The Intown Atlanta Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society

 

Overview

The Intown Atlanta Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society has over 300 affiliated GNPS members.

Part of our mission is supporting GNPS Restoration sites in our area. Each of these sites below is linked to its page on the site, and you can see scheduled workdays on the events calendar:

Soon to be added to our list is Herbert Taylor Park / Daniel Johnson Nature Preserve (HTDJ) – https://www.facebook.com/HerbertTaylorPark. Currently, restoration work takes place on the 2nd Saturday of the month from 9-12, but watch for the park to get its own restoration site page soon.

Contact

You can reach us by email.

How can I join?

For current members, login and update your chapter affiliation through the chapter affiliation form. For new or renewing members, you can also select your chapter affiliation on the membership form.

 

Chapter News & Events

Annual Meeting – Plant Share & Swap

Annual Meeting – Plant Share & Swap

Volunteers are needed to help make this day a success.  Please email alederberg@gnps.org to volunteer.

We have an exciting day planned at Zonolite Park on September 18.

The order of events:

12-1 PM Plant Drop-Off. You can bring up to 10 native plants to swap. Bring more to donate to share with others who are just starting out. Label each plant with the common and botanical name (if you know it) and if it grows in the sun or shade. Labels can be placed on the pot or stick labels in the dirt. Popsicle sticks/cut up yoghurt containers or blinds make good labels. Bring a box or nursery flat to carry plants to and from your car.

1-1:45 PM  Annual Meeting at the pavilion The Intown Atlanta Chapter Board will share highlights from our first year as a chapter including an update on our membership numbers and committee structure, event highlights from the year, and upcoming programs and ways to get involved. Lori Conway, Vice Chair of the State Board, will be our featured speaker to give us an overview of GNPS’ Stone Mountain Propagation Project. You might want a camp chair for the meeting.

1:45 to 3 PM Plant Share and Swap. People participating in the plant swap can choose up to 10 plants to take home. People who do not have plants to swap will get to take home one native plant for their garden.  Entry into the plant share and swap will be done in the order of check-in time.

Throughout the day, there will be informational tables where people can speak directly with leaders of working groups that promote the mission of Intown Atlanta GNPS, including our Advocacy and Restoration Committees as well as pollinator-friendly yards.

King of Pops will be onsite beginning at noon offering refreshments for purchase.

You might want to bring water bottle, mosquito repellant, and wear comfortable shoes.

People can also enjoy the 13-acre urban sanctuary at Zonolite Park.

Directions

Plant drop off & check in will be at the entrance to Zonolite Park at 1164 Zonolite Place.

This the second road on the left after turning on Zonolite Road just before the Quick Shot Shooting Range. There is a small parking lot where people can temporarily park to drop off their plants.  People will need to move their car to the main parking lot after plant check-in to allow others to drop off their plants.

Main Parking is at a parking lot located in front of 1145 Zonolite Road.

For accessibility purposes:  note that the pavilion is accessed via a short gravel pathway that is traversable for people with limited mobility, but may be challenging for some wheelchairs.

The closest restrooms are at the Krogers in the Sage Hill Shopping Center.

We hope you’ll join us. Invite your neighbors and friends. You do not have to be a member of GNPS to participate.

(For a complete FAQ about the Swap and Share, see Board Member Laura Markson’s blog here:

https://www.nurturenativenature.com/post/intown-atlanta-gnps-native-plant-swap-share-faq)

Save the Date: Chapter Annual Meeting and Plant Share!

Save the Date: Chapter Annual Meeting and Plant Share!

NOW is the best time to pot up your favorite Georgia native plants to get ready for the first Intown Atlanta GNPS Plant Share & Swap event as part of our Annual Meeting on Sunday, September 18 at 1:00pm. Join a growing community sharing favorite native plants with each other! You will be able to exchange up to 10 plants. We suggest bringing 5 additional plants that you do not intend to exchange so intown neighbors who may have a new home or are just starting out adding native plants to their landscape can participate. Feel free to be as generous as your yard is full and help get more native plants in Atlanta yards!

Be on the lookout for more detailed information about the Annual Meeting and the Plant Share!

How to Get Ready Now for the Plant Share

  • Choose your favorite plants that are native to Georgia and growing abundantly in your yard. To protect pollinator health and wildlife, please ensure that any plants you plan to share are free of pesticides.
  • To help identify if a plant is native use a plant ID app like iNaturalist or PictureThis, join a group like Georgia Native Wildflowers and Plants www.facebook.com/groups/265461530480570, or e-mail intown@gnps.org with a picture of the plant and we’ll see if we can identify it.
  • When you dig a plant, get as much root as possible and include soil plant is growing in. Clay needs to be supplemented with “soil conditioner” found where you buy bagged garden soil. An inexpensive potting mix can be made with equal parts compost and soil conditioner.
  • Once you dig a plant, immediately put it in an individual pot and water it.
  • Label each plant with the common and botanical name (if you know it) and if it grows in the sun or shade. Any additional information about the plant such as height, bloom color and time, moisture requirement, or habitat value would be an appreciated bonus!
  • Keep transplanted plants in a shady spot and water as needed until the Plant Share & Swap
  • If you’d like to get involved and help plan the Share & Swap, please e-mail ljmarkson@att.net
FAQ: Intown Atlanta GNPS Pollinator Picnics

FAQ: Intown Atlanta GNPS Pollinator Picnics

What is the Great Georgia Pollinator Census Count?

The Great Georgia Pollinator Census count (GGPC) is a citizen science project coordinated by the University of Georgia Extension to encourage Georgians to learn more about insects and be open to planting a pollinator habitat with native plants. It is also designed to be straightforward enough so non-scientists can help researchers by collecting data and documenting pollinator numbers in Georgia. It only takes 15 minutes, and you can even do it more than once! In 2019 more than 4,600 counts were uploaded, documenting more than 131,000 insect visits tallied from 134 Georgia counties including 135 schools! The helpful UGA site has instructions and a short video showing how to participate in the count and even lesson plans for teachers that align with Georgia Performance Standards.

Why should I participate in the Georgia Pollinator Census Count?

We can turn the feeling of helplessness about the alarming insect decline and contribute to a healthier ecosystem where we live by participating in the GGPC. In addition to adding data about pollinators, the census count has been shown to increase appreciation for insects, awareness about their habitat needs and create more excitement and interest in planting native plants to attract insects. Children who participate in the count also deepen their understanding of pollinators! So far at least 525 new pollinator gardens have been created as part of the project.

 

What is a Pollinator Picnic?

A pollinator picnic may sound like a gathering of pollinators feasting on native plants, but this year a pollinator picnic is one of five locations around Atlanta where the Intown Atlanta Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society (Intown GNPS) has chosen as a site for people of all ages to participate in the GGPC. Everyone who wants to participate in the count is encouraged to bring a friend, a picnic lunch, enjoy nature, and learn more about how to attract pollinators where they live by using native plants.

When are the Pollinator Picnics?

The Pollinator Picnics are all on Saturday, August 20 from 10 a.m. to noon.

Do I need to register or pay to attend a specific Pollinator Picnic?

No, the Pollinator Picnic are free for everyone – you can just pick one of the sites and show up!

What do I need to bring to the Pollinator Picnic?

Bring yourself and friends or family members! All the supplies needed to participate in the GGPC will be available at each site. If you want you can bring a picnic, drinks, and foldable chairs or a blanket to watch the pollinators or eat your picnic. For some of the sites, there are also places nearby to grab a bite of food.

I don’t know where to go, what makes each Pollinator Picnic site unique?

The five Pollinator Picnic sites were chosen because they are in different parts of intown and have an area with native plants where the pollinator count can take place. If you’re on Facebook and join the Intown Atlanta Chapter of the Georgia Native Plant Society page, each site has an event page with more information. Spread the word by sharing the Pollinator Picnic posts or the site you plan on visiting in your own online circles!

The Five Pollinator Picnic Sites are:

1) Atlanta History Center Entrance Garden The count will take place in the Atlanta History Center’s Entrance Garden at the front of the museum. Most of the plants in this wildlife and pollinator friendly garden are Georgia native plants with an emphasis on grasses echoing the look of American prairies. Parking is free in the AHC main parking deck. Paid food and drink options are available on site, with Brash Coffee opening at 8am and Souper Jenny open for lunch. Museum admission is not required to enjoy these refreshments. There is plenty of space to eat at the 60-foot tree table made from a white oak that had sprouted on the grounds of what is now the Atlanta History Center back in the 1880s. Atlanta History Center has generously offered discounted admission for people who participate in the pollinator count. Valid for same-day admission. Counting will take place 10-11, and from 11-12 there will be a guided nature walk led by AHC Horticulture staff. Counters can participate in the guided nature walk with the price of discounted admission.

2) Gordon-White Park and adjacent Westside section of the Beltline Gordon-White Park, a traditionally landscaped city park in Atlanta’s Historic West End, is home to an open greenspace with winding pathways, landscaped garden bed, and walls and benches for relaxing and eating. The adjacent Westside section is planted with native plants. This Pollinator Picnic site will offer a great opportunity to contrast pollinator habitats. The Pollinator Picnic host will lead a brief tour along the Beltline at noon and if you like, you can join her and others and have a “picnic” at one of the local spots. If you prefer, you can bring your own picnic to enjoy at the park. After lunch explore the neighborhood – stop on Peeples St. to experience the Hammonds House Museum, which celebrates the cultural diversity and legacy of artists of African descent. Just around the corner on Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. sits the Wren’s Nest, historic home of author Joel Chandler Harris.

3) GSU Perimeter College Native Plant Botanical Garden The native plant garden areas at the GSU garden are nestled just behind the campus on 4 acres of land in South Decatur. There are over 4000 species of native, rare, and endangered plants indigenous to the Southeast and US that demonstrate the use and culture of US native plants in Georgia. Some of the volunteers on site for the Pollinator Picnic are Dekalb County master gardeners who help maintain this unique garden.

4) Mason Mill Park The count site at Mason Mill Park will be the new pollinator habitat near the Old Decatur Waterworks. Park near the DeKalb Tennis Center in Mason Mill Park and follow signs for ½ mile along the South Peachtree Creek PATH to reach the count site. Once you’re done with the count and your picnic, explore the 120-acre forest with a network of trails for hiking and biking. The forest is also the location of the old Decatur Waterworks, which is on the National Historic Registry. There is also a large playground for kids near the tennis courts.

5) Zonolite Park South Fork Conservancy worked with a coalition of federal, state and local organizations (including GNPS) to turn an industrial wasteland contaminated by asbestos into a 13-acre urban sanctuary now called Zonolite Park with a community garden called Nickel Bottom. Now, nature lovers find peace walking the trails through the woods in the park and young families play at the edge of the creek that runs along the length of the park. If you join this site for the count, you will undoubtedly be treated to seeing one of the rare American bumblebees that live in this park where they have an ideal habitat. For this count there will a nature walk through Zonolite woods, handouts for kids to explore nature at the park, materials to learn about ways to create a more pollinator friendly yard, and even a sweet treat to go with your picnic. Meet at the pavilion in the Nickel Bottom Community Garden area. The main parking lot is located on Zonolite Place, near the intersection of Johnson Road and Braircliff in DeKalb County.

I’ve never done the Great Georgia Pollinator Census count, how do I do it?

The Intown GNPS will have volunteers available at all the sites to give instructions for participating in the count. Whether you’re doing the count on your own or joining one of the Pollinator Picnic sites and want to know what to expect, the steps for counting are:

-Find a popular native pollinator plant that has lots of insect activity on it.

-Set a phone timer for 15 minutes.

-Count how many insects land on any part of one plant and record it on the pollinator count sheet. Count each time an insect lands on the plant, even if it is an insect that left and came back. The five Pollinator Picnic sites will also have counting and identification guides with photos and identification tips.

-If you are attending one of the Pollinator Picnics, there will be a box to turn in your counting sheet for Intown GNPS volunteers to record it. (Go to the GGPC website and record the findings if you are doing this on your own. The form to record it will be available online on August 20 and stay up for a few weeks after the census.)

-Cute stickers of completion will be available at each Pollinator Picnic site for the children or the child in all of us who wants a sticker!

What if I can’t make it to one of the Pollinator Picnics but still want to participate in the Great Georgia Pollinator Census?

If you can’t join us at one of the Pollinator Picnic sites, you can participate in the count anytime on August 19 or 20 in your own yard, local park where there are native plants, or if you live Intown Atlanta, you can view pollinators at any of the following places for free:

Arabia Mountain
Beecatur Willow Lane Pollinator Habitat
Blue Heron Nature Preserve
Hawk Hollow (a Wylde Center greenspace)
The Kendeda Living Building at Georgia Tech
The Preserve @ St. Marks
Tucker Butterfly Garden
Woodlands Garden
Wylde Woods

Is there a bigger picture to this count?

Pest control companies have made insects the enemies and we need to fight back against this characterization. By including all insects, not just butterflies and honeybees, citizen science projects like the GGPCC create the kind of excitement and positive attitude towards insects that is needed to change the narrative about the value they offer our ecosystem. You don’t have to be in Georgia to participate in the count, but if you live intown Atlanta, please share this post in your social media networks to help save our precious insects!

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