Saturday, July 22, 2017

Trees Atlanta - Growing Atlanta One Seed At A Time

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Homeschool group helping to weed one of the hills on the BeltLine.

In the heart of Decatur there is a tree house! This tree house is not your ordinary tree house though and belongs to a very unique organization. It is a place that we think is very special, and one which we think deserves some attention.  So let me cultivate some awareness about the organization that owns this tree house. They are called Trees Atlanta and they are not only helping to protect and improve Atlanta's flourishing urban forests, but are also helping to grow family fun!

Did you know that Atlanta is known as the city in the forest? Or that the tree canopy in Atlanta covers almost half of the city, 47.9%  percent to be exact? Atlanta has the country’s densest urban tree canopy. But keeping this canopy is no small feat however, since Atlanta is still expanding and new buildings are popping up everyday. Trees Atlanta is one of the many organizations in Atlanta that helps protect and improve Atlanta's urban forest by planting, conserving, and educating. Trees Atlanta is a nationally-recognized non-profit citizens’ group founded in 1985. They serve the Metro Atlanta area and focus primarily on those communities within the City’s outerbelt.

You may be aware of the Atlanta BeltLine, but did you know that Trees Atlanta is one of the organizations that keeps many sections of the BeltLine pristine? Trees Atlanta offers free Atlanta Beltline Arboretum Tours for the entire family. These 1 mile tours which are led by expertly trained Trees Atlanta docents will educate attendees on the design and history of the Atlanta BeltLine, the horticultural collections of the Arboretum, and the positive changes the project is having on Atlanta communities. Have your cell phone handy, so that you can interact with the If Trees Could Sing installations and hear some of your favorite musicians talk about their favorite trees.

Ms. Sabrina teaching about leaves. 

But that’s not all. Trees Atlanta has a variety of youth education programs. If you have a scout be sure to check out the 2 hr programs that helps scouts earn their nature focused badges. If you have a child in grades K-6th make sure you sign them up for the Acorn Club. The cost is $10 per year. Acorn Club is an environmental stewardship program for children who are eager to learn more about our urban forest. Little ones will love the weekly Thirsty Roots Reading Club where they will  learn about the outdoors through nature-themed book readings and hands-on arts & craft projects. If you are looking for a summer program Trees Atlanta has Junior TreeKeeper Camps June-July. They also offer BreakAway camps and Spring Break camps. During camps Junior TreeKeepers will experience a new adventure everyday! They will explore the outdoors with hands-on activities in environmental science, biking the Atlanta BeltLine, field trips to local attractions and more fun! Trees Atlanta also has programs for homeschoolers and public schools. Our family has attended many homeschool days and my children really enjoy their time with Ms. Sabrina the Youth Education Coordinator for Trees Atlanta. We asked Ms. Sabrina what she loves most about working for Trees Atlanta and she said, "utilizing the Atlanta BeltLine arboretum. It's cool because most kids (or people) don't know that the trees planted  on it are an arboretum and are planted intentionally with respect to the toughness of the species and neighborhood history." Before you hit the BeltLine with your children be sure to also pick up the BeltLine Clue Town booklet which is an educational scavenger hunt. 

Collecting leaves and pointing out trees.

One of our family’s favorite things to do together is service projects. We volunteer at nursing homes, volunteer at Save the Horses, put together shoeboxes filled with gifts for Operation Christmas Child, donate to Operation Homefront, and volunteer with Trees Atlanta. Trees Atlanta has a variety of ways to volunteer and even children can get involved. Last Summer I took several classes at Trees Atlanta to become a TreeKeeper. So if your family is looking for a way to dig in to help our beautiful city and make some fun summer memories check out all the volunteer opportunities that are available. 

If you haven’t been to the Trees Atlanta Treehouse or Arboretum on the Atlanta BeltLine be sure to check them out soon. As you can see this hidden gem offers something for everyone! And if you see us at Trees Atlanta Tree House or on the BeltLine be sure to say hello!

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