duck swimming in lake clara meer in piedmont park

Feathered Friends: Fall Bird Migration in Piedmont Park

While fall migration through Georgia may not be as spectacular as springtime migration, it is still a sight to behold. Starting as early as August, many birds make their way south in preparation for the winter season. During migration, these birds use “stopover habitats” as resting places on their long journey. Stopover habitats are places to eat, sleep, and recharge, like a hotel room on a long drive.

Photo Credit: Clay Fisher

So, when fall migration peaks in late September and October, who is checking into Georgia, and who is checking out? Feathered friends including a few sparrow species, multiple duck species, kinglets and cedar waxwings come to Georgia. These species have been nesting up north all spring and summer long. We also have some species checking out in search of warmer weather. Warblers, thrushes, orioles and more will begin their journey south.

Photo Credit: Clay Fisher

How can you spot these travelers, and maybe even help out? While most of these birds will do the bulk of their traveling at night, you can still spot them while they stop for food. In fact, with the losses in stopover habitat, you can ensure a sighting by turning your backyard into a migratory bird oasis! Plants such as elderberry, sumac, and dogwood provide berries. Hackberry and American beautyberry provide nutrient-rich fruits. Providing a feeding place or birds helps fuel them up for their long journey, or help them recharge after it.

Photo Credit: Clay Fisher

So grab your binoculars and field guide, and observe! Don’t forget that the best way to observe wildlife is to stop, look, and listen. 

Author: Dana Buskovitz, Piedmont Park Conservancy Education Coordinator

Want to learn more about animals, plants and all things science? Follow our education team on their Instagram @piedmontlearns.

Green Market Recipes: Baked Stuffed Apples and Apple Salsa

Baked Stuffed Apples

Traditionally stuffed apples are sweet, but these are savory for a special Green Market flair! Serve with a green, hearty salad!  

Tools: paring knife, vegetable peeler, medium sauté pan, cutting board, rubber spatula, casserole pan, and large spoon

Ingredients:

  • 5 large apples (crisp varieties)
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 habanero or paper lantern peppers
  • 1 green pepper
  • 2 jalapeño cheese sausages
  • 1/2 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TSP pepper
  • Salt (to taste)

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Core apples, cut out about one inch of the apple (enough to make a nice space for the filling) and chop the extra apple into fine bits.
  3. Dice onion into fine pieces, garlic and peppers.
  4. Chop sausage into small pieces
  5. Sauté the onions and peppers in olive oil on medium heat until partially cooked.
  6. Add the sausage, garlic, salt and pepper to the pan and cook for approximately 15 minutes.
  7. Take the cored apples, coat the outsides with olive oil and place them in a casserole dish.
  8. Stuff each apple with the sausage, onion and pepper mixture and top with cheddar cheese.
  9. Bake for 40 minutes and let sit a few minutes before eating.

Learn more about the Green Market, our vendors and more.

Apple Salsa (Pico de Gallo)

Who doesn’t love salsa? Try this fresh, fall version of a classic! This salsa is great for chips, tacos, or to top a nice bowel of white chili.

Tools: paring knife, vegetable peeler, cutting board, large mixing bowl, rubber spatula, and spoon

Ingredients:

  • 4 large apples (JonaGold variety)
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 jalapeño peppers
  • 2-5 habanero or paper lantern peppers
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 TBS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 lime
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. Peel, core and dice apples.
  2. Dice onion, garlic, peppers and cilantro into fine pieces.
  3. Mix: Apples, onions, peppers, garlic and cilantro in a large bowl.
  4. Add vinegar, juice of 1 lime, salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour before eating.

Green Market Recipes: Spicy Apple Sauce and Apple Pecan Salad

Apple Pecan Salad

Try this simple salad recipe! Great recipe for a snack, picnic, or a light lunch. For an extra protein kick, top with tuna or white fish!

Tools: paring knife, vegetable peeler, cutting board, rubber spatula, and spoon

Ingredients:

  • 4 large apples (crisp varieties)
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 cup pecans
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp horseradish
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)

Preparation:

  1. Peel, core and dice apples.
  2. Dice onion into fine pieces.
  3. Chop pecans in to small pieces.
  4. Mix: Apples, onions pecans, and horseradish.
  5. Add mayo, vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Let sit in refrigerator for at least an hour before eating.

Learn more about the Green Market.

Spicy Apple Sauce

A nice kick to an old favorite, try making this spicy apple sauce at home!

Tools: Paring knife, vegetable peeler, large sauce pan, hand mixer, citrus press, rubber spatula and large spoon

Ingredients:

  • 5 – Large apples (crisp tart varieties work best)
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 2 habanero or paper lantern peppers
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • Salt (course)
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Peal, core and chop apples into small pieces.
  2. Grate ginger
  3. Cut, remove seeds, and dice peppers into small pieces.
  4. Grate lemon peel until you have about 2 tbsp, and squeeze lemon juice into measuring cup

Cook:

  1. Add apples, grated ginger, peppers, sugar, grated lemon peel, ¼ cup lemon juice, and 3 tbsp salt to sauce pan on medium heat.
  2. Stir and watch until the apples start to break down (about 15 mins).
  3. Turn heat to medium low and let simmer for 30 mins or until mixture becomes mushy.
  4. Turn heat off. Add cinnamon if desired.
  5. Stir and let cool with lid on for about 20 mins.
  6. Next, use hand mixer on medium speed to puree mixture.
  7. Put apple sauce in a jar or bowl with a lid and refrigerate until cold.

Apple sauce will hold for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator.

Move! Mondays Kickoff – Special Interview with Northside Hospital’s John Andrachuk, MD

Many of us have grown used to the self-quarantine lifestyle. Most of our days are spent at home, either helping young family members with their schooling, working from home, or immediately returning home from your job. It can be hard to focus on your physical activity and move every day, especially after what could potentially be months of a sedentary lifestyle.

To increase access to health professionals and expert advice, the Piedmont Park Conservancy is collaborating with Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute-Sports Medicine to host Move! Mondays starting in September.

Kicking off Move! Mondays, check out this special interview with Orthopedic Surgeon John Andrachuk, MD. In this video, we learn about how sports medicine is for everyone, advice on getting back into an active lifestyle and more.


In five weeks, you can combat potential issues, and learn safe and effective methods to get your body moving. Move! Mondays will be hosted on Facebook: @PiedmontParkATL

  • September 14 at Noon – Facebook Live HIIT Workout with Lead Athletic Trainer Brian Finn
  • September 21 at Noon – Facebook Live Home Office Set-Up and Body Stretches with Megan Carter
  • September 28 at Noon – Facebook Live HIIT Workout with Lead Athletic Trainer Brian Finn
  • October 5 – Facebook Live Three 10-Minute Workouts You Can Do Before Dinner Time with Megan Carter

RSVP on the Piedmont Park Conservancy Facebook events @PiedmontParkATL for notifications and the release of special resources.

About Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute-Sports Medicine:

The team at Northside Hospital Orthopedic Institute-Sports Medicine offers comprehensive care and personalized services based entirely around the needs of athletes. As a center for orthopedics and sports medicine, their team takes care of your every need – from injury prevention to performance services and athletic training to orthopedic surgery. They provide services for athletes of all ages, including orthopedic and sports medicine care for children, across a wide range of specialties. Learn more.

Check out some of their videos: Nutrition Tips for Runners and Injury Prevention Running Tips.

Stay Active. Stay Healthy. Stay Safe.

Getting some fun in the sun is so important for your mental and physical health, and Piedmont Park is the perfect space to enjoy some quality time in the outdoors. Staying safe and healthy is a top priority, and luckily we have four great tips on how to make sure we can all share the Park and feel safe!

The first tip is to remember to stay AT LEAST 6ft. away from other groups. With over 200 acres of Park to explore, everyone can enjoy. Maybe you’ll even find a new favorite spot!

The next tip is to make sure your circle is small. We’ve all been missing our friends and loved ones, and Piedmont Park is the perfect space to safely meet up with a SMALL group of your favorite people.

Getting fresh air is amazing for your well being, but remember to bring a mask and put it on when going through high traffic areas. This way, we can all feel safe and enjoy the Park!

Finally, let’s make sure we’re keeping it clean. Whatever you bring into the Park should either leave with you or end up in a trash or recycling bin. We’ve recently installed new recycling bins and trash cans to help make Piedmont Park green and clean!

Enjoy the last few weeks of summer and get outside and enjoy Piedmont Park. If we all remember these few rules, the Park will remain safe and open for everyone to enjoy.

Author: Olivia O’Brien

Combining Art and Safety in Six Feet

Learn about each of the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s social distancing circles.

We all know one of the golden rules: stay six feet apart. Though, over time it can become difficult to remember to distance in addition to understanding exactly how far six feet really is. Piedmont Park Conservancy’s team came up with a creative and bold way to remind Park visitors of this important guideline to keep us all safe.

Six different six-feet circles can now be found all throughout Piedmont Park. Unveiling paintings of butterflies, herons and more, these circles serve as both a preventative health measure and artistic display. Learn more about each circle below.

Honeybee

Scientific name: Apis mellifera

The honeybee is Georgia’s state insect! Aside from producing honey and beeswax, it is also a valuable pollinator that humans (and plants!) rely on to thrive. You can spot native bees throughout the Park – especially in the Commons and near our Education Garden. 

Leading Artist: Kasey Sorel

Bald Eagle

Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus

The bald eagle has an impressive wingspan that can range from 6 to 8 feet. These birds of prey also construct nests that can be up to 13 feet deep! They are notoriously known for being used as a national symbol for the United States.
Leading Artist: Grace Yund

Great Blue Heron

Scientific name: Ardea herodias

These blue-grey birds have an average wingspan of 6 feet and are frequently found near bodies of water or other wetlands. They enjoy nesting high up in trees but are known for being superb fishers.Take a stroll around Lake Clara Meer and you might catch a glimpse of one, as this bird can commonly be spotted in the Park!
Leading Artist: Whitney Hendrix

Swallowtail Butterfly

Scientific name: Papilionidae

The swallowtail butterfly is Georgia’s state butterfly. Their blue and yellow coloring is striking and helps identify them! These pollinators start out as caterpillars and go through metamorphosis to play an important role in our ecosystem later on.
Leading Artist: Whitney Hendrix

Corn Snake

Scientific name: Pantherophis guttatus

Corn snakes can reach lengths of 2 to 6 feet.They are recognizable by their coloring – full of browns, oranges, reds, and yellows. These snakes are not venomous and are important due to their help with controlling rodent populations. 

Leading Artist: Juliana De La Rosa

[This circle is still in development. We will update once it is ready!]

Dogwood, Tulip Poplar, and White Oak Leaves

Scientific names: Cornus florida, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Quercus alba

All of these different types of trees can be found throughout Piedmont Park! Our Park has an incredible range of diversity when it comes to trees. Each type of tree goes through changes as the seasons pass and also provide a habitat for critters small and large. Check out our virtual tree tours or use our walking tour guide to check them out for yourself!
Leading Artist: Kaycee Walker

Cherokee Rose

Scientific name: Rosa laevigata

The Cherokee Rose is Georgia’s state flower and can be found statewide. The flower is named after the Cherokee indian tribe. The flowers bloom in the springtime and the white petals have a velvety texture.
Leading Artist: Kaycee Walker

Do you love these beautiful social distancing circles? Consider donating to the Piedmont Park Conservancy and check out @PiedmontLearns on Instagram!

Love Shouldn’t Wait

Love shouldn’t wait, and these beautiful couples couldn’t agree more.

While so many wedding plans were canceled this year, nothing was going to stop these couples from sharing their vows. 

Nancy Hallman and Chris Partido decided they didn’t want the Coronavirus to affect their wedding date, so they decided on having a smaller scale elopement with only a few close friends and family in attendance.

“We just couldn’t wait for another year,” says Nancy Hallman, “We didn’t want COVID to mess up our original date.”

Another couple, Alex and Maureen Romoff were scheduled to have a large traditional wedding this year, but the pandemic halted these plans. Having to change original wedding plans is something that would normally cause stress and heartbreak, but the Romoffs took these change of plans as a welcoming surprise. After thinking about it further, they decided that a big wedding was not something they even wanted. 

“The whole production was not us… We decided to elope since we wanted a balance of romance, intimacy and practicality,” says Maureen Romoff.

Changing a wedding date and a venue is not ever taken lightly. The Piedmont Park Conservancy is honored that these couples chose the Park as their location to get married.

“We come here almost every day, and the Park was initially one of the places that attracted us to the city before committing to move to Atlanta from D.C.”, says Maureen Romoff. 

“Everything went smooth…it was perfect. I would do it all over again,” says Nancy Hallman. 

Love didn’t have to wait for these couples. A Piedmont Park elopement allows couples to experience a beautiful, intimate ceremony with close friends and family in an iconic, and historic waterfront setting. These perfect, small and special ceremonies are now priceless memories for these two couples, creating a connection to the park forever.  

If you are considering an intimate and romantic elopement, check out how you can have your ceremony at Piedmont Park.

Author: Olivia O’Brien

Help Me Help the Park: Erin Yabroudy

Letter from Piedmont Park Conservancy Board Member Erin Yabroudy

This year has brought so many challenges that no one could have ever expected. Like so many others, I have faced uncertainty, had to adapt and pause for deep reflection. But through it all, Piedmont Park has remained a staple for my family, as I’m sure it has for you.

When I walk through the Park, I see a space that welcomes all. I believe that Piedmont Park is where people from all walks of life can come together. It’s also a place where we can safely make precious memories with loved ones, be active or take moments to clear our heads when the world around us seems uncertain.

Thanks to you, the Piedmont Park Conservancy is able to maintain a space that is safe, welcoming, and free for everyone to enjoy. But, the Conservancy needs your help more than ever. To help preserve and uphold the beauty of our Park, please join me in making an additional gift today. if you are able.

And thanks to a generous gift by two anonymous board members, all gifts made through July 31, up to $50,000, will be matched!  I’ve increased my support this year to help the Park in these uncertain times.  Please consider doing so as well – make your gift today.

Thank you for your continued support. Without people like you, none of this would be possible.

Thank you in advance,

Erin Yabroudy
Piedmont Park Conservancy Board Member

P.S. To hear more about why our family cares about Piedmont Park, enjoy the video below.

Piedmont Park Feeds the Gorillas, Elephants and More at Zoo Atlanta

The next time you go to Zoo Atlanta pay attention to what some of the animals are eating. You might recognize some of the food as plants you see at Piedmont Park.

You heard us right! The heart of downtown Atlanta is now a food source for the animals that live in Zoo Atlanta. 

Photo Credit: Zoo Atlanta

A few weeks ago, a staff member from Zoo Atlanta reached out to the Piedmont Park Conservancy to let us know about their Browse Program. The Zoo collects browse, leafy plants that many animals use as food in their natural habitats, from a few other businesses and parks around Atlanta. Our friends at the Zoo thought Piedmont Park could be a great source of these plants. 

It turns out that they were right! After a visit to the Park, Zoo Atlanta let us know that some of the plant species found in Piedmont Park would qualify as browse. Some examples include privet, bush honeysuckle, and elaeagnus, all invasive species that are regularly removed from the Park. It is worth noting that vines like english ivy can actually be poisonous to the animals. 

Thanks to our fantastic volunteers, Piedmont Park is able to provide about eight to 10 bags of these plants to the Zoo on a regular basis. Since the Park is so large, we are able to be a consistent source of these materials for the Zoo, and the Conservancy will continue to supply the Zoo with browse for the foreseeable future. 

The next time you visit Zoo Atlanta, pay special attention to the Gorillas, Elephants, Zebras, and monkeys you might recognize their snack! 

Photo Credit: Zoo Atlanta

Want to help? Volunteer or donate to the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Five Fun and Distant Family Activities

Have some summer fun in the Park with your family! Here are five socially distant  activities you can do in the Park.

  • Connect with Nature

Download our Backyard Birding activity, and see how many types of birds you can spot in Piedmont Park. You can also use our “iNaturalist Companion” download to take a hike around the Park.

  • Family Picnic

If you’re in the mood for a more relaxing day, sit on the Front Lawn and have a picnic. All you need is a blanket and a cooler full of your favorite foods.

  • Scavenger Hunt

Another great idea to keep the whole family entertained is a scavenger hunt. Download our Piedmont Park Nature Scavenger Hunt. We recommend starting your journey at the Welcome Plaza.
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  • Family Field Day

For an active experience, host a family field day! Bring a frisbee, soccer ball or football, and visit one of the many open fields at the Park to play all day.

  • Arts and Crafts

Finally, just have a quiet day with your loved ones. Find a shady spot and do some arts and crafts. Bring a mat for easy cleanup and finger paint. You could also make your own giant bubbles, impression sculptures with fallen leaves or beaded sun catchers. The possibilities are really endless.

We hope you are inspired by some of these activities and have a great day spending quality time with your loved ones! 

Want more? Find several family fun activities on our online learning hub. Also, receive updates and stay connected with live readings, YouTube activities and more by subscribing to our “Connect and Learn” Instagram page: @piedmontlearns

Author: Olivia O’Brien