Month: August 2016

A “Parks for Monarchs” Partnership

Over the past 20 years, it’s been estimated that the monarch butterfly population has declined by 90% due to the loss of their primary food source, milkweed, from deforestation and development. Park Pride, however, in partnership with dedicated community gardeners, the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA) and Southwest Airlines, is doing our part to replant and rebuild the monarch’s natural habitat!

With the support of  NRPA’s Parks for Monarchs program, funded by Southwest Airlines, Park Pride supplied four community gardens in City of Atlanta parks with the resources needed to boost their gardens’ ability to support pollinators with the addition of multiple species of pollinator plants.

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The largest planting took place at the Freedom Park Poncey-Highland Community Garden where community gardeners worked side-by-side with Park Pride and Southwest Airlines volunteers to install a brand new pollinator garden, complete with 189 locally sourced native plants.

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“Our garden,” explained Wendy Marcum, co-leader of the Freedom Park Poncey-Highland Community Garden, “relies on bees, wasps and butterflies for pollination, and because of the help of Park Pride and Southwest Airlines, our pollinator garden is an even sweeter destination for these insects!

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Kirkwoods Gilliam Park, Edgewood’s Walker Park and East Atlanta’s Brownwood Park also received plants through the Parks for Monarchs grant, thereby helping to create pockets of monarch-friendly gardens across the City.

For more information about Park Pride’s Community Garden Program, visit bit.ly/ppgardens.

Teri Nye Joins Park Pride as Park Visioning Coordinator

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Teri Nye is the newest member of Park Pride’s Visioning team, holding a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Georgia, a bachelor of science in biology with a concentration in botany, and a Georgia teaching certificate in secondary biology. Originally from Virginia, she began her career in landscape architecture in Sydney, Australia. Upon returning to the United States she made Atlanta her home. She designed parks and urban green spaces in the southeast, including in Houston, Memphis, Charlotte and in Atlanta, for three years before taking a position as a botanist at Fernbank Science Center. There, she honed her expertise in Georgia native plants and plant communities while working throughout DeKalb County in educational outreach.

“Having strong relationships—whether within our families or our friends or our communities—is one of our basic human needs. Parks provide a place for that to happen.” Teri Nye, Park Visioning Coordinator

She spent over ten years helping the public understand and enjoy many of DeKalb County’s parks including Davidson-Arabia Mountain and Stone Mountain, and Atlanta’s urban parks. Teri is also an experienced graphic designer, painter, and photographer; she is a member of the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance and the Georgia Botanical Society and is a volunteer with Trees Atlanta.

Teri’s dynamic background is greatly going to increase the capacity of the Park Visioning team, and we’re thrilled to add her to the ranks!

Learn more about Teri through our interview below.

Why are parks important?

Parks nurture deeper connections to our local landscapes and to enable us to find shared connections based on the landscapes we identify as home. This is especially important in cities where much of what we experience outdoors is planned and managed. I believe everyone benefits from knowing their local ecosystem—which includes people!

Park Pride’s mission is “to engage communities to activate the power of parks.” In what ways are parks “powerful?”

The power of parks is that they catalyze clusters of people living near one another to become communities of neighbors. Parks are a community’s collective back yard, not just fulfilling individual needs, but also allowing neighbors to realize shared interests and commonalities. Having strong relationships—whether within our families or our friends or our communities—is one of our basic human needs. Parks provide a place for that to happen.

Why is it important for communities to have a voice in their parks?

It’s essential that local residents—the very people that will use the parks—play a lead role in the management and planning of their parks. Parks must serve the needs of the community or they simply don’t function. The only way to make this happen is via the advice of people who will be, and have been, living and playing there.

What are you looking forward to the most about your position as Visioning Coordinator?

There are so many exciting things going on throughout Atlanta right now! I’m super excited to be part of creating more livable, safe communities through parks.

What’s your favorite local park?

That’s a tough one. I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where the surrounding countryside, the Shenandoah National Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway were my local parks. I like to roam! Here in Atlanta my favorite ‘park’ is under construction at the moment—that’s the extension of the Eastside Trail of the Beltline Arboretum. The old train tracks have been an impromptu park for Reynoldstown ever since I’ve lived there. It’s also a great place to spot my favorite butterfly, the Buckeye!

What’s your favorite park activity?

Bird watching and exploring. I love just walking around looking at birds, insects and plants, probably with either my binoculars or my camera, or both. It’s inspiring and relaxing at the same time, plus I get some exercise. We also have some great neighborhood parties in Reynoldstown’s Lang-Carson Park.