Trees Atlanta: Plantings, walking tours & weddings

By Collin Kelley
Editor

Trees Atlanta is one of the most active “green” organizations in city, but this month finds the nonprofit a little extra busy. While Saturday tree plantings will continue throughout the month, Trees Atlanta is also busy creating a “native prairie” of grass and wildflowers along the Atlanta BeltLine’s Eastside Trail, giving walking tours of the BeltLine Arboretum, hosting a plant sale and offering a space for weddings at its eco-friendly headquarters in Reynoldstown.

According to Trees Atlanta communications director Bethany Clark, April marks the end of the annual tree planting cycle (more than 2,000 were planted around the city during the winter months), the spring focus turns to activities along the Eastside Trail, which runs from Piedmont Park to the Old Fourth Ward.

Last month, Trees Atlanta and its volunteers began planting 109,000 native grass and wildflower plugs along the trail, which will grow into a native prairie that will become a much needed source of nesting sites, food, and protection for birds, butterflies, bees and more. Clark said the plantings will continue through May and hundreds of volunteers are needed to make this a reality. You can see a planting calendar and sign-up to volunteer at treesatlanta.org/calendar.

The prairie is part of another massive project, the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, which will eventually encircle the entire city along the BeltLine’s 22-mile loop.

“More than 600 trees were planted last fall along the Eastside Trail – magnolias, sassafras, long leaf pines, dogwoods, oaks, elms and many more,” Clark said. “That’s just the Eastside Trail. The linear arboretum will continue to grow as the BeltLine grows.”

Again, hundreds of volunteers are needed to help continue with the planting process along the arboretum. Plantings will take place on select weekdays and weekend mornings from 9 a.m. to noon through April and March. Check the website for dates and to sign up. Free walking tours of the arboretum lead by trained docents are set to begin April 12. The tours will take about 90 minutes and begin at the trailhead in Inman Park. Each docent prepares his or her own unique talking points to spotlight the native trees, architectural interests, key historical stories, and much more.

On Saturday, April 6, Trees Atlanta will hold its first ever native plant sale, which will feature native, pollinator-friendly plants and perennials. The sale will take place from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center in Reynoldstown, 225 Chester Ave. All proceeds from this plant sale will benefit the organization’s youth education programs.

Speaking of the Kendeda Center, did you know you can hold your wedding or reception there? Since it opened five years ago, the Platinum LEED certified building (the highest designation in green building) has hosted corporate events, community meetings, class reunions, holiday parties and more than 20 weddings or receptions.

Clark said the Trees Atlanta HQ has reasonable rates and amenities such as a green roof, outdoor patio and courtyard. Wedding magazine and website The Knot recently featured the Kendeda Center and Clark said there has been a big spike in reservations for 2013. Again, check out treesatlanta.org for all the details.