Connecting with Nature for the Health of It 1

Try Tanyard Creek Park, Blue Heron Nature Preserve 
and Little Nancy Creek Park

Though many know of the rich diversity of life forms in Amazon rainforests, few people realize the Southeastern U.S. holds more species of plants and animals than most places on the planet.

Did you know the state of Georgia alone is home to more than 200 species of trees?  That’s why we’re so fortunate to live in Atlanta with a more robust tree canopy than most American cities.  This urban forest supports thousands of living creatures who depend on it.  Southeastern trees host countless species of birds, insects, mushrooms, moths and mammals in a mostly invisible connected web of life – cleaning our air, soils and water too.

These are some of the fascinating wonders we discover on naturalist walks hosted by Eco-A – a new group connecting people with nature in creative, engaging ways.

With a sense of discovery, we explain the science behind nature’s remarkable systems in easy to understand, inviting conversations.  By showing people how to recognize native trees, wildflowers and wildlife, we share the joy of appreciating the details and nuances, often overlooked, essential for a healthy ecosystem.  We guarantee you will learn something new on an Eco-A naturalist walk.  Everyone does.

Eco-A introduces people to natural areas in every corner of Atlanta and around the region.  Favorite places in BuckHaven are Tanyard Creek Park, Blue Heron Nature Preserve and Little Nancy Creek Park.

Because children today spend less time in nature than previous generations, Americans are experiencing increased obesity, attention deficit disorders and depression. Studies also show children as young as three can easily recognize corporate logos like McDonald’s and Disney.  Yet most are unable to identify native trees, birds, wildflowers and other natural beauty right in their own backyards.

Because so few people really understand how nature works, we are losing the very places that can improve our health and well-being.   We encourage you and your family to get outside and explore these easily accessible natural areas nearby.

Tanyard Creek Park, on Collier Road at Walthall Drive, earned the name Cathedral Woods because this pocket of undeveloped land holds remnants of original native forest including a state-champion ash tree, meaning it’s the largest known ash in Georgia. There’s also an impressive stand of native cottonwoods, sycamore and an unusual population of red mulberry. Walking along ancient boulders in the wide creek feels like stepping back in time.

Blue Heron Nature Preserve, 4055 Roswell Road, is home to great blue herons, fox, river otters, and birds of many kinds. The urban woodlands surrounded by valuable wetlands has grown to 30 acres. Walking trails wind along Nancy Creek near Roswell Road with another seven acres at the end of Emma Lane. Impressive beaver dams have created ponds that attract turtles, ducks and fish.

Little Nancy Creek Park, 4012 Peachtree Dunwoody, is one of Buckhaven’s newest parks, saved by neighbors from development.  Today, Friends of Nancy Creek Park oversees five acres of woodlands, a community garden and shady picnic spots. The group is restoring the forest by removing invasive plants like privet, English ivy, Chinese wisteria and kudzu. New trails provide easy walking conditions following a quarter-mile loop on flat terrain.

Kathryn Kolb is the Eco-A director and Jessica Muhammad is Eco-A’s co-director.  Eco-A naturalist walks are free with a suggested $15 donation.  For details and reservations, visit EcoAddendum.org.