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!

Seven Men. 208 Acres. One Big Impact.

Every morning around 7:30am, seven men wearing “Piedmont Park Conservancy” imprinted on their chest set out on golf carts, trucks and mowers to tackle the 200 plus acres of beautiful Piedmont Park. With the sun slowly rising, the smell of morning dew and a small collection of people seen jogging through the Park, each man starts the day on his own mission. Some will pick up rakes and blowers. Others will count out screws and wires. A few will check systems and computers, hoping no new surprises popped up overnight.

Amongst trees, flowers and open fields of grass, you will typically find Landscaper John Frazier. Being with the Piedmont Park Conservancy for over 14 years, John says that he loves his job because he can work with his hands and enjoy the outdoors, all while watching the fruits of his labor grow. John is usually paired with contract worker Chris who likes “making the Park look pretty for people to enjoy.”

“The atmosphere is great,” John says. “The people I work with have great attitudes. It’s a great learning process. Making the Park better each year is great.”
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John Frazier

Peek between buildings and spot a red golf cart to find Operations Manager Todd Williard. Todd began working at the Conservancy because of his interest in the preservation of Piedmont Park.

“I demonstrate my love for the park by showing up every day,” Todd says. “I enjoy working outside, and I love being involved in the Conservancy.”

Todd, often found wearing his cowboy hat and a button down shirt, is the go-to man for detailed projects, broken machines, and handy work that the average person looks at with a blank stare.

Wind around the corner and find Stanley Lofton, another landscaper with a friendly personality and often a wave. Stanley spends his days blowing an immense amount of leaves, mowing large acres of grass, budding flowers to promote their growth and so much more. Ask Stanley how his day is going, and you are always met with enthusiasm and passion.

“I love the Park people,” Stanley says. Working in Piedmont Park has “a sense of freedom. Piedmont Park has history, you know? I’m from Atlanta, and Piedmont Park is the crown jewel of the city. I’m part of Piedmont Park, and Piedmont Park is part of me.”

Stanley Lofton

Keep walking through the Park, and find a man standing on a ladder tinkering away: Maintenance Engineer Michael Paul. Usually surrounded by an immense amount of tools and measuring tape, Michael performs multiple roles from technical projects to IT functions for the Conservancy. Michael expresses the same passion and dedication in his work as the other team members.

“I support the mission of the Conservancy,” Michael says. “It makes me proud because when people stop, ask me questions and say that they enjoy the Park, I know how much work goes into it. I get the opportunity to interact with the public which opens the door to talk about the Conservancy.”

Michael Paul testing Legacy Fountain under ground

Hop over to the Active Oval to see Landscaper Alan Wise, continuously mowing or raking the fields in systematic lines and patterns to beautifully curate the sport fields. Alan works hard to care for the fields which attract over 68,000 reserved players each year.

Alan loves Piedmont Park “because it’s the heart of the city [and] it connects people with nature.”

Some of Alan’s other duties include checking reservation permits, managing signage, and prepping bases, nets and other recreational items. When he isn’t working on the Oval, Alan aids the other team members to further beautify the Park such as mulching the Dog Parks, supporting volunteers and trash pickup.

Alan Wise raking the fields

Need to take a bathroom break? You might run into Landscaper Lorenzo Marshall. Toting buckets, cleaning supplies and a friendly spirit, Lorenzo is charged with taking care of all of the bathrooms in Piedmont Park. With an increased visitation of Piedmont Park, this job gets harder and harder every day. Yet, Lorenzo always shows up and gets the job done. After cleaning bathrooms, Lorenzo might be found clearing pathways, caring for plants and other landscape projects.

Lorenzo Marshall

Lastly, you might see Mark Nelson driving by checking on various projects or sitting in a meeting to strategize the next move. Mark, the Director of Operations, impressively manages the team and the countless projects that pop up all over Piedmont Park. He determines which projects are delegated to the Conservancy team or the City of Atlanta. He communicates with the rest of the staff to update them on projects and field incoming questions. Mark also gets his hands dirty, using his horticultural and landscape expertise to complete specialized projects with the Park.

Mark Nelson

Standing from any Piedmont Park gate looking in, anywhere your eyes can see is likely to be impacted by the Piedmont Park Conservancy operations staff. Whether you love to visit the Dog Parks, play in the playgrounds, shop at the Green Market, attend camp, splash in the Legacy Fountain, or jog around the running track, you can see the efforts of this hardworking team.  The Conservancy is lucky to have such a dedicated and self-motivated team that also hold personal passions for the work that they do. The next time you are out in the Park, give a wave hello and strike up a conversation. They’re friendly guys, and are definitely Piedmont Park Proud.

Piedmont Park Field Trip Program Expansion – $25,000 grant from Wells Fargo

Through a generous grant from Wells Fargo, the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s field trip program can now expand! In 2016, the Conservancy saw a 175% increase in field trip attendance resulting in 2,500 students from 38 organizations. To continue the Conservancy’s committee to enriching childhood education, Wells Fargo has granted this funding to aid in part-time support and acquire additional teaching supplies.  Because of this grant, the Conservancy hopes to serve 50% more – an additional 1,250 – students in the coming school year.

The Conservancy believes that Piedmont Park is premiere education destination for fostering environmental stewardship, and uses the Park as an outdoor learning classroom and resource for youth education and the larger community. The Conservancy also features other popular environmental education programming including summer and day camps, counselor-in-training sessions, and hands-on-learning workshops. Appreciation goes to Wells Fargo for empowering the Conservancy’s goals through this grant.

About the Piedmont Park Conservancy
The Piedmont Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, is a member and donor-funded organization working in partnership with the city of Atlanta to enhance and preserve Piedmont Park as a vital, urban green space, and as a cultural and recreational resources that enriches the quality of life for all Atlantans. Since 1989, over $66 million has been invested into Piedmont Park through capital improvements raised by the Conservancy. Today, the Conservancy requires over $3 million dollars in donations every year in order to manage and enhance Piedmont Park and its programs.

About Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $2.0 trillion in assets. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,500 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 42 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 273,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 25 on Fortune’s 2017 rankings of America’s largest corporations. The Chronicle of Philanthropy ranked Wells Fargo No. 3 on its most recent list of the top corporate cash philanthropists. In 2016, Wells Fargo donated $281.3 million to 14,900 nonprofits and Wells Fargo team members volunteered 1.73 million hours with 50,000 nonprofits. Wells Fargo’s corporate social responsibility efforts are focused on economic empowerment in underserved communities, environmental sustainability, and advancing diversity and social inclusion. News, insights, and perspectives from Wells Fargo are also available at Wells Fargo Stories.

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

Landscape Improvement on Piedmont Avenue

Avid runners and walkers of Piedmont Park will notice a vast different on Piedmont Avenue. The Piedmont Park Conservancy just completed a landscaping improvement at the north end of Piedmont Park creating a safer environment for pedestrians to travel along Piedmont Avenue towards the Monroe Drive entrance. The project cleared an immense gathering of brush and collective trash, and the removal of invasive species. Additionally, a decorative wall was installed to add another layer of curbside appeal.

Local jogger Amy says “I am [happy] to see the new section of the park off of Piedmont Avenue. As somebody that runs in that area quite a bit, it’s nice to not only see the sidewalk fixed, but just to see all of the beautiful landscaping.”

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

A less popular area of Piedmont Park, the former state of the north end was one of the remaining areas that needed vast improvement after the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s capital campaigns. Since 1989, the Conservancy has invested over $66 million into the park, and found the remaining area unacceptable.

“The north end landscape improvement was a natural next step to improving the Piedmont Park experience. We wanted to bring this area up to the expectations of what Atlantans know to be beautiful Piedmont Park,” says Mark Banta, President/CEO of the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Appreciation goes to The Kendeda Fund for funding this project. The project was designed by HGOR. The construction was completed by Gibson Landscape. The Piedmont Park Conservancy is in conversation with the City of Atlanta about the completion of the sidewalk improvement surrounding the north end of Piedmont Park.

 

Replacement of Piedmont Park’s Beloved Climbing Magnolia

The Vasser Woolley Foundation donates $20,000 for tree and care

In spring of last year, Piedmont Park was highlighted in the AJC for being home to the most recognizable and most photographed tree in Atlanta – the “Climbing Magnolia.” If you grew up in Atlanta, or are a frequent park visitor, chances are you have either climbed on this tree yourself or taken a picture in front it. Its sweeping limbs made the perfect perch for that keepsake photo or unique vantage point of Atlanta’s historic park.

But in July 2016, the Climbing Magnolia sadly toppled over succumbing to a column of rot that had weakened its core. Based on its rings, many believe the magnolia dates back to the Cotton States Exhibition in 1895 -an important milestone in Atlanta’s history.

Fortunately, a 20’ magnolia, with a 70” root ball, weighing over 8,000 lbs has been successfully installed in Piedmont Park. The Piedmont Park Conservancy extends great appreciation to the Vasser Woolley Foundation for donating $20,000 towards the replacement, installation and ongoing care of this iconic Atlanta landmark. The Conservancy looks forward to the many years ahead of the new Magnolia.

Moments before the new Magnolia Tree is planted.

Jennifer Rudder places her hand on the 70″ root ball.

Piedmont Park Conservancy staff members Krystal Collier, Amy Han Dietrich, Jennifer Rudder and Terrell Henderson posing by the new magnolia tree.

Waterfall Foundation donates $100,000 to Piedmont Park Conservancy

The Piedmont Park Conservancy is delighted to receive a $100,000 grant from the Waterfall Foundation to improve and repair the Park’s water fountains. Due to heavy park use, the water fountains are in frequent need of repair and it is one of most common complaints from park visitors.  The grant will allow the Conservancy to replace the internal supply and drainage system for all 27 drinking fountains throughout the park. The project is scheduled to begin in April and is estimated to take four weeks to complete. More information to follow.

A big thank you to the Waterfall Foundation for this generous contribution to enhance the Piedmont Park experience.

Piedmont Park Provides Tranquility at SAMSKY Advanced Heart Failure Center

The Piedmont Park Conservancy and Piedmont Healthcare collaborated to display Piedmont Park photographs throughout the SAMSKY Center. The Conservancy is delighted to know that patients of the Center will be able to view serene photographs of Piedmont Park during what might be a stressful time in their lives. Thank you to Julie Webster for working with the Conservancy to make this vision come to life!