Zonolite Park Restoration Project

Overview

Zonolite Park is located on just under fourteen acres and is comprised of the Nickel Bottom Community Garden, a meadow, mature bottomland forest and the Southfork of Peachtree Creek streambank that runs the length of the park.

Zonolite Park Restoration Project

The park is on land that formerly was an industrial wasteland, contaminated by asbestos, overgrown with kudzu and invasive plants, and abandoned and neglected 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 soil. Two million dollars later, the land was declared free of detectable asbestos. The complex grading and ecological restoration design by Sylvatica Studio’s Susan Stainback created a large, sloping meadow with a retention pond, which cleanses rainwater before it reaches the creek.

One year later, Georgia Native Plant Society (GNPS) and Trees Atlanta offered expertise, volunteers, and plants to begin restoring the newly created meadow and retention pond. Today, biodiverse plants and many species of animals have returned to the park. The first GNPS restoration project at Zonolite involved establishing a casual native plant garden area at the parking lot entrance.

In 2019, Friends of Zonolite Park (FoZP) established the Zonolite Conservancy project to restore the remaining areas of the park, which includes bottomland forest and streambank. The predominant forest understory at the park consists of invasive plants, which have overwhelmed the ecosystem of the forest and crowded out native plants. The focus of the Zonolite Conservancy Project can be summarized in four words: remove invasives/encourage natives. Over the last several years, FoZP have planted over 2,000 native plants, including trees, shrubs, grasses, perennials, ferns, and vines. Restoration work is ongoing, and it will take many years to return the area to a healthy urban forest. For more information on the Zonolite Conservancy efforts click here.

GNPS approved the forest and streambank areas of the park as a new GNPS restoration site in the spring of 2022. These areas are where volunteer help is now critical.

Regular Workdays

Volunteers meet every other Tuesday morning from 8:30 am to 10:30 am during the summer and 9:30 am to 11:30 am during winter months to cut privet as a “special treat” for Atlanta Zoo animals like giraffes and goats. Volunteers meet at the pavilion in the Community Garden and enjoy coffee and refreshments prior to starting work. Bring your coffee cup. All are welcome. For more information on bi-weekly workdays or to be added to the bi-weekly volunteer distribution email list contact Coleen Boyle: boyle.coleen@gmail.com.

Where is it and where do I park?

Address: 1164 Zonolite Place NE, Atlanta, GA 30306
The main parking lot is located on Zonolite Place, near the intersection of Johnson Road and Braircliff in DeKalb County.

 

News & Events

Pollinator Picnics – August 20

Pollinator Picnics – August 20

The GNPS-Intown Atlanta Chapter will be on site at various locations around town to partner with the University of Georgia Extension Program’s 2022 Great Georgia Pollinator Census count. Join us to count the pollinators that are so vital to life on earth. We will have experts on site to help you ID the plants and insects. We encourage counters of all ages to come out.

You can find details about the Census at https://ggapc.org/.  We encourage you to come out for the count and bring a picnic lunch to enjoy when you’ve finished counting.

Locations throughout Atlanta including Mason Mill Park; Zonolite Park; GSU Perimeter College Native Plant Botanical Garden; Atlanta History Center

Time: 10:00 a.m. – noon

Free!

Facebook event pages:

Atlanta History Center

GSU Perimeter College Native Botanical Garden – We are excited to add that there will be a native plant sale! held at the site, from 10 AM to 2 PM. Find the garden at the rear of the parking lot that is shared with the Dekalb High School of Technology.

Mason Mill Park

Zonolite Park

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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