Aerial View Active Oval

The Piedmont Park Conservancy Receives $100,000 Grant from The Home Depot Foundation

The Home Depot Foundation renews its commitment to Piedmont Park and the Active Oval

ATLANTA, GA, December 31, 2019 – This December, the Piedmont Park Conservancy received a $100,000 grant from The Home Depot Foundation (THDF), a renewal of a 16 year commitment to Piedmont Park. THDF renewed its support of the Active Oval, a vast landscape designed to bring recreation and people together through the power of play.

In addition to being the one of the oldest landmarks in Piedmont Park, the Active Oval is one of the most frequented areas with over 350,000 users annually. On any given day, you can find individuals, their families and intramural sports teams engaging in healthy and active play.

The Active Oval at Piedmont Park is currently managed by one landscaper, whose job ranges from turf and drainage management to general repairs. As the only full-time landscaper responsible for all aspects of care within this area, duties include mulching, mowing, weeding, pruning, watering- all types of clean-up, from garbage to keeping the pathways clean and ensuring the equipment located in the area is in good condition. Funding from THDF supports the upkeep of the area and ensures the enhancement of quality of life for its users.

“The Home Depot Foundation is one of the Conservancy’s longest standing and most generous supporters,” says Mark Banta. “Between their skilled team members volunteering in Piedmont Park to financial support and access to critical goods and services, the Foundation is an invaluable partner.”

The Home Depot Foundation partners with national and local nonprofit organizations across the United States to make a difference in the lives of our country’s heroes and to support communities in need. The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a recipient of THDF Hometown Giving Program for Outdoor Spaces.

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The Piedmont Park Conservancy is a member and donor funded nonprofit working in partnership with the City of Atlanta to maintain and enhance historic Piedmont Park. Founded in 1989, the Conservancy raises over $3 million each year to enhance and maintain the park. Today, the Conservancy manages over 90% of the overall maintenance and security of Piedmont Park.

Contact: Amy Han Risher
Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations
Piedmont Park Conservancy
E: arisher@piedmontpark.org
P: (404) 480-3758

 

Aerial View Active Oval

Active Oval in Piedmont Park

 

Landscapers with Home Depot Bags

The Home Depot Foundation Provides Gift Cards to the Piedmont Park Conservancy as Part of the Grant

How to Exercise Safely During the Cold Season

When winter’s long and cold days descend, it can be hard to wake up in the morning, let alone exercise outside.

However, exercising outdoors is good for your body and mind any time of year, especially during the winter months—as long as you pay attention to a few rules regarding safety, gear and the type of exercise. By taking these measures, cold-weather workouts can be comfortable, injury-free and most important, fun.

Note—Talk to your doctor before you brave the cold outdoors. Exercise should be safe for almost everyone, even in plummeting temperatures. But if you have certain chronic conditions, such as Raynaud’s disease, asthma, or heart issues, consult with your doctor first to review any precautions to take based on your condition.

The Primary Risks

Frostbite

During the cold season, there are exercise-related dangers that go beyond slipping on ice and falling.

Frostbite is a cold-induced injury that occurs when unprotected skin is in direct contact with the cold air for an extended period, “freezing” in the process. This usually happens when skin temperatures drop below 30 degrees F. Susceptible areas include the cheeks, nose and ears, as well as the hands and feet.

Fortunately, frostbite isn’t technically an acute injury—it doesn’t strike out of the blue. Stop it in its tracks by paying attention to the following signs:

  • Tingling sensations
  • Burning
  • Aching
  • Numbness
  • Skin redness

If you suspect frostbite, get out of the cold quickly, and warm the affected area by running it under lukewarm water. Never rub the area as doing so may further damage your skin. Seek medical attention if symptoms don’t subside.

Hypothermia

One of the challenging and potentially life-threatening risks of winter training is hypothermia. This condition consists of an abnormal drop in body temperature, plummeting to dangerous levels. It happens when your body fails to warm itself, losing more heat than it produces, especially when core temperature dips below 95 degrees F.

When this occurs, your vital systems, especially your cardiovascular and nervous systems, cease to function properly and leads to heart trouble, respiratory failure and even death.

The key to preventing hypothermia is heeding the early warning signs. These include:

  • Abnormal fast breathing
  • Inability to think clearly
  • Fumbling or difficult movements
  • Intense shivering
  • Loss of focus and coordination
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Confusion and/or poor decision making.
  • Pain in extremities

As soon as you experience two or more of these side effects, stop running on the spot, and get into a warm bath. This should help get your temperature up. Showing no improvement? Call 9-1-1 immediately.

 

Follow these guidelines for exercising safely during the cold months.

Re-Think Your Clothing

The first step to prepare for cold-weather outdoor exercise is getting the right attire. Suitable materials include nylon, polyesters, and polypropylene. The best combination is to mix these technical fabrics that wick away moisture while keeping your body dry and warm. Wool or fleece, along with a water-proof, wind-resistant outer layer all work well.

Avoid cotton. The stuff soaks up sweat and rain, and holds in moisture.

Here’s your essential workout gear when stocking for the winter season.

  • Medium-weight base layer shirt
  • Hat, headband, or ski mask
  • Running gloves or mittens
  • A running jacket
  • Running tights or pants
  • Merino wool socks or those made of technical fabric

Use Layers

Layers help trap warm air next to your body and fend off the elements while keeping you warm and comfortable the entire time. They can also be easily removed as conditions change during your workout.  Zip or unzip your running jacket, remove your mittens or take off a mid-layer to adjust as you run.

Start with a thin, basic layer of high-performance fabric to soak up to excess sweat away from your skin. Then, add a mid-layer of fleece or wool for extra insulation and warmth.

For your outer layer—or the shell—a light water-resistance jacket works best.  This helps expel moisture and protect you from the elements.

The 10-Degree Rule

Regardless of how cold it is, you’ll warm up quickly once you start working up a sweat. That’s why when choosing gear for cold-weather exercise, the rule of thumb is to dress as if it’s 10 to 15 degrees warmer than the actual outside temperature—no matter how tempting is to overdress to stave off the cold.

Of course, you’ll feel cold at first, but once you start moving and raising your core temperature, you’ll find yourself much more comfortable.

Freezing Levels

When temperatures dip to freezing levels, blood flow is prioritized to the core, so be sure to protect your extremities such as your head, hands, and feet from the cold. Since we lose a large percentage of body heat through the head, headcover is non-negotiable.  A hat or headband protects your ears and head. For extreme cold wear a ski mask, scarf, or balaclava to cover your face.

Protect your hands with a thin pair of glove liners made of technical fabric—such as polypropylene—under a pair of mittens lined with fleece or wool.

Last but not least, protect your feet. Opt for socks that wick away moisture while keeping your feet warm. Think SmartWool socks. Also, make sure the shoes are one half-size bigger than you usually wear to allow wiggle room for thick or multiple socks.

To avoid slipping or falling, choose sports shoes with enough traction to prevent falls, especially if it’s snowy or icy.  You can also use special traction devices that attach to your trainers, such as Yaktrax.

Keep it Close

Keep your running routes close to home base. Choose a well-lit, familiar, loop that’s relatively short, especially if you’re running alone. Avoid exercising anywhere you don’t feel completely safe.

Be Seen

When it’s dark outside, you must be visible to other people, especially motorists. Put on reflective, light-colored clothing, such as fluorescent yellow or white, to help you be better seen by drivers, bikers, and pedestrians.

Consider wearing a lightweight headlamp or donning a flashing light, especially early in the morning or late in the evening.  Run against traffic, drivers will see you more easily and you will see them.

Carry Your Essentials

Have some cash and cell phone so in case of an emergency. I recommend that you carry a Road ID bracelet that contains your name, age, blood type, and emergency contacts—you know, all the important things just in case.

Conclusion

Fortunately, many of the risks associated with exercising in winter can be easily thwarted by listening to your body, dressing appropriately and taking the right safety measures.

Please feel free to leave your winter workouts stories and questions in the comment section below. I’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, thank you for dropping by.

Keep exercising strong.

Guest Author: David Dack

About the author:

David Dack is an established fitness blogger and running expert. When he’s not training for his next marathon, he’s doing research and trying to help as many people as possible to share his fitness philosophy. Check his blog Runners Blueprint for more info.

The Greenbuild Conference Tours the Six Springs Wetlands

On Nov. 18, attendees of the Greenbuild Conference, the largest annual event for green building professionals worldwide, stopped by Piedmont Park to tour the Six Springs Wetlands and its unique stormwater management.

“This is a great opportunity to showcase the work that Piedmont Park Conservancy has done,” Howard Wertheimer, VP and COO, said. “Not only do we have the Wetlands, but we also have Greystone as a LEED certified building.”

The tour was led by Chris Nelson, former VP and COO of the Piedmont Park Conservancy until 2014. Conservancy staff members also joined the tour, which highlighted the innovative techniques used during the stream and wetland restoration of the Six Springs.

“Out of all the projects I have had the opportunity to work on, the restoration of Clear Creek and its accompanying tributaries and springs was my favorite,” Nelson said.

The Wetlands were taken over by kudzu and other invasive plants, until the North Woods Expansion Stream Restoration project took place in 2008 during the Park expansion.

The tour was attended by people from across the United States and the globe including California, New York, Philadelphia, Ohio, Georgia, Japan, France and London.

“Before the restoration began, it appeared to be just an ordinary overgrown mess of kudzu and other invasive plants,” Nelson said. “With the removal of the invasives, tons of discarded debris and the daylighting of the springs, it is now considered to be one of the premier areas for birding and for experiencing and connecting with nature in the Park. For me, it’s that hidden gem waiting to be explored.”

The system was formerly a concrete flume that was replaced with large boulders, imitating natural channel design techniques. The group observed and walked over the rocks, circling back to the bridge that rises above the Park.

“The Park contains an incredible wetland eco-system made up of a number of underground springs that continue to feed Lake Clara Meer and contribute to the flow of Clear Creek,” Nelson said. “A large number of these springs can be seen in the designated Six Springs area behind Magnolia Hall.  Its unique water system supports the most diverse plant and animal life found in the park and Midtown.”

During the tour, the group heard the city of Atlanta: People jogging, people on scooters and dogs barking wedged between the ecosystem that the Park has preserved over the last 30 years, making Piedmont Park the true green heart of Atlanta.

If you’re interested in scheduling a tour, you can email tours@piedmontpark.org. The Park hosts free historical tours at 11 a.m. on Saturdays during the Green Market until November 30th.

If you are interested in supporting the Park, you learn more about membership at piedmontpark.org/membership.

Author: Jessica Vue

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