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2018 Spring Plant Sale Returns to CNC

By Julie Hollingsworth Hogg, Gardens and Horticulture Manager

It was the 19th-century lawyer, Daniel Webster, who stated, “When tillage begins, other arts follow.  The farmers, therefore, are the founders of civilization.”  Gardeners know this, of course, and anyone who is being tempted by a shovel and the smell of dirt is acting on their innate human sense that it is the cultivation of a garden, of your own garden, that is the starting point for understanding many things:  food, wine; order and art and color and light; biology and botany and physics and chemistry.

There is no better place to start (or expand upon) your work in gardening than with the Chattahoochee Nature Center, which exists to “connect people to nature” and does so brilliantly twice a year by offering a Native Plant Sale.  The brilliance is in the fact that it is here, not in a garden center, not at a big box store, that you can choose from a vast array of native plants; plants native to Georgia, to this climate, to this eco-system.  With these assets, native plants thrive.  They are far more likely to survive our heat, our humidity, our rains, our droughts than their non-native counterparts.  Native plants attracts birds and butterflies native to this region that depend upon these plants.

This year, our CNC Native Plant Sale is going to give a nod to the fact that many of us have downsized, or are living in homes with smaller outdoor footprints.  Perhaps we simply want to garden in a smaller space – a patio or a small patch of dirt near the front door.  One of the native Azaleas we will offer this year is “Orange Carpet” Azalea.  It is a low-growing native Azalea that is perfect for the smaller yard.  Have you considered growing native mints, or grasses or black-eyed Susan’s in containers or small spaces?  It can be done.  And speaking of containers, we will be offering varieties of vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, even okra – that do great in pots.  All these things suit the largest of yards and gardens as well.  In any case, come discover what native plants have to offer and let us show you some things about small space gardening that you probably haven’t thought of before.

The Chattahoochee Nature Center’s 2018 Spring Native Plant Sale for members only will be Thursday, March 29th and will be open to the public Friday and Saturday, March 30 and 31st as well as Friday and Saturday, April 6 and 7. 

 

The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

Pee-Wee-friendly CNC

 

Photo by Christy Cox

CNC is known to be a great place for toddlers, but what are some of the activities we have to offer?

Nature Exchange

If the weather is steering you indoors, the Nature Exchange is a great place to start. Filled with kid-friendly storybooks, field guides, and activities, parent and child can be engaged with one another as they learn indoors for quite a long time.

You may also want to encourage your child to begin exploring the outdoors with a bit more freedom. At home, or on a nature hike (not at CNC), encourage them to find one object they really like. Together, you can discover what it is, perhaps help your child learn what colors are on their object, what shapes they see, or perhaps where it came from. Sharing this information and their object with the Nature Exchange Naturalist can help them earn points to start their own trading account. Nature Exchange encourages nature study and builds math, science, language skills, and much more.

Nature Exchange also offers scavenger hunts, usually most are suitable for young children with parent assistance. The more things you find, the more points you can earn.

Watershed Gallery

Learn about animals in a safe, indoor environment. Our Watershed Gallery is a great place to let the little ones explore at their own pace without worrying about your child wandering alone. Small enough to keep track of the children, but large enough to ignite their curiosity and keep them busy. Expect to spend at least 20 minutes to see it all.

One of our little visitors’ favorite areas is the fish tank – a large aquarium with a viewing window that goes all the way to the floor. Whether you are tall or small, you can get a great view of bass, sunfish, and turtles gracefully swimming as if they were in the river.

Wildlife Walk

The Wildlife Walk is a paved path, great for a stroll in the stroller. Take your time enjoying the beaver, hawks, owls, and vultures, and you could easily spend 30 minutes watching the animals – just enough time before your little one’s attention span is spent. Restrooms are also located along the Wildlife Walk at the Ben Brady Pavilion, so not to worry if you need to take a break.

Picnic Areas

CNC has several great picnic areas – places where there are tables and restrooms close by. We also have benches around the property for an impromptu snack break. Change up your routine a bit, pack a snack, and enjoy a meal outside with your little one. Count birds as you sit and snack. Watch the clouds and use your imagination. Go on an adventure to the Boardwalk and eat beside the river under our A-frame.

Woodland Trails

One of the best parts of CNC with a little one are our trails – ranging from .2mi to .5mi. Pick a trail, or even just a small part of a trail and step into the shade of the forest. Wildlife sounds, colorful leaves, and rocks of all sizes are there for you to explore. A jogging stroller can handle all of our trails, some trails are acceptable for simple strollers as well, especially the boardwalk.

 

The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

Winter Homes & Hideaways

Leaves! Man they are great, they provide campers shade during those hot summer days, and they also keep animals hidden from our peering eyes.

 

As autumn leaves, the barren winter approaches, which may not seem like the best time to search for animal homes, but the now leafless trees show their hidden treasures.  This is a great time of the year to get campers out on a hike to look for nests, homes and hideaways.

Small songbird nests can be seen at eye level in shrubs right along the path or we may find a local hawk’s nest resting in the crook of a tree. Walking along the path campers might see a squirrel dart up an Oak tree with a mouth full of leaves, these leaves will provided the insulation for their nest during the winter. As winter approaches many of our wasp species hibernate until the spring, but this is a great time to locate their large balloon-shaped nest high in the trees.

 

Discover the nests and homes of the resident wildlife that call CNC home.

 

The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

It’s COLD! How do animals survive frigid temperatures?

It’s COLD outside!

We have all bundled up in our coats these past few days, but what about the wildlife out there? What do they do?

Thankfully, the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s resident wildlife expert, Kathryn Dudeck, has the answers.

 

How do raptors stay warm in cold weather?

“Because the vast majority of our permanent residents would naturally reside in Georgia this time of year, few additional actions are required.

Raptor feathers weigh more than the entire bird skeleton, so you will often see the birds fluffy in cold weather. They can control each feather individually so they raise their feathers to trap the warm body heat, creating an insulated ‘parka’ for them.  This is why down jackets are so popular with people! We also ensure they have access to fresh water at all times, so this means we break the ice in their water pans every morning or provide fresh water.

CNC has dozens of species of animals on-site. As a wildlife rehabilitation center, CNC accepts and treats injured raptors and reptiles. Those who can be treated and released back into the wild are. Those that cannot are kept on-site for educational purposes or are found permanent homes.

How is CNC caring for its wildlife?

We are feeding the raptors on the high end of their required food ranges and monitoring their weights regularly to ensure they are at or above each individual’s average winter weight. We have data on many of our birds dating back more than 15 years so we are able to look at their historical weights and corresponding weather that occurred then. Our resident birds typically fast on Sundays, but we are providing half-rations to them to ensure they are receiving enough calories.

The only birds that need a more help are our Merlin and Broad-winged Hawk. Merlins are a small falcon that winter in south Georgia and Florida, and Broad-winged Hawks winter in Central and South America.  We already have radiant heat panels in both of these birds’ enclosures that we turn on when the temperature is below 40 degrees, and the Broad-winged Hawk’s enclosure is sheeted every fall to act as a windbreak. Because these recent temperatures are a bit too low for them, we have been bringing them inside at night and take them back outside during the day.

That’s the raptors. What about mammals?

The education opossums have lots of blankets in their outside enclosures, but we bring them inside whenever the low is below is 40 degrees. When we go out to get them, they are snuggled in their blankets and toasty warm, but we want to make sure they stay that way. Opossums are frequent victims of frostbite on their ears, tails, and feet, the areas of their bodies with no fur.

The beavers are absolutely loving the cold weather and are even been playing with the ice on the surface of their exhibit pond! Because these two came from Virginia, they are a bit more weathered to the cold, and they have dense layers of fat. In fact, beavers store fat in their tails to use as reserve in cold weather. However, CNC’s resident beavers do have a heater in their inside enclosure, and they can move towards it or away from it as they wish.

 

What can people do to help wildlife in winter?

Fresh Water – It’s just as important in cold weather as hot weather; purchase a heated bird bath or use an extension cord and submersible aquarium heater; place a shallow pan, like a potted plant saucer on the ground for the rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks

 

Bird Feeders – Be sure to clean out before every filling and offer a variety of feed

 

Native Plants & Trees – These provide food and shelter from winter winds, so hold off on pruning unless necessary for safety; However, trim out non-native berries and fruits such as from Nandina (heavenly bamboo) that are toxic and sometimes fatal to our songbirds

 

Small Brush Piles – Provide hiding places and homes for small animals

 

Nest Boxes –In winter, they are used for roosting to stay warm

 

 

The mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

5 Nature Friendly New Year’s Resolutions

With the start of 2018 just around the corner, many of us are looking ahead and thinking about our goals and what we would like to accomplish in the new year. While you are working on some of your personal goals, why not include the environment? You may be thinking about some common goals people set, like riding your bike, or carpooling, but what about some fresh ideas to inspire yourself and your community, but yet simple. Here at the Chattahoochee Nature Center, we are always thinking about new ways to protect and help the environment. Here are some of our nature-focused New Year’s goals to get you motivated and inspired:

 

  1. Visit your Local Farmer’s Market  

Supporting your local farmers is a great way to give back to the community, plus you will find some of the freshest produce available. If you live in the Roswell, GA area, the Roswell Farmers Market runs from April until October each year and features many local Georgia farmers. However if you are looking for something during the winter, the Morningside Farmer’s Market in Atlanta, GA runs all year each Saturday morning and is certified organic (a nice plus!).

  1. Go Meatless One Day a Week

Did you know it takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef (50 Ways to Help)? If you can’t go completely without meat, just try cutting it out one or two days a week.

 

 

  1. Use Recycled Paper Products

According to Real Simple Magazine, if every American household purchased one package of 100 percent recycled napkins, we would save 1 million trees! Amazing right? Popular brands include Seventh Generation and Whole Food’s 365.

 

  1. More Indoor Plants in Your Home

Many of us likely have planted trees outside, but what about indoors? By having even just a few indoor plants in your house, you can remove up to 87% volatile organic compounds in the air every 24 hours (Bayer Advanced). Some popular plants to have indoors include a Spider Plant and Peace Lily. Help your family breath and live easier.

 

  1. Consider Installing CollidEscape on your Windows

If you have visited us recently, you likely have noticed little dots on our windows at the Discovery Center. According to the Atlanta Audubon Society, up to a billion birds, a year die after flying into windows. By installing bird-friendly dots or film on your windows, you can help protect our precious wildlife and still, enjoy the view out your windows. Learn more about what product may be right for you here. Plus, check out our blog post on CollidEscape and the Atlanta Audubon Society here.

 

What nature-friendly new year’s resolutions are you committing to this year? Let us know below!

 

The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

The CNC Holiday Gift Guide

Are you still looking for the perfect holiday gift? Whether that special someone in your life is a budding nature enthusiast, or a seasoned naturalist, we have something for everyone. Check out our official CNC gift guide:

 

1. For the Newest Naturalist

We have a selection of adorable blankets, interactive books, and outfits perfect for your special little one.

 

2. For the Budding Scientist

Whether your little scientist is interested in animals, weather, the solar system, or more, we have you covered!

 

3. For the Nature-Loving Nanny

Be sure grandma stays warm this winter with owl slippers. Plus, local honey and Atlanta themed products, perfect for the local and out of state grandma.

 

4. Keep your Hiker Happy

From trail hike guides of Georgia, to CNC gear perfect for warm and cold days, we’ll be sure you will make someone a happy camper.

 

5. For the Bird Lover

Bird lovers rejoice! We have a variety of bird seed options to attract son birds to your house or garden all year long. Plus, cute bird toys for the younger bird watchers.

Bonus! A Membership to CNC!

Give the gift that lasts all year! A membership to CNC is great for individuals, couples, and families. Plus, it gets you into many of our popular events, like Enchanted Woodland Wonders free of charge!

 

Our gift shop is located in the Discovery Center and is open Monday-Saturday, 10am-5pm, and Sunday from 12-5pm.  

 

The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

Meet Donna Grammas

Holiday Market is this Saturday! Check out more about Donna and her pottery, and be sure to visit her this Saturday!

What made you start crafting?

My mother was crafty and she passed the love down to her 5 daughters.

Why is buying local during the holidays important?

It feels good to support your local artists and you never know what artists’ work could be very valuable in the future. Local artists produce pieces that ensure the safe practices and health of its community.

Who is your product aimed at?

My work is primarily” kitchen functional”. If you eat and drink, my pieces are a beautiful accessory to your dietary needs.

 

Anything else? 

Donna Grammas is the president of the Clay Collective guild at the Art Center West clay studio which is part of the Roswell Recreation and Parks Department. She and other members promote the ACW at various Roswell events during the year. Donna and 50+/- artist will show/sell their works at the ACW “WORKS IN CLAY” December 7-13.

 

Come see Donna and 40 other local vendors at the Back to Nature Holiday Market, Dec. 2, 10 am-5 pm at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Admission is free, as our gift to the public.

The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

‘CollidEscape’ installed at CNC

With hundreds of little dots adorning the Chattahoochee Nature Center, in Roswell, birds will no longer run into the windows and kill themselves. The project is thanks to a partnership between the CNC and the Atlanta Audubon Society, with a grant from the Disney Conservation Fund.

The dots are a special “CollidEscape” film that reduces the transparency of the glass, prevent bird-window strikes. Each spring and fall, millions of birds migrate between wintering grounds in Central and South America, the southern U.S., or the Caribbean to breeding grounds in North America. Using the sun, stars and earth’s magnetism as a guide, birds migrate primarily at night to avoid predators and take advantage of the cooler temperatures. Sadly, many never arrive at their destination due to a man-made problem —building collisions. Blinded by night-time lights or confused by day-time reflections of trees and grass in shiny windows, many birds become disoriented and fly into the buildings, ending their journeys and their lives prematurely.

“Up to one billion birds die a year, by running into windows,” said Adam Betuel, director of conservation with the Atlanta Audubon Society. “The main cause is reflection or transparent glass.”

Over the past two years, more than 800 birds of 87 different species have been collected in the Atlanta area due to collisions.

The CollideEscape film is applied to a building’s windows and act as a way of breaking up any reflection, allowing birds to avoid a collision, saving them.

“This building will be a lot safer for birds and hopefully will educate the people who pass through,” said Betuel.

In 2017, the Atlanta Audubon Society was awarded a $25,000 grant from the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF) as part of the Fund’s focus on reversing the decline of threatened wildlife around the world. The conservation grant recognizes Atlanta Audubon’s efforts to reduce bird-building collisions through Project Safe Flight Atlanta, a program to monitor birds and collects data on deaths by collisions.

Atlanta Audubon is working with the Chattahoochee Nature Center to install CollidEscape on each of the Discovery Center’s 78 windows, with funding received from the DCF. CNC was chosen as a demonstration building 1) because they were experiencing bird collisions and 2) CNC has high visitation presenting a unique opportunity to educate the public on steps they can take to reduce bird-window collisions at home.

“This effort showcases bird conservation practices. Our visitors can see CollideEscape in practice and see how they can help birds in their homes as well,” said Alicia Evans, CNC visitor experience manager.

The goal of Project Safe Flight is to further understand bird-building collisions in Atlanta and to learn what species are prone to window collisions, how many birds are affected, and what parts of town are problematic. Atlanta Audubon is actively working with building managers, citizens and other partners to make Atlanta a more bird safe city. Volunteers monitor a number of sites at private businesses, multiple schools, university campuses, and government buildings. Project Safe Flight runs from late March to mid-May each spring and again from mid-August to mid-November in the fall.

 The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

Meet Greta from IT Element Designs

Holiday Market will be here before you know it! To help get you all excited for some shopping to benefit the local community, we’ll be sharing profiles of different vendors. We’re happy to announce Greta of IT Element Designs as one of our vendors.

 

What made you start crafting?

My mother, Della Garcia started our family business in the ’80s and both of us are passionate about creating and making our jewelry because we are able to share our Native Mayan and Moche heritage through our unique designs. Also its rewarding to know that our customers really appreciate all our hard work and dedication and it reflects through the pride they take wearing our pieces.

Why is buying local during the holidays important?

We are a small Native-run business in Stone Mountain, GA and our merchandise are all handmade by our family so when you purchase a product from us you will get a unique one-of-a-kind handicraft.

Who is your product aimed at?

Our product is aimed at the consumer who appreciates recycled, eclectic handmade crafts, loves learning about other cultures, and is perceptive to art all around them.

Anything else?

IT Element, LLC is a local Native American business, specializing in Incan & Mayan Handicrafts. Creators Della and Greta Garcia have cultivated their business of recycling handmade merchandise through their mother-daughter relationship.  They specialize in leather handbags, sterling silver jewelry, beaded jewelry, and all of their crafts are made from coins, feathers, seeds, semi-precious stones, shells, textiles, etc.  When you purchase from their booth, you will get a unique handmade craft.

 

We look forward to seeing you at Holiday Market on Saturday, December 2, 12-5 pm. Admissions is free as a gift to our community.

The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org.

Wilderness Inquiry returns to CNC

Have you ever been out on a river, in a canoe? Have you ever paddled along, bobbing along with the current, the only sounds you hear the water around you and leaves rustling on the shore?

For many people in today’s urban areas, this is just something they see on TV – they have never had the chance to go out into nature, let alone on a river.

Here in Atlanta, we are blessed to have the Chattahoochee River so close that such a trip is only a few minutes away.

Tom Howick, CNC’s director of education, said the river is an amazing gateway to nature.

“It’s a wonderful resource in our back yard,” Howick said. “You can see great animals, like beavers, ospreys and great blue herons. It’s a nice, peaceful place to be and relax and enjoy nature.”

But even with the river so close, many children or adults with disabilities sometimes simply cannot make the trek.

It was with this in mind that the Chattahoochee Nature Center invited Wilderness Inquiry’s Canoemobile over. Canoemobile connects people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to introductory experiences in the outdoors within their communities. Events incorporate water- and land-based activities that focus on natural and cultural history, team-building, and water safety. This Minnesota-based group travels the country introducing children and the needy to nature.

In CNC’s case, this is done through – you guessed it – going on the river.

From now until Nov. 14, CNC hosts several school groups of all ages from throughout the metro region, many of whom have never been in a canoe before.

“We try to get people who don’t have much access to waterways in our areas,” said Cory Dack, Outdoor Leader and Canoemobile Primary Leader. “We act as that connection – bridges between the typical urban city dwellers and nature.”

She said children from inner-city schools need access to nature more than anyone, for their own mental, spiritual and physical wellbeing.

“Being out in nature impacts your overall health,” she said.

The canoes used in Canoemobile are 24-foot-long “Voyageur” canoes, capable of fitting a dozen kids at once, all paddling together. This makes fielding classes of children possible and fun.

And CNC, located right on the Chattahoochee River, is a prime location to launch, with many of the area’s schools already familiar with CNC and its programming.

Canoemobile fits in perfectly with CNC and its mission of connecting people with nature. For more about Wilderness Inquiry and its Canoemobile program, visit www.wildernessinquiry.org. For more about the Chattahoochee Nature Center, visit www.chattnaturecenter.org.

 

The Mission of the Chattahoochee Nature Center is to connect people with nature. Learn more at www.chattnaturecenter.org. 

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