Blog – Celebrating National Make a Difference Day Volunteer Evelyn Babey 2

Celebrating National Make a Difference Day with Volunteer Evelyn Babey

Saturday, October 24, 2020 is National Make a Difference Day. To celebrate making a difference in our community, we talked with Evelyn Babey, a local Atlanta neighbor and avid volunteer for the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Evelyn has volunteered with the Conservancy almost every week since the peak of summer. She shares what the Park means to her and why she chooses to volunteer with the Conservancy in a short video below.

Blog - Celebrating National Make a Difference Day Volunteer Evelyn Babey


We at the Piedmont Park Conservancy rely on people like Evelyn to keep Piedmont Park’s 200+ acres clean, safe and beautiful. On average, over 10,000 hours are needed from volunteers every year.

Caring for Piedmont Park takes a village. Every person counts.

You won’t believe the amount of trash an individual can find in just a few hours!

On National Make a Difference Day, we thank all of our volunteers for your ongoing support and dedication to this historic Park.

Without you, we could not care for this park alone.

Looking for a way to give back? We invite you to make a difference in your community by volunteering with the Piedmont Park Conservancy. Our volunteer program has implemented new safety protocols including social distancing, digital waivers and more. From group landscaping projects to socially distant self-led trash pickups, everyone can get their hands dirty for the Park.


Can’t volunteer but want to help Piedmont Park? Consider making a gift today to the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Why We Counted Over 500 Trees in Piedmont Park

Seeing the leaves change color in Piedmont Park was the best part of my first Atlanta autumn. It’s that time once again, and now I know a bit more about those leaves and the trees they came from! You see, one of my primary roles as a graduate intern for Piedmont Park Conservancy is to help document every single tree in the Park. If you think that sounds like a lot of trees, just wait till you start counting!

How we counted over 500 trees in Piedmont Park

Morgan Gobeli, 2020 Graduate Public Relations Intern, Lead with Green

How Many Trees are in Piedmont Park?

All that counting isn’t just for fun though, it’s part of Piedmont Park’s mission to become a certified Arboretum. As part of the certification, all our trees must be documented. Our Community Involvement and Events Manager Erica Glasener, with the help of Trees Atlanta, has been instrumental in spearheading this ambitious project. To get it done, a small team of volunteers and I use a custom mapping program called ArcGIS Survey123 to input the GPS location of each tree, identify the species and size of the tree, and note any health issues it may have. So far, I have personally counted over 500 trees in this manner, and there’s still plenty more to go!

How we counted over 500 trees in Piedmont Park

Maintaining a Healthy Urban Forest

When it’s finished, not only will our map tell us how many trees we have, it will also tell us how many species we have in the Park. Having a wide range and distribution of species is important for a healthy urban forest, so this is great information! The map will also allow us to monitor tree health, and to track pest and disease outbreaks. We can even upload pictures of diseased leaves for a faster diagnosis! So, the next time you’re in the Park, take a moment to stop and appreciate all those beautiful trees. You can even give one a hug if you want (they won’t mind)!

If you would like to learn more about our Park projects, recognitions and environmental management, visit our Lead with Green page.

Author: Morgan Gobeli

Monarch Marathon: Fall Butterfly Migration in Piedmont Park

Perhaps the most iconic migratory insect is the Monarch Butterfly. These majestic butterflies are easily identified by their bright orange wings with delicate black line details and white dots around the border. What makes these butterflies so iconic is their migration, totaling nearly 3,000 miles for some butterflies.

Photo Credit: Grace Manning

Monarchs lay their eggs on Milkweed plants, soon to be food for the caterpillars. Those hungry caterpillars emerge and begin their journey to becoming a butterfly. Once they have completed their metamorphosis, they will either begin breeding, or depending on the timing, begin migrating. When the days get shorter and the weather a bit colder, adult Monarchs migrate from the United States and Canada south, to California and Mexico. It is there they will wait out the winter on the oyamel fir trees. When the days grow longer, the Monarchs fly back up north in search of their host plant, Milkweed, once again to breed. 

Photo Credit: Grace Manning

In Georgia we are lucky enough to be on the path. Come September these butterflies will head south, flying at about treetop height along their journey. One of the threats facing Monarchs today is the loss of their breeding plant, Milkweed. This plant plays a critical role in Monarch survival as the only place they will lay their eggs, and the only food for caterpillars. Looking to ensure a monarch sighting this fall? Plant milkweed in your yard, or in large planters on your patio.

Author: Dana Buskovitz, Piedmont Park Conservancy Education Coordinator

Want to learn more about migration? Read part one of our migration blog series about birds you can spot in the Park during the fall.

Aerial View Active Oval

The First Georgia vs. Auburn Football Game in 1892

Cool weather, changing trees and tailgates are all the recipe for a perfect fall season. No matter what team you’re rooting for, college football is a part of southern culture. In the South, our Fall seasons are filled with traditions, and when it comes to college football, our traditions are dutifully upheld.

Whether you are the biggest Georgia Bulldog fan in the south, an Auburn War Eagle, or somewhere in between, it’s hard to escape the South’s oldest rivalry. While Athens might be a far step from Atlanta, one of the Bulldog’s oldest traditions originated in the heart of Atlanta at Piedmont Park. 

In the middle of winter on February 20, 1892, the University of Georgia (UGA) and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama (now known as Auburn) met head-to-head for the very first time [1][2] on what is now the Piedmont Park Active Oval. While football might have looked a bit different back then, the rivalry has always been strong. Georgia Bulldog fans might be sad to learn that they lost the game 10-0, but for Auburn, legend has it that the famous “War Eagle” cheer started at this game[1].

2020-Blog GeorgiaAuburnShare

So far, the traditional game has only been missed five times making it one of the oldest and most played traditions in sports history[1].

While many Georgia and Auburn fans won’t be in Sanford Stadium cheering on their team, they are still keeping the spirit of this traditional game alive from their living rooms.

Whether you yell “Sick ‘Em” or “War Eagle,” don’t forget about this game’s humble beginnings right in the heart of Atlanta at Piedmont Park.

Visit our Piedmont Park History page for more interesting information about the Park’s past!

Author: Olivia O’Brien


[1] NCAA.com, Brenden Welper. (2019, November 16). Georgia vs. Auburn football: All-time series history, scores, notable games. NCAA.com. https://www.ncaa.com/news/football/article/2019-11-16/georgia-vs-auburn-football-all-time-series-history-scores-notable 

[2] Wikipedia contributors. (2020, May 31). Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry. Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_South%27s_Oldest_Rivalry

Small Weddings, Big Hearts – Piedmont Park Conservancy Helps Atlantans Host Small Weddings

While our lives have slowed down with quarantines and reduced travel, hearts are still racing throughout the city. Some couples are bonding over the increased time together and are wanting to tie the knot. Others had pre-pandemic weddings planned and can’t wait to seal the deal.

Piedmont Park Conservancy began offering elopements back in June and hosted 23 small weddings in four months.

“We weren’t sure how many couples would need a safe and intimate venue, but calls kept coming in asking about private spaces so we decided to try it,” says Jane Rollo, Director of Facility Rentals.

One Couple’s Wedding Day in Piedmont Park

Looking back at one couple’s special day, Alison and Nigel Clarke were originally planning a big wedding and had to choose between postponing and moving forward.

Photo Credit: @Jelani (Instagram)

“We made the choice to elope because I really wanted to marry Alison. Nothing was going to stop us from being together” says Nigel.

Surrounded by their parents, a few other immediate family members and a beautiful lake backdrop, Alison and Nigel were wed at Dockside in Piedmont Park.

“We decided to hold our special day at Piedmont Park because it’s a one-of-a-kind place. The dock is such a tranquil & serene location. As soon as I saw it in person, I just knew that it was the perfect place,” says Alison.

Photo Credit: @Jelani (Instagram)

Looking for a venue near you?

Alison and Nigel were just two of several lovebirds who decided that love shouldn’t wait.

For the upcoming season, the Piedmont Park Conservancy is offering micro-weddings to hopeful, heart racing couples. There are three venues available, all inside Atlanta’s Piedmont Park.

Alison and Nigel Clarke’s top compliments included easy parking, a gorgeous location and privacy in the Park. Alison also says “the best part about this location is that we can always return at any time to reminisce on our magical day!”

You can have your dream wedding. Start planning your wedding by contacting Jane Rollo at jrollo@piedmontpark.org or calling (404) 875-7275, ext. 230.