The CNC Nature Exchange staff is always looking for ways to connect with young nature enthusiasts so this year they hosted the Third Annual Double Vision for Kids Contest. For this contest, young artists were encouraged to take a photograph of something interesting out in the natural world. It could be a photo of animals, plants, fungi, a landscape scene, rocks, sky – anything in nature. They would then use that photograph to create their own artistic interpretation using a medium of their choice.
The Chattahoochee Nature Center staff are always amazed by the talent and creativity of the young artists who participate. We would like to thank all of the young artists who participated. The entries will be on display throughout the month of December. The winners will earn points that they can use in the Nature Exchange. Winners who are not CNC Nature Exchange traders will have a new trader account set up in their name.
First Place winners received 5000 points, Second Place winners received 2500 points and Third Place winners received 1000 points which were added to their Nature Exchange Account.
K-2nd Gr. Category 1st Place: William H. Grade 2 “Turkey in Action”
2nd Place: Harrison Y. Grade 1 “Green Constrictor”
3rd Place: Charlie H. Gr. 2 “Tower of Rocks”
3rd Place: Lydia L. Gr. 2 “Grand Canyon of Beauty”
3rd-4th Gr. Category 1st Place: Camilla C. Gr. 3 “Hollow Baseball Mushroom”
2nd Place: Harini O. Gr. 4 “Serene”
3rd Place: Nate A. Gr. 3 “Mr. Frog’s Vacuum”
5th-7th Gr. Category 1st Place: Ellen A. Gr. 7 Camellia for Brunch
2nd Place: Elise H. Gr. 5 “Invasive Species”
2nd Place: Ezabella M. Gr. 6 “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”
Check out the events currently planned at the Chattahoochee Nature Center for 2023. All events are subject to change. Please visit our website for the most up-to-date information and to plan your visit.
Thanks to the Community Foundation of North Georgia
Naturalists Larry Stevens and Jenna Ellett from Chattahoochee Nature Center talk about the importance of raptors in our communities and preserving their habitats. Larry Stevens served as a U.S. Army counterintelligence agent in West Berlin before becoming a Public Relations Manager at BellSouth in Atlanta. Today, he is a naturalist for the Chattahoochee Nature Center. Jenna Ellett is a Senior Analyst at Cloudmed, but she’s also a Naturalist at the Chattahoochee Nature Center.
The morning routine was underway in a windowless Brookview Elementary School classroom where strands of twinkle lights provided a soft glow. Then, the teacher announced it was time to line up.
Excitement bubbled as second graders at the Fulton County school stowed away science notebooks and waited in an increasingly boisterous cafeteria for buses to take them on the year’s first field trip. Their destination: The Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell, an hour-long drive north from the East Point school.
By Heather Buckner, Elizabeth Florio, Josh Green, Betsy Riley, Xavier Stevens, Lucinda Warnke, Kamille Whittaker, and Sam Worley
Discover 50 Ways to Play Outside in Atlanta and Beyond. One of the best ways is to explore the River Boardwalk trail. This spring, the Chattahoochee Nature Center opened its renovated 2,000-foot boardwalk along the Chattahoochee River. The most exciting part is the new, ADA-accessible pedestrian bridge over Willeo Road, which at long last connects the center to its river campus across the street.
Most years, Chattanooga wildlife rehabilitator Juniper Russo treats up to two box turtles suffering from upper respiratory infections. Since March of this year, she’s treated 22 turtles from the Chattanooga area with eye and ear infections at her wildlife rescue facility, For Fox Sake. She said when turtles are deficient in vitamin A, they develop inflammation in their eyes and especially in their ears, which can cause abscesses.
By Alicia Thompson, Senior Director of Learning and Engagement
Chattahoochee Nature Center’s multi-faceted partnership with Fulton County serves to support the center in many ways, one of which is to help connect Fulton County residents with nature. This summer, CNC worked closely with a few distinct groups in the county and served over 1,000 residents in these programs during Summer 2022. CNC is so very grateful for the longstanding support from Fulton County that allows CNC to reach thousands of individuals each year. Below are a few highlights from Fulton County supported summer programs and partnerships.
Los Niños Primero
The mission of Los Niños Primero is Empowering Latino students and their families from early childhood to college through holistic academic, leadership, and community programs. Working under the summer theme of “Cultivating kindness and gratitude”, CNC provided nature programs for students aging 3-8 years old. At the start of the summer, Los Niños Primero instructors met at CNC for a day of training and learning CNC’s 127 acres. As part of the program’s summer calendar, students experienced a guided nature program at CNC at the start of the summer program, and then returned to CNC toward the end of the program with their class to again experience CNC as an ‘outdoor classroom’. Los Niños Primero instructors were encouraged to use the outdoor setting to teach and to share lessons while immersed in nature. These programs provided almost 700 experiences for students during June and July.
CNC and Los Niños Primero also teamed up in July to host a Mayor’s Summer Reading Club event at the Ben Brady Lakeside Pavilion for the 2nd year in a row for 150 parents and children. As stated on the MSRC website, The Mayor’s Summer Reading Club (MSRC) is a program for children ages birth to five and their families that takes place in various locations throughout the City of Atlanta each summer. Every year, we announce a city-wide book choice for infants and children ages 2-5 to share with their families. We work with direct service programs to distribute copies of the books at no cost to children, and we encourage schools and early education programs to introduce the story and distribute the books to children they serve.
Throughout the summer, institutions in Atlanta hold “book club reads” to model research-based methods of reading books with children and host enrichment events based upon the stories. The books come to life as children enjoy arts and crafts activities, drama exercises, and other hands-on activities designed to make the language in the stories meaningful to children. This summer’s book for 3 to 5-year-olds is another collaboration between GEEARS’ Mayor’s Summer Reading Club, the Alliance Theatre, and the Atlanta Speech School, funded by our partners at PNC. The book, Atlanta, My Home, is written by local author Breanna J. McDaniel, and again illustrated by R. Gregory Christie.
Families and children enjoyed a Spanish-language animal encounter delivered by bilingual CNC Docent Frank Viera, as well as a magic show, and storybook reading with staff from the Alliance Theatre.
Los Niños Primero students enjoying storytime and an animal encounter at CNC this summer
Fulton County Libraries
CNC partnered with seven Fulton County libraries in the south district of the county to share our outreach programs with library patrons. This summer’s theme was “Oceans of Possibilities” and CNC naturalist shared live animals and interpretive environmental education. The photos say it all!
Office of the Fulton County District Attorney
The Office of the Fulton County District Attorney is the largest and busiest prosecutor’s office in Georgia, led by Fani T. Willis, the first woman District Attorney for Fulton County. The Youth Program serves 6th to 9th graders attending Fulton County public schools that have been identified as high-crime/gang activity risk. The students meet weekly and are exposed to various components of the criminal justice system. According to Natalie Zellner, Deputy District Attorney – Programs, Grants, and Intergovernmental Relations, “The idea to incorporate the Center into Camp started with DA saying that everyone must learn tools to cope with fear and anxiety and nature is the best tool to do that.” CNC Hosted almost 100 students over the course of the summer.
“We are so thankful for your partnership. Each week, many of the youth told Madame DA that the Chattahoochee Nature Center was their favorite part of the week!
Additionally, the engagement from the CNC Board and staff was phenomenal. We based our program on a youth program started in Los Angeles that has a pillar adult sharing their career path, hurdles overcome and long-term reward to contrast with the short term, fast money gains of crime. If we change the course of two youth a week, it’s worth it!
Going forward, Fulton County Schools has asked the DA’s office to continue our partnership and create an in-school program for at risk youth in target middle and high schools in South Fulton. Superintendent Looney is really focused on redirecting these youth and helping them. Right now, many schools are beyond capacity and these youth really require more attention. The Center’s existing programs are a great fit for these youth.”
CNC looks forward to continuing to grow this partnership to help students connect with and tap into the physical and mental health benefits that nature has to offer.
Fulton County Community Services Program CAMP KINGFISHER
Fulton County selected CNC as one of several Community Services Program providers, where CNC partnered with STARHouse and Los Niños Primero to offer 100% scholarship-funded camp experiences for children who would not have traditionally been able to participate in Camp Kingfisher. Campers were fully immersed in the Camp K day, including canoeing, archery, science and art, hiking, and so much more.
Part traditional outdoor camp and part hands-on nature education, Camp Kingfisher offers something for everyone. Our goal is to provide a welcoming environment where campers connect to nature and each other. Outdoor adventuring and learning abound on CNC’s 127 incredible acres.
Camp Kingfisher provides a unique opportunity to connect to the outdoors, make strides in personal growth, and increase self-confidence. Through a combination of nature-based activities, outdoor play, a supportive community, and educators who teach to every learning style our campers are guided along the “growing-up” process. Our goal is to increase the children’s awareness of the world around them, nurture an interest in science and nature study, foster a sense of belonging and help every child understand and reach their full potential.
CNC is proud of the partnerships it has formed with Fulton County and looks forward to continuing to connect people with nature.
Brooke Francis has been an amazing volunteer who has made a great impact at the Chattahoochee Nature Center. She was in the summer camp Leadership and Naturalist Training Program for the past two summers at Camp King Fisher and is also a Girl Scout who built three new recycle bins for the Nature Center as part of her Gold Award. Read on to find out more about this exciting project.
Brooke partnered with CNC maintenance staff, friends, family, and a local vendor’s tool and materials experts to design, build and deliver three new and improved trash and recycling bins for our nature center.
She had already done some research on recycling at the National level and learned that every time someone chooses to recycle, they help to protect our environment a little more. Brooke also learned that since the United States does not have a federal recycling program, recycling decision-making is currently in the hands of the 20,000+ communities in the US. Combining this understanding with additional observations from her volunteer work at our summer camps and discussions with some of our maintenance staff, she became aware of an opportunity to help make it even easier and more convenient for patrons and staff of our center to dispose properly of trash and recyclables.
The main improvements made to the bins include; 1) Taller bins with front openings and plenty of room to pull the containers out for waste removal. The old design bins required the trash cans to be lifted straight up for emptying. 2) Pressure-treated wood and a 10+ year stain to ensure the bins will resist weather and bug damage for many years. 3) Additional quantity of bins to help make sure patrons and staff can find them easily in the high-traffic areas of our campus.
Getting trash and recyclable materials into the containers helps keep our animals safe. Additionally, recycling helps protect our natural resources. We appreciate Brooke, our volunteers, and CNC Staff for helping to make this project come to fruition!
It’s always a great time to go outside and explore, no matter the weather or season. If you want to make it an afternoon trip or a full day trip, we’ve got you covered with 10 amazing nature centers not far from Atlanta.
Georgia Gwinnett College (GGC) students majoring in environmental science and English participated in a field trip to study, explore and understand the Chattahoochee River. This unique watershed, which runs from North Georgia to the Florida border, offers a chance for students, whose majors are very different to understand how their areas of study can align to benefit this natural resource.