Posts

Splish Splash Doggie Bash: Dogs Take Last Dip for the Summer

Over 1,000 humans and dogs alike came to Piedmont Park’s Aquatic Center and Pool to attend this year’s Splish Splash Doggie Bash on October 5 and 6. Ending the summer season with a bang, the Park welcomed four-legged swimmers to take a dip before draining the pool for the fall and winter season. The pool party also offered human friendly bar for dog parents, as well as giveaways, including toys, treats, bandanas and coupons from participating vendors.

Photo credit: Rick Moll

The Piedmont Park Conservancy hosts Splish Splash Doggie Bash every year to raise funds for the Piedmont Park Dog Parks. The Park offers three acres for dogs to run off-leash, separate enclosures for large and small dogs, new trails and landscaping, shady areas, benches and restrooms for dog parents, dog water spickets and weekend concessions including King of Pops with dog popsicles for good boys and girls alike.

Photo credit: Rick Moll

To support the dog parks this holiday season, buy a bone with your pup’s name on it! Learn more at: https://www.piedmontpark.org/support-the-park/dogparksupport/

Author: Jessica Vue

#KnowTheCost – Spreading the Message to Atlantans

Did you know that it takes approximately 668 gallons of water to make a single soccer ball? Over 663 million people worldwide drink dirty water – that’s twice the population of the United States.

#KnowTheCost. This is the message that IBM, in collaboration with the Weather Channel, wanted to spread. The Mill, an experiential and interactive design studio, chose Piedmont Park as the venue to reach as many Atlantans as possible.

“It seemed like a no brainer with the stunning backdrop of Dockside, and the foot traffic the Park attracts,” says The Mill.

The Mill was challenged to ideate a concept to support a Change campaign that IBM and the Weather Channel were launching in June of 2019 to raise awareness around the issue of global clean water scarcity and water footprints. That is when The Mill came up with an activation ultimately called Know the Cost.

The Mill would take everyday items and freeze them in the amount of ice equivalent to the amount of water it takes to produce each one (leveraging global average). In this activation, a t-shirt, soccer ball, coffee cup and plastic T-Rex toy would be on display. They would work alongside a waterfootprint.org scientist to provide and validate the statistics and claims. 

After some online research for parks in the area and a positive testimony, The Mill found Piedmont Park. The Mill says, “the rental was affordable, spacious, convenient and scenic, with great attractions and foot traffic.” Although it was an outdoor activation, The Mill really appreciated having a building included with the rental to store equipment, escape the heat, and utilize the restrooms. Other amenities that were useful included the security option and easy access for load-in and out.

We love when clients come to us with new challenges and opportunities like these, so the hope is that we’ll continue to do even more of these types of activations in the future, says the Mill. “If the opportunity presents itself, we would do another event here.”

To host your next activation or installation in Piedmont Park, contact ldickinson@piedmontpark.org or (404) 537-2831 to reach Leslie Dickinson. Also, visit https://www.piedmontpark.org/corporate/ to learn more.

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.

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

If It Walks Like A Duck

While walking around Lake Clara Meer, you’ve probably noticed ducks either swimming in the lake or hanging out on its banks. Have you ever wondered about the different types of ducks that inhabit the park and when during the year you can find them here?

In fact, more than 10 different types of ducks can be found in Piedmont Park, few of which actually have the word duck in their name.  Listed below are the formal names of ducks you can see during your visit to the park along with descriptive information about each type.  After the duck’s name is the time of year that each has been observed here.

Muscovy Duck (year-round)

With their long necks, heavy bodies, webbed feet and spatula-shaped bills, these birds are instantly recognizable as ducks but there are many clues that help Muscovy ducks stand out from the flock. Their relatively long bill is dark at the base with variable color bands along its length, including white, pale blue-white, and pink, and the nail at the bill’s tip is gray.  Even though the word Muscovy means “from Moscow”, these ducks are not from Moscow.

Ruddy Duck (January)

The ruddy duck is a species of stifftail duck (others include the masked duck and blue-billed duck) and is a diving duck with a spiky stiff tail which is used as a rudder while swimming.  The tail may also be held angled or vertically as a breeding or territorial display especially between competing males.  These ducks often have colorful bills and compact bodies.

Ring-necked Duck (November through April)

The ring-necked duck is a small to medium-sized diving duck that has two white rings surrounding its gray bill, a shiny black angular head, black back, white line on its wings, a white breast and yellow eyes.  The female has a grayish brown angular head and body with a dark brown back, a dark bill with a more subtle light band than the male, grayish-blue feet and brown eyes with white rings surrounding them. This duck is sometimes referred to as a ringbill.

Wood Duck (year-round)

The wood duck or Carolina duck is one of the most colorful North American waterfowl.  Breeding males exhibit ornate, colorful patterns visible up-close but appear dark overall at a distance; females are gray-brown with a thin white ring around the eye.  The wood duck possesses a crest on its head and flies through trees with exceptional maneuverability thanks to its long tail.  Often shy and quick, the wood duck’s call is a loud, screeching whistle.

Mallard (year-round)

Mallards are large ducks with hefty bodies, rounded heads and wide, flat bills.  The mallard’s body is long and the tail rides high out of the water, giving a blunt shape.  Male mallards have a dark, iridescent-green head and bright yellow bill.  The gray body is sandwiched between a brown breast and black rear.  Females and juveniles are brown with orange-and-brown bills. Both sexes have a white-bordered, blue patch on their wings.

Redhead (March)

The redhead goes by many names including the red-headed duck and is easily distinguished from other ducks by the male’s copper-colored head and bright blue bill during the breeding season.  Slightly larger than a ring-necked duck and slightly smaller than a canvasback, the redhead is a medium-sized diving duck with a smoothly rounded head and a moderately large bill.  Redheads have black-tipped, gray bills, and in flight they show gray flight feathers.

Canvasback (December & January)

The canvasback is the largest species of diving duck in North America measuring up to 22 inches in length and weighing up to 3.5 pounds.  The canvasback has a distinctive wedge-shaped head and long graceful neck.  Its sloping profile distinguishes it from other ducks.  Both male and female have a black bill; the male has a chestnut red head and neck while the female has a light brown head and neck.  The canvasback’s legs and feet are bluish-gray.

Northern Shoveler (Spring & Fall)

Appropriately nicknamed the spoonbill, the northern shoveler has the largest bill of any duck in North America. The bill is actually longer than the duck’s head with a flattened wide tip perfect for “shoveling” along the water’s surface for food.  Males have an iridescent green head; females are brown, buff and black with darker upperparts, finer streaking on the head and a faint dark eye line.  Both genders have yellow eyes, and bright orange legs and feet.

Blue-winged Teal (Spring & Fall)

There are more than 20 species of teal ducks throughout the world.  The blue-winged teal is a smaller, petite duck characterized by its short neck and short tail.  Males have brightly marked, distinctive plumage.  The unexpected shades may be difficult to see when the bird’s wings are folded but very colorful when in flight.  Females are more camouflaged with muted, earth tone colors which serve as protection while they are nesting or caring for young ducklings.

Lesser Scaup (January & March)

The lesser scaup is a medium-sized diving duck, smaller than the closely-related greater scaup, with a small peak at the back of the head.  It is colloquially known as the little bluebill or broadbill because of its distinctive blue bill. The lesser scaup is one of the most numerous and widespread diving ducks in North America.  Its name, scaup, may stem from the bird’s preference for feeding on scalp—the Scottish word for clams, oysters and mussels.

Bufflehead (February through April)

Adult males are striking black and white with iridescent green and purple heads and a large white patch behind the eye.  Females are gray-toned with a smaller white patch behind the eye and a light underside.  The bufflehead rivals the green-winged teal as the smallest American duck, measuring under 16 inches long and weighing under 20 oz.  Its name refers to its head shape, noticeable when the male puffs out the feathers on its head, greatly increasing its size.

Hooded Merganser (November & December)

The most prominent feature of this small, slim, streamlined duck is its narrow, serrated, hooked bill.  The merganser is the only type of duck that regularly eats a large amount of fish and similar prey, and its bill is specialized to make this duck a keen and ferocious hunter.  Two other species of this duck includes the common and the red-breasted merganser.

Piedmont Park Ducks – Do’s & Don’ts

Do’s

  • Only offer foods in bite-sized pieces the ducks can easily consume without choking or struggling.
  • Good foods for ducks include bite-sized pieces of apples and tomatoes, cracked corn, chopped kale, bite-sized pieces of romaine lettuce or Swiss chard and watermelon
  • Enjoy the experience of being in nature with these colorful birds

Don’ts

  • Don’t feed bread to the ducks; it’s not good for them
  • Do not allow pets or children to chase or disturb the ducks
  • Stop feeding if the ducks appear uninterested or are leaving the food uneaten, and avoid feeding the ducks if other visitors are already offering treats

Guest Post by Don Disner

AUTHOR’S BIO: Don Disner

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.”

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.

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!

Events

Homeschool Day

Homeschool Day is back for 2019! Beginning on August 20, each month we will host a Homeschool Day with a unique program for varying grade levels.

Learn More

Homeschool Day

Homeschool Day is back for 2019! Beginning on August 20, each month we will host a Homeschool Day with a unique program for varying grade levels.

Learn More