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

22nd Landmark Luncheon to Celebrate “Power of Play”

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is excited to celebrate The Power of Play at this year’s Landmark Luncheon! The annual Landmark Luncheon will be held on Thursday April 26, 2018 from 11am to 1pm at The Promenade in Piedmont Park. People gather from all over Atlanta in their best spring attire for this loved event. This year’s special theme ties into our outstanding program for the event; Arthur Blank, Owner of Atlanta United FC will be speaking about how important sports are to the Atlanta community. The Atlanta Track Club will be honored with the Legacy Award for continuing to make Atlanta a more active city, and The Coca-Cola Company will be receiving the Green Giant Award for its support of recycling and water stewardship programs within the park.

Piedmont Park is considered Atlanta’s playground with activities offered for children and adults alike. With 200+ acres of space to roam it is hard not to stay active in the park, from the Active Oval sports, and dog parks, to the playgrounds and picnic tables, everyone has an opportunity to find their niche! This year the Landmark Luncheon wants to promote the active lifestyles of Atlantans supported by Piedmont Park.

The Piedmont Park Conservancy hopes to see you under the tent! This year’s presenting sponsor is Cox Conserves. Guests will enjoy complimentary champagne at the reception sponsored by Georgia Power as well as lunch catered by Dennis Dean.

By supporting the Piedmont Park Conservancy, you are helping Piedmont Park to continue to be a place full of life and natural beauty in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Atlanta. The Piedmont Park Conservancy raises $3 million annually to maintain the beautiful park and all the programs and activities it has to offer.

Please join us for this time-honored tradition! Tickets available at https://www.piedmontpark.org/landmarklunch

Guest Post by Alexandra Anton

Strength is Sexy…Time to Flex

In the past women had been taught to think that lifting weights will make you bulky or masculine.  It wasn’t until recently that we began to dabble in light toning and strength training.  The beauty of strength training is that you are always in control of how and what you want to look like.  It is important to have a systematic way of strength training that is both sustainable and safe.  Systematic, safe weight training means lifting an appropriate amount of weight while applying the proper repetitions through the full range of motion.  This is how my clients and class will move into weight lifting in the coming month.  I encourage everyone to take a reputable fitness class or work with a certified fitness trainer to ensure a proper training protocol when doing strength training.  In the meantime, here are some tips for the proper way to begin a strength training program with weights:

  1. Begin with light weights, high repetitions and full range of motion. Moving through the exercise with weights in the full range of motion is how to prep the ligaments, joints and tendons.
  2. All workouts should be full-body.  Encompassing low-body, upper-body and abdominal work.
  3. Back and Biceps, Chest and Triceps. Don’t forget legs and core. Although I advocate full-body workouts be specific as to how you group your exercises.
  4. The heart is a muscle to. Begin or end your workout with some form of exercise that is solely to increase your heart-rate, i.e a pre-workout run, 20 minutes on the bike after etc.
  5. Slightly increase either in volume of intensity every 3 to 4 weeks.  This is sure you are accomplishing steady gains.

Begin your strength journey with the Piedmont Park Conservancy and Love You Healthy’s LIFT classes! Learn More

Guest Post by Saidah Jones, Love You Healthy

Snow Tips from the Piedmont Park Conservancy

Atlanta now has a snow day!

It is a wonderful time to come to Piedmont Park and capture that perfect photograph! From white landscapes to sledding, we want you to take advantage of this rare opportunity. We hope you have a safe and fun time in the park this weekend.

Please read the following important reminders to ensure that YOU and your friends/loved ones leave the park have the best memories with minimal park impact.

-Be mindful of park treasures: Please do not sled on or conduct any activities on sensitive areas. This includes areas but is not limited to flower beds, growing trees, wildlife habitats, and historical monuments. Do not climb poles or trees.

-BYOS: Bring your OWN sled. Please bring a safe material to slide on. Leave park materials (banners, trash lids) to avoid unintentional damage & costs to the Conservancy.

-Leave no trace: After sledding or making snowballs, bring your materials back home with you or dispose of them in the proper disposal bins. Staff is limited in the park this weekend, therefore trash cans may get full quickly. If we all pull together and bring our trash home, that would help immensely.

-Bundle your pup: Paws get cold too! We encourage you to dress your four-legged friends in warm attire so that they can enjoy the snow too!

We hope that you have an amazing time in the park! Thank you for reading these tips and keeping Atlanta’s favorite park safe and beautiful. Again, please share this with anyone you know that may come to the park to enjoy the snow.

Something to Be Proud Of

Across the Table with President/CEO Mark Banta
By Annierra Matthews

Shuffling in my seat, I prepare to meet the face of the Piedmont Park Conservancy: President and CEO Mark Banta. He walks in with his typical jolly smile, and his token bottle of water. This month, the Conservancy is celebrating all of the pride for beautiful Piedmont Park. So this week, we wanted to hear it from the top: what is there to be proud of Piedmont Park?
[/av_textblock]

President and CEO Mark Banta

I start by asking “Why should neighbors and friends be proud of Piedmont Park?”

“Piedmont Park attracts over 4 million diverse visitors every year deriving from 134 zip codes,” says Banta, “The Park is neck and neck with Stone Mountain for the number one free place to visit in Georgia.” The park offers free access to over 200 acres to the Atlanta community and its tourists.

Also, Banta tells us that 88% of those visitors agree that Piedmont Park has enriched their life. “That is a statistic we should be very proud of,” he says.

Then I was curious and asked “How do you show your pride in Piedmont Park through your role as President and CEO?”

“[Being proud] is all encompassing in the job itself,” Banta says. “The role of the CEO is to make sure all the parts of the team work together to create the environment that we want: the customer service experience, the physical beauty of the park, and the programming. These are the elements that touch the public.”

I ask him what his favorite part of Piedmont Park is, and Banta gave me a direct answer. “I am proud that there is something for everyone,” says Banta, “the park is so big and active that different people with different interests all have something to find in Piedmont Park.”

“In what ways have your seen the local community show they’re proud of Piedmont Park?” I ask.

“When we have individuals who are willing to take their time—reducing their free time, exercise time or dog-walking time—and they instead come and invest it in Piedmont Park, then they are giving back to us,” he says. “They are being proud of this being their park, and they take ownership.”

“You’ll see people walk by and pick up and piece of trash, and you’ll see people say, ‘Hey, you have to clean up after your dog,’” Banta answers, “or they’ll tell the staff, ‘Thank you for what you do.’”

In addition, Banta shares another way the community expresses their pride for Piedmont Park. They recount memories and describe passion for the Park to the people in their lives. Fans “share their experiences with people through social media by posting pictures and sharing their stories,” he says.

I express to Banta that being the CEO to such a big park seems challenging. Banta responds that he “doesn’t look at being the CEO as a challenge, but rather an opportunity.” He describes the immense amount of possibilities for Piedmont Park and how the Conservancy is working every day to fulfill those dreams. “We just need to keep working on communication, be true to ourselves, and tell people who we are…then it gives them the opportunity to understand the importance of the Conservancy, appreciate that and support us.”

Four of the Best Fall Foliage Spots at Piedmont Park

UPDATE – November 6: Leaves are peaking! Visit Piedmont Park for that awesome fall photo and use #PiedmontParkProud when posting on social!

September 22 marked the first day of autumn, and we’re excited! During this season, plenty of fall activities occur. Families pose for holiday photos in front of red mountains. Children dive in large piles of crunchy yellow leaves for sport and contest. Couples partake in a picnic under the perfect orange-leafed tree. Others simply enjoy watching the leaves transform color, which they can easily observe at Piedmont Park. With that said, here are a few main areas that the Piedmont Park Conservancy recommends to view the fall foliage.

Piedmont Park in Fall

For one, the 14th Street gate near the Piedmont Driving Club is a popular location to watch the leaves change, according to Mark Nelson, the Director of Operations for the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

“We’ve got some large gingko trees that have a beautiful fall color,” Nelson says. “They turn bright yellow. When you have a nice clear day and that sun shines on those trees, it puts a yellow glow on the ground. A lot of people like taking photos under that tree.”

Nelson guesses that the gingko tree will probably turn quickly at the end of October, only lasting a few days.

Gingko Tree’s Leaves Changing

Gingko Tree’s Leaves Changing

Park Drive bridge, which is above the dog park and by the Meadow, is another location where visitors can watch the leaves change.

“You have a couple of bald cypress,” Nelson says. “You have red dawns and redwoods. They turn a really brilliant rust color. The bald cypress are in the lake, and the red dawns are behind it. They look like the same tree, but they’re not. If you come down Park Drive, on the left-hand side, just before you get to the garden and beehives, there’s a hickory that turns bright yellow. It’s really beautiful.”

Red Dawn Trees Along Lake Clara Meer

Oak Hill and the Active Oval are two more go-to spots for this activity.

“If you get up on Oak Hill and stand at the top, looking down toward the lake, you can see a lot of different colors, especially all the trees that surround the lake,” Nelson says. “It’s a nice area to look at fall colors, too. If you’re standing in the Active Oval and you look toward the city, you can see a lot of fall colors there, too.”

Pignut Hickory on Oak Hill

Nelson mentions the leaves aren’t changing as of yet. Perhaps the leaves may turn the first week of November.

“We’ve had such dry weather here in September leading into October,” he says. “They’re kind of late right now falling; we hadn’t had the cold temperatures yet for them to turn. However, we recently had a few cold mornings and cold evenings that tend to turn the leaves quicker. This week, I think we’ll get to see quite a few leaves turn color.”

He also lists a variety of trees to watch for during the fall, such as dogwoods that turn rich red and sugar maples that change to a vivid orange-yellow.

Sugar Maple Leaves

Red Maple Trees

“Blackgum trees turn a bright red,” Nelson says. “October glories are a red-orange color or a red-sunset. We have all kinds of oaks that have different colors to them. They kind of have more of a red tint to them. Green ash turn a really beautiful yellow.”

Director of Operations Mark Nelson

With over 115 tree varieties, residents and Atlanta visitors can visit Piedmont Park to submerse themselves in vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges that will awe them at every turn. As Nelson reminds us, “If you live in the city and don’t see a lot of trees, then you can come to Piedmont Park and see them.”

Tag Piedmont Park on Instagram @piedmontpark of your latest fall photos. Also, check out Piedmont Parks’s self-guided tree tour.

UPDATE – November 6: Leaves are peaking! Visit Piedmont Park for that awesome fall photo and use #PiedmontParkProud when posting on social!

Guest Post by Annierra Matthews

Happy Wet Dogs Enjoy the 2017 Splish Splash Doggie Bash

On Saturday, October 7 and Sunday, October 22, the Piedmont Park Conservancy welcomed over 800 dogs at its annual Splish Splash Doggie Bash at the Aquatic Center. With some arriving almost an hour early on Saturday, dogs and their owners eagerly waited for the pool gates to open. While they anticipated the event, they were welcomed by Ponce, Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year, and t-shirt giveaways. You could see the excitement in the eyes and tails of all the attendees.

“We love this,” says Lon Williams with his dog George, both residents of Midtown Atlanta. “We’ve come every year, since it started. It’s so organized this year. It just keeps getting better and better each year.”

Not only did frequent residents support the event, but newcomers attended Splish Splash, too, as was the case with Katie Johnson.

“This is my first time,” Johnson says. “It’ll just be fun to watch all the dogs play in the water.”

When the gates finally opened, dogs hurried toward the pool. They were so enthusiastic to jump into the cool water that they impatiently tugged their owners through the entrance. Balls and frisbees were tossed everywhere in the pool with pups jumping in behind them. Some dogs preferred doing doggie paddles in the deep end while others preferred to wade in the zero-entry part of the pool.

Smyrna resident Randall Walsh says Splish Splash is a great way for his dog, Kiya, to release energy, and that this was the only time she could swim.

Meanwhile, for less brave dogs, Splish Splash was one of the most intense moments of the fur-filled lives: these cautious dogs stuck in the tip of their paw to test the water. For every dog making an outrageous dive, another one decided the grassy area better fit their comfort level.

For both dogs and their owners, dog vendors set up merchandise tables near the walls and along the fence. Dogs sniffed their tables for treats, and at one point, some of them even hopped on the tables in order to gratify their curiosity. Some dogs dried off their coats by running around to every possible corner of the pool area while befriending and playing with other dogs.

Needless to say, the dogs and their owners had a “pawsome” time, so much so that some of them returned to one of the other two sessions.  Sunday’s Splish Splash session was a post-poned session that had to be re-scheduled due to inclement weather. The event raised approximately $24,000 for the Piedmont Park Conservancy and the three-acre off-leash dog parks.

Event Site

Guest Post by Annierra Matthews

Recap: Piedmont Park Dog of the Year Contest

With an abundance of wagging tails and adorable faces, the first ever Piedmont Park Dog of the Year Contest was a ‘bone’ified hit! Leading up to the in-park contest, almost 80 dogs competed in a photo-based contest online to rack up the most votes on their photo by the July 29 deadline. From dogs in bow ties and sweaters to pups exploring all areas of Piedmont Park, the voting page was so cute that it racked up a total of more than 50,000 votes over the course of one month of voting.

On Saturday, July 29 at 11:00am, the top 12 finalists with the most votes on their photograph that also met the contest requirements (including proof of rabies vaccination and a Piedmont Park Conservancy membership) went into an in-park competition at the Piedmont Park Dog Parks. The Piedmont Park Conservancy in-park competition was hosted by Conservancy volunteer Fred McFarlin,  and guests enjoyed free giveaways including cold water, dog treats, and one free drink for every contestant and viewer at Park Tavern after the show!

The top 12 contestants were all able to earn over 1300 votes on their photographs, ultimately earning them a spot in the finals. Finalists included:

  • Addison, also known as Addie – an 18-month-old Sheepadoodle from Sandy Springs “Oliver Row”
  • Django – a four-year-old Goldendoodle from Midtown
  • Harlow – an one-year-old King Charles Cavalier Spaniel from Midtown
  • Callie – an 11-year-old Goldendoodle from Midtown
  • Kooper – a nine-year-old Vizsla from Virginia Highlands
  • Ponce – a two-year-old Doberman from Midtown
  • Duke – a three-year-old miniature Pinscher (Min Pin) from Midtown Garden District
  • Rocky – a two-year-old Beagle/Blue Tick Coonhound from College Park
  • Rocket – a five-year-old Terrier mix from Reynoldstown/Cabbagetown line
  • Porter – a two-year-old mini-Australian Shepherd from East Lake
  • Sarah – a 10-year-old Golden Retriever from OTP Atlanta
  • Tank – a 14-year-old mini-Pomeranian from Peachtree Battle

At 11:00am, these top 12 finalists found out they were going into the in-park portion of the competition and lined up in the contestant waiting area. Amy Han Dietrich from the Piedmont Park Conservancy then made remarks about how over 700,000 visitors enjoy the Piedmont Park Dog Parks each year, and how the Conservancy thought that was a great reason to host a Dog of the Year competition. Also, Dietrich reminded the viewers that each of the finalists are members of the Conservancy, and how they were all good dogs of the park. The Conservancy utilized this competition to celebrate the frequent use of the dog parks as well as raise awareness that the dog parks are 100% maintained by the Conservancy and relies on private donations from users and corporate sponsors.

Dietrich then introduced the judges:

  • Bridget Matheson from Dog Days Atlanta who donated 3 free days of doggie day care for any of their 3 locations, treats, a toy, and a doogie poop bag to the winner.
  • Bryan Kolton from Bark ATL who donated a food scoop and water bottle to ALL the top 12 contestants, a free day of daycare to the top 11 runner ups, and a Day of Bliss coupon for the winner that’s good a free day of day care as well as a free bath and nail trim.
  • Liz Rupp from Dancing Dogs Yoga Atlanta who donated one month of yoga and a manduka yoga mat to the winner— as well as one week of yoga to each participant.
  • Kalia Edmonds from the Piedmont Park Conservancy
  • Mark Nelson from the Piedmont Park Conservancy

The competition then began with a mini-dog parade that allowed viewers to take their first look at the finalists, and for the judges to rate their behavior.

Harlow

Kooper

Porter

Sarah

Tank

Then each dog was directed by their owner to “sit,” and then had 30 seconds to “free-style” and win over the judges. Free-style acts included laying down, turning, jumping, just being absolutely lovable, and so much more.

Rocky

Rocket

Ponce

Duke

Django

Callie

Addie

Finally after each pup had a moment in the spotlight, the contestants were released in their respectively-sized dog park, and judges watched as they rated friendliness with other dogs.

Finally after much anticipation, Ponce was named the Piedmont Park Dog of the Year! Ponce came up to the stage and briefly held a pose for pictures, but then laid down after his amazing performance in the competition, allowing onlookers to continue taking his picture.

As Piedmont Park Dog of Year, Ponce will hold the status from August 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018. Ponce and her owner Chris Beauregard will help announce the opening of this year’s Splish Splash Doggie Bash on October 7-8, 2017 as well as announce take-off at the Conservancy’s Doggie Dash 5k in the spring of 2018. Ponce will also receive a photo shoot and be featured as the Dog of the Year on Piedmont Park’s social media, dog newsletter and more!

The contest wrapped us with appreciation extended to the contestants, judges, Park Tavern for the post-Yappy Hour, and the Piedmont Park Conservancy volunteers and staff.

Mayoral Candidate Forum on Greenspace

The Piedmont Park Conservancy was honored to be a part of the 2017 Mayoral Candidate Forum Greenspace. The event was on Thursday, July 13th from 6:00pm to 7:15pm at the Georgia State University Student Center. This unique and crucial event was hosted in partnership with several nonprofit partners, all working toward the common goal of maintaining, conserving and building our city’s greenspace amenities: Park PrideTrees AtlantaAtlanta BeltLine PartnershipChattahoochee RiverkeeperThe Nature ConservancyThe Conservation FundPiedmont Park ConservancyThe Georgia ConservancyThe Trust for Public Land, and West Atlanta Watershed Alliance. The forum was generously sponsored by Cox Enterprises and moderated by Maria Saporta.

Knowing your potential mayor’s views on greenspace is critical to Atlanta’s future. If you missed the event, the Piedmont Park Conservancy encourages you to watch the forum on Park Pride’s Facebook page below, or read the Saporta Report’s recap of the event: Mayor candidates talk equity, vie for green vote, at Downtown Forum

What’s All the Buzz About?

The Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project and the Piedmont Park Conservancy have joined forces to establish a beehive right in Piedmont Park. The humming sound you hear nestled under the canopy of trees surrounding the Education Garden is actually home to thousands of the world’s greatest pollinators!

Zipping from flower to flower to collect pollen and nectar, Piedmont Park’s biodiversity offers the perfect environment for these busy little creatures. Not only do our bees play a crucial role in supporting the garden, but their presence affords us with important learning opportunities relating to the interconnectedness of our natural food systems.

On Friday, June 23rd, the Georgia Tech Urban Honey Bee Project visited the Conservancy’s apiary to educate the public on honey bees and participants engaged in a variety of activities that supported healthy bee-friendly initiatives. Onlookers gathered in curiosity as bees hovered around the mesh netting of the beekeepers protective gear during the splitting of the hive. Children crowded around tables to create their very own seed bombs out of clay and wildflower seeds, a fun and environmentally friendly technique for ‘greening’ urban spaces. And, golden colored hexagons overflowing with uncapped honey could be viewed from the observation hive. Providing unique insights into the wonderful world of bees and their behaviors, the complex structure of the honeycomb also reaffirmed bees are quite the builders!

With so much going on, it is no wonder bees are all the buzz these days.

With the garden and honey bees working symbiotically, we encourage all visitors to gain a greater understanding of the environment and one’s connection to it. The Conservancy’s educational programs are a priority for our non-profit and are viewed as an integral part in fulfilling our mission.

Guest Post by Krystal Collier