Zonolite Park Restoration Project

The Georgia Native Plant Society is restoring a brown field on the banks of the South Fork of Peachtree Creek, near Emory University in DeKalb County. Here is where the long-time manufacturer of vermiculite discovered asbestos contaminating the process of making insulation sold under the brand name Zonolite.  The plant closed, the manufacturer bankrupted, and 12 acres of land were abandoned for decades.

In 2011, after years of persistent nudging from neighbors and the South Fork Conservancy, the US Environmental Protection Agency and DeKalb County began to remove the contaminated dirt. Twelve months later, The Georgia Native Plant Society and Trees Atlanta offered expertise, volunteers and plants to begin restoring the floodplain. Today Blue Flag iris and Virginia Sweetspire flank the water garden pond. Silky dogwood, sumac and dozens of varieties of hardwoods are thriving along the banks. Biodiverse plants and animals are returning to the pond and meadow.

PLANTS STILL NEEDED: woodland ferns to edge trails and steps along the South Fork creek. More different wildflowers and native grasses for the meadow.

Driving Directions To Restoration Project

Although the actual location of the entrance is off Zonolite Place (see this map), parking is available in the Zonolite business complex, off Zonolite Road, as the map below indicates.


News & Events

Critical Wetland in the Heart of Atlanta | Restoration Site Workday

Join knowledgeable and enthusiastic volunteers supporting a pollinator garden at the GNPS Zonolite Park Restoration Site.  We will remove Winter’s remains and prepare the plots for Spring growth with simple weeding.  Bring a water bottle, a trowel, gloves and be ready to make new friends.  Zonolite Park is restoring a critical wetland in the heart of Atlanta and needs loving hands.  This restoration site consists of 1.5 miles of gravel trails through 13 acres.  The area includes old growth forest, a sunny meadow, small rivulets and a beautiful wetland garden.  The creek’s sandy beach-like banks are perfect for getting an up close view of the water.


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