Old Rucker Road Park Wildlife Habitat Garden

This project includes the creation of a 225-250 square foot Demonstration Wildlife Habitat Garden within a new “passive” neighborhood park created on the site of a former commercial nursery off Old Rucker Road in Alpharetta. The garden will be located near the entrance to the 10+ acre park in a sunny area adjacent to a city-operated 1.5-acre educational farm donated by Whole Foods , using the assets of the former Whole Kids Educational Farm. Amanda Musilli, former director of the Whole Kids Educational Farm, will continue her directorial role for the farm in her new position as Community Services Manager, Alpharetta Recreation and Parks. We have been working closely with Amanda through the proposal process for this garden and have her support as well as that of Morgan Rogers, Director, Alpharetta Recreation and Parks, in the creation of the garden.

The project will complement Alpharetta’s Wild Side, an initiative of the Alpharetta Natural Resources Commission to achieve Community Wildlife Certification by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). The city is the nation’s 105th Certified Community Wildlife Habitat but continues to advocate the creation of wildlife habitats in homeowners’ yards. The project is a joint undertaking of the Georgia Native Plant Society, Atlanta Audubon Society, and the Alpharetta Natural Resources Commission, with approval of Alpharetta Parks & Recreation.

Nikki Belmonte, executive director of Atlanta Audubon, a GNPS member and Alpharetta resident, has worked with GNPS on other wildlife habitat projects and has pledged her organization’s support for this project as well. GNPS member Lauren Orem, a horticulturist and landscape designer whose business Be Natural Gardens LLC specializes in developing certified pollinator gardens and wildlife habitats, has developed a planting guide for the site, with input on appropriate native trees, shrubs and forbs from GNPS members and the Atlanta Audubon Society. Andrew White, Director of Park Visioning for Park Pride, and Melina Lozano Durán, Pollinator Restoration Coordinator, Department of Conservation and Research, Atlanta Botanical Garden, were both generous in sharing their experiences developing similar but smaller pollinator gardens in five neighborhood parks in metro Atlanta. GNPS members sharing their native plant experience and advising on the project include Ellen Honeycutt, Marcia Winchester, Sheri George, Elaine Nash, Karen McCaustland, Connie Ghosh and Susan Hanson. Other native plant experts offering advice on the project include Walter Bland (Rock Spring Restorations), Jim Rodgers (Nearly Native Nursery), and Jeff Killingsworth (Beech Hollow Wildflower Farm).

Driving Directions To Wildlife Habitat Garden

From Georgia 400, take the Old Milton Parkway exit and head west. The name of the road  changes to Rucker Road in about two miles.  Almost four miles from leaving 400, the new entrance to the park is opposite the Old Station subdivision on Rucker Road. The nearest mailbox address is 910 Rucker Road. Old Rucker Road has been barricaded at the west end of the new park.

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