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

Assisting in Emergencies: Piedmont Park Conservancy Hosts Staff CPR Training and Installs AED Devices

On an early spring day, a Park visitor was playing soccer on the Active Oval when he suddenly fell to the ground. He was experiencing a major heart attack at just over 30 years old. Luckily, his friends were medical professionals and thought to run to the Tennis Center for help. They found an automated external defibrillator (AED) device which they used to keep his heart beating while they waited for an ambulance.

With over 78,000 athletes coming to Piedmont Park every year, things happen. Medical emergencies, on the other hand, are few and far between. The incident prompted the Conservancy staff to explore how they could respond to similar situations while working in the Park.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy was accepted into the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s 2018 Fall Extra Wish catalogue, where two generous donors provided the funding for three new AED devices. Additionally, the Conservancy decided to host two CPR training courses for the staff. The inclusion of the extra AED devices and staff training empowers the Piedmont Park Conservancy to provide assistance in a situation that may arise during their daily operations.

As of May 2019, over 80% of the Piedmont Park Conservancy staff has been trained on how to perform CPR and use an AED device. Mark Banta, President and CEO of the Conservancy, said of the training, “While there are no guarantees in life, the survival rate of sudden cardiac arrest with the use of an AED device increases to about 40% or higher as opposed to 5%. We’re thrilled to have received this equipment and training in an attempt to improve the chances of survival.”

We hope to continue providing a gathering place for all Atlantans because we believe that a healthy and sustainable Park greatly contributes to a healthy and sustainable Atlanta.

Reminder: Always call 911 in case of emergency. After calling 911, if you see a Piedmont Park Conservancy staff member during working hours, please notify them of your emergency.

Six Dogs Compete in Piedmont Park Dog of the Year Finals

Sookie, 2-year-old Samoyed, crowned winner

The contest took place in Piedmont Park’s small dog park and the finalists were all visibly excited to showcase their abilities. The doggos were to be judged on their behavior and charisma. While the finalists prepared for their routines, attendees enjoyed the wide array of goodies available including free King of Pops. As the humans mingled and the dogs played with the tennis balls scattered across the park, anticipation mounted for which pup would become Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year.

At 11 a.m. the finalists lined up behind the stage, eager to strut their stuff. One by one, the dogs crossed the stage to cheers and hollers from the growing crowd for a pooch parade. After the parade, the finalists went into their individual performances.

Charlie, a golden doodle from Chamblee, showed off his sitting and walking skills. A 5-year-old Siberian husky named Azlan sang along to his owner’s harmonica and Bear, a 1-year-old Australian and German shepherd mix demonstrated his handshake skills. Sookie the Samoyed surprised the crowd by jumping through a hula hoop to catch her favorite toy—a tennis ball. Showcasing her expert running skills, Barefoot, an 18-month-old Siberian husky sprinted across the park. Finishing out the routines was Boston, a golden retriever who shook paws with his owner.

Ponce, our honorary judge and the winner of last year’s contest joined judges from Bark ATL, Dancing Dogs Yoga, and the Piedmont Park Conservancy to make final deliberations. After a short wait, Sookie was announced as the winner!

Sookie swept the judges off their feet with her hula hoop performance and charming charisma. We are so excited to have her as our Dog of the Year and look forward to having her help in promoting the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s vital role in enhancing one of the best places in Atlanta for pups—the Piedmont Park dog parks. For more information on our dog-friendly events and to support the dog parks visit: piedmontpark.org/dogparks

Photo Credit: OldSpeak Creative

 

Guest Post by Aliya Seymour

Piedmont Park Aquatic Center Celebrates 10 Year Restoration Anniversary

Northside Hospital Sponsorship Enhances Pool Experience

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is celebrating the Aquatic Center and Pool’s 10 year anniversary of its restoration in 2008! The past decade has been filled with fun and excitement at the pool, serving over 50,000 visitors each year.

The pool restoration added features: a children’s splash area, accessible beach entry, a current channel, water jets, four lap lanes, large pool deck, shade arbor, grassy area, and new showers and changing rooms. The pool also offers a concession stand for drinks and snacks in the hot summer sun. The massive restoration allowed the pool to flourish into the perfect summer getaway for local Atlantans.

In celebration of its 10 year restoration anniversary, Northside Hospital has committed to a yearlong sponsorship to further enhance Piedmont Park’s Aquatic Center.

“Piedmont Park is one of the Atlanta Region’s greatest assets, and one of the reasons Northside Hospital sought out this partnership. We believe that urban greenspace is a key part of healthy lifestyles. So for our employees, our patients, and their families, connecting Northside to Piedmont Park makes sense.

Our support of the Aquatic Center is especially important to us, as it provides awareness of both swimming and skin safety during the warm months. Northside is excited to expand our outreach in Midtown Atlanta, where many of our patients live and work. Piedmont Park, with its proximity to the Beltline and other city parks, is experiencing a surge in popularity – Northside is proud to join with them.”

– Lee Echols, VP of Marketing and Communications, Northside Hospital

With the new sponsorship, Northside Hospital will be collaborating with the Piedmont Park Conservancy to use their mascot – Sammy the Stork – to interact and engage with children and families about health, fitness and other wellness facts and fun.

Learn more about the pool and how you can join us this summer! – https://www.piedmontpark.org/things-to-do/aquatics-pool/

Green Market is So Close We Can Taste It!

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is making the final arrangements for 2018’s Green Market. March 24th is quickly approaching, and the Conservancy is excited to get this year started right! With over 40 vendors, Green Market will be the place to be on Saturday mornings.

You can look forward to walking into Piedmont Park on a beautiful spring morning and experiencing live music, occasional chef demonstrations and all the best local products to choose from! We can look forward to seeing all the smiles and conversation that will happen at Green Market!

The hand-picked vendors provide Atlantans with the highest quality products in the heart of the city including: fruits, vegetables, meat, cheeses, pastas and more. Food won’t be the only product available. There will also be pet supplies, bath and body products, handmade goods, and candles. For those who come hungry, there are prepared food and beverage options including baked goods, popsicles, food trucks, and other tasty eats.

For families, there is a child friendly activity area and the nearby Noguchi Playscapes for little ones to play and engage with other children. For dog owners or fans, Green Market is a well-known activity for on-leash dog visitors. Stop by the dog vendors, grab a coffee and some food, and then head over to our off-leash Dog Parks.

Find the list of our vendors, musicians and other information at our website: piedmontpark.org/green-market

Guest Post by Alexandra Anton

Celebrating 20 Years: Marti Kelefas

On February 12, Marti Kelefas reached her 20 year anniversary working with the Piedmont Park Conservancy. Marti, the Executive Assistant, has been with the Conservancy since its beginning years. She has experienced an immense amount of change since she began. From dozens of renovations and capital improvements to organizational growth and various leaders, Marti has been the constant through it all.

Today, Marti is the connector between Board of Directors, the CEO/President and the rest of the organization’s staff. She always has an open chair available to those who need to “talk things out” or want to share their stories.

Marti is also known for her wealth of knowledge of the Conservancy and Piedmont Park’s past. Not only does she know the history of the Park, but she shares the stories with a level of passion and enthusiasm that can only sourced from the soul. They say that history is whatever people say it is. With Marti’s true dedication and love for Piedmont Park and the Conservancy, we are honored to have her as our storyteller.

Marti Kelefas, congratulations for reaching 20 years! The Piedmont Park Conservancy cannot thank you enough for your service.

Featuring New Dog Park Agility Equipment

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is excited to announce the newest feature installed in the Piedmont Park large dog park; a brand new agility course!

The course was graciously donated to the Piedmont Park Dog Parks by 16-year-old Ansley Park resident Jason Steinfeld. Jason is a Life Rank Boy Scout working toward Eagle Scout rank. He wanted to bring some added excitement to the dog parks and allow an area for the dogs to play, exercise and even do some agility training. He hopes this installation will bring joy to both dogs and their owners.

“I love Piedmont Park. I did my Bar Mitzvah Project in the Park by planting a big Oak tree and ferns.  So it seemed natural to have my Eagle Project here too,” said Jason.

Jason with Piedmont Park Conservancy President/CEO Mark Banta

Jason worked on this project for over a year so that dogs all over Atlanta could come to Piedmont Park and have a little something extra to enjoy. Over 20 scout, family and friend volunteers helped with the installation.

The agility course represents the Conservancy’s efforts to encourage park visitors to be active while also having fun – humans and dogs alike! Appreciation goes to Jason and the Steinfield family for this enhancement for their fellow Atlantans.

Head outdoors with your furry friend, and visit the Piedmont Park Dog Parks this weekend for a new experience!

Guest Post by Alexandra Anton

Experience the Doggie Dash & 5K

Celebrating its 5th year anniversary, dogs and humans alike are getting excited for Piedmont Park’s famous Doggie Dash & 5K. Tails are wagging and tongues are out as dogs all over Atlanta eagerly prepare for the big event!

This year, the Piedmont Park Conservancy expects to see pups of all shapes, sizes and fitness levels, as they are adding a shorter one-mile dash to the event.

Imagine.

Dogs tugging on their leashes and owners warming up beside them.

The horn blows and the race for top dog begins!

As the feet and paws of the runners flash by, people watch anxiously from the outside to find out who will come in first!

People with their four-legged friends will enjoy park and lakeside views before the dog (or human) drags their partner past the finish line.

But the excitement doesn’t end there. Dogs can be seen everywhere picking up treats and toys from the participating businesses and vendors, making new friends, or laying out on the grass.

Finally, the top dog is announced! The top dog gets their name displayed on the Top Dog bone at the Piedmont Park Dog Parks. Winners will also be announced for those without dogs.

Don’t miss this unique opportunity! Sign up for the Doggie Dash & 5K with your furry friend! The event benefits the Piedmont Park Dog Parks and is hosted by the Piedmont Park Conservancy. The race is open for humans with or without dogs.

Make sure to register by March 8th for the early registration discount:  Doggie Dash Website

Guest Post by Alexandra Anton