the Piedmont Park Dog Parks too,” she exclaimed.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is grateful to be a part of this wonderful journey that Ilyssa and Mike will remember for the rest of their lives.

“If you are looking for a beautiful, natural venue in the heart of Atlanta, this is your place!! Highly recommended,” said Ilyssa. 

For more information about reserving one of our venues, or if you would like a tour of our venues, please visit: piedmontpark.org/weddings

Photo credit: The Decisive Moment

Author: Amari Woods

https://www.thedecisivemoment.com/

If It Walks Like A Duck

While walking around Lake Clara Meer, you’ve probably noticed ducks either swimming in the lake or hanging out on its banks. Have you ever wondered about the different types of ducks that inhabit the park and when during the year you can find them here?

In fact, more than 10 different types of ducks can be found in Piedmont Park, few of which actually have the word duck in their name.  Listed below are the formal names of ducks you can see during your visit to the park along with descriptive information about each type.  After the duck’s name is the time of year that each has been observed here.

Muscovy Duck (year-round)

With their long necks, heavy bodies, webbed feet and spatula-shaped bills, these birds are instantly recognizable as ducks but there are many clues that help Muscovy ducks stand out from the flock. Their relatively long bill is dark at the base with variable color bands along its length, including white, pale blue-white, and pink, and the nail at the bill’s tip is gray.  Even though the word Muscovy means “from Moscow”, these ducks are not from Moscow.

Ruddy Duck (January)

The ruddy duck is a species of stifftail duck (others include the masked duck and blue-billed duck) and is a diving duck with a spiky stiff tail which is used as a rudder while swimming.  The tail may also be held angled or vertically as a breeding or territorial display especially between competing males.  These ducks often have colorful bills and compact bodies.

Ring-necked Duck (November through April)

The ring-necked duck is a small to medium-sized diving duck that has two white rings surrounding its gray bill, a shiny black angular head, black back, white line on its wings, a white breast and yellow eyes.  The female has a grayish brown angular head and body with a dark brown back, a dark bill with a more subtle light band than the male, grayish-blue feet and brown eyes with white rings surrounding them. This duck is sometimes referred to as a ringbill.

Wood Duck (year-round)

The wood duck or Carolina duck is one of the most colorful North American waterfowl.  Breeding males exhibit ornate, colorful patterns visible up-close but appear dark overall at a distance; females are gray-brown with a thin white ring around the eye.  The wood duck possesses a crest on its head and flies through trees with exceptional maneuverability thanks to its long tail.  Often shy and quick, the wood duck’s call is a loud, screeching whistle.

Mallard (year-round)

Mallards are large ducks with hefty bodies, rounded heads and wide, flat bills.  The mallard’s body is long and the tail rides high out of the water, giving a blunt shape.  Male mallards have a dark, iridescent-green head and bright yellow bill.  The gray body is sandwiched between a brown breast and black rear.  Females and juveniles are brown with orange-and-brown bills. Both sexes have a white-bordered, blue patch on their wings.

Redhead (March)

The redhead goes by many names including the red-headed duck and is easily distinguished from other ducks by the male’s copper-colored head and bright blue bill during the breeding season.  Slightly larger than a ring-necked duck and slightly smaller than a canvasback, the redhead is a medium-sized diving duck with a smoothly rounded head and a moderately large bill.  Redheads have black-tipped, gray bills, and in flight they show gray flight feathers.

Canvasback (December & January)

The canvasback is the largest species of diving duck in North America measuring up to 22 inches in length and weighing up to 3.5 pounds.  The canvasback has a distinctive wedge-shaped head and long graceful neck.  Its sloping profile distinguishes it from other ducks.  Both male and female have a black bill; the male has a chestnut red head and neck while the female has a light brown head and neck.  The canvasback’s legs and feet are bluish-gray.

Northern Shoveler (Spring & Fall)

Appropriately nicknamed the spoonbill, the northern shoveler has the largest bill of any duck in North America. The bill is actually longer than the duck’s head with a flattened wide tip perfect for “shoveling” along the water’s surface for food.  Males have an iridescent green head; females are brown, buff and black with darker upperparts, finer streaking on the head and a faint dark eye line.  Both genders have yellow eyes, and bright orange legs and feet.

Blue-winged Teal (Spring & Fall)

There are more than 20 species of teal ducks throughout the world.  The blue-winged teal is a smaller, petite duck characterized by its short neck and short tail.  Males have brightly marked, distinctive plumage.  The unexpected shades may be difficult to see when the bird’s wings are folded but very colorful when in flight.  Females are more camouflaged with muted, earth tone colors which serve as protection while they are nesting or caring for young ducklings.

Lesser Scaup (January & March)

The lesser scaup is a medium-sized diving duck, smaller than the closely-related greater scaup, with a small peak at the back of the head.  It is colloquially known as the little bluebill or broadbill because of its distinctive blue bill. The lesser scaup is one of the most numerous and widespread diving ducks in North America.  Its name, scaup, may stem from the bird’s preference for feeding on scalp—the Scottish word for clams, oysters and mussels.

Bufflehead (February through April)

Adult males are striking black and white with iridescent green and purple heads and a large white patch behind the eye.  Females are gray-toned with a smaller white patch behind the eye and a light underside.  The bufflehead rivals the green-winged teal as the smallest American duck, measuring under 16 inches long and weighing under 20 oz.  Its name refers to its head shape, noticeable when the male puffs out the feathers on its head, greatly increasing its size.

Hooded Merganser (November & December)

The most prominent feature of this small, slim, streamlined duck is its narrow, serrated, hooked bill.  The merganser is the only type of duck that regularly eats a large amount of fish and similar prey, and its bill is specialized to make this duck a keen and ferocious hunter.  Two other species of this duck includes the common and the red-breasted merganser.

Piedmont Park Ducks – Do’s & Don’ts

Do’s

  • Only offer foods in bite-sized pieces the ducks can easily consume without choking or struggling.
  • Good foods for ducks include bite-sized pieces of apples and tomatoes, cracked corn, chopped kale, bite-sized pieces of romaine lettuce or Swiss chard and watermelon
  • Enjoy the experience of being in nature with these colorful birds

Don’ts

  • Don’t feed bread to the ducks; it’s not good for them
  • Do not allow pets or children to chase or disturb the ducks
  • Stop feeding if the ducks appear uninterested or are leaving the food uneaten, and avoid feeding the ducks if other visitors are already offering treats

Guest Post by Don Disner

AUTHOR’S BIO: Don Disner

Move over Weeds, We ‘Goat’ This

What’s goating on here? If you’ve been to Piedmont Park recently, you may have spotted goats! No need to worry-they are here on purpose. In an effort to clear the Park of overgrown shrubs and invasive species, the Piedmont Park Conservancy introduced goats as a more organic, sustainable option.

We had fun following the goats on their journey!

When the goats first arrived at Piedmont Park, many guests were thrilled to see them. Look at those horns!

All types of goats were used to help with this restoration project. Mostly, the goats were either Boar or Kikos.

The goats were free to eat as much grass as their four stomachs could take. They eat approximately five to seven pounds a day!

Also, there are dogs! Although the goats were fenced in, these two siblings made sure they had extra protection. Meet Bowie and Trudy.

Strike a pose! Who knew goats were so photogenic? We captured this quick picture while the goats were on a break.

Drink up! The goats frequently stopped for water after being in the sun.

Thanks to Get Your Goat Rentals for helping with our restoration efforts!

Author: Amari Woods