Tour the Park 365 Days a Year

Due to the increasing popularity of the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s Docent-led History Tours, the Conservancy has decided to publish a self-guided tour! This allows tourists and locals to experience a tour of the Park regardless of what day or time it is. Download the printable and foldable PDF to experience Piedmont Park in a whole new way. From learning about how the Conservancy has impacted the Park to gorgeous views of Lake Clara Meer, the tour is sure to provide new knowledge and great photograph opportunities of Atlanta’s green heart.

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The PDF can be printed front and back, and then folded into two brochures for easy carrying.

Snow Tips from the Piedmont Park Conservancy

Atlanta now has a snow day!

It is a wonderful time to come to Piedmont Park and capture that perfect photograph! From white landscapes to sledding, we want you to take advantage of this rare opportunity. We hope you have a safe and fun time in the park this weekend.

Please read the following important reminders to ensure that YOU and your friends/loved ones leave the park have the best memories with minimal park impact.

-Be mindful of park treasures: Please do not sled on or conduct any activities on sensitive areas. This includes areas but is not limited to flower beds, growing trees, wildlife habitats, and historical monuments. Do not climb poles or trees.

-BYOS: Bring your OWN sled. Please bring a safe material to slide on. Leave park materials (banners, trash lids) to avoid unintentional damage & costs to the Conservancy.

-Leave no trace: After sledding or making snowballs, bring your materials back home with you or dispose of them in the proper disposal bins. Staff is limited in the park this weekend, therefore trash cans may get full quickly. If we all pull together and bring our trash home, that would help immensely.

-Bundle your pup: Paws get cold too! We encourage you to dress your four-legged friends in warm attire so that they can enjoy the snow too!

We hope that you have an amazing time in the park! Thank you for reading these tips and keeping Atlanta’s favorite park safe and beautiful. Again, please share this with anyone you know that may come to the park to enjoy the snow.

Her Happy Place

Leaning forward and lacing her shoes, Sylvia Russell feels the calm breeze of fall hit her face.

Looking around, she sees a child gazing at her father with arms wide open. A biker leaves a swell of wind when she dashes past on a winding path.

Tap. Tap. Tap. At the Active Oval, Sylvia’s shoes hit the gravel as she begins her run.

Ever since she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Sylvia has been faced with a choice: take medications or do high intensity workouts to tackle the increased chance of osteoporosis.

“It makes a difference that I have Piedmont Park,” Russell says as she explains her choice of working out. “I don’t even feel like I am exercising.”

Her heartbeat increasing, Sylvia’s busy mind begins to slow down and find focus.

“Whatever problem I am facing or stress I’m feeling when I enter the park, by the time I leave, the load seems lighter,” says Russell, “that’s why I call Piedmont Park my happy place.”

As Sylvia finishes her final lap around the Active Oval, she looks around at all the people in the Park. “As I frequent this park, I see all walks of life come through here,” she says, “and it makes me feel good; it’s how I want the world to be.”

Like thousands of other Atlantans, Sylvia has found a place in beautiful Piedmont Park that makes health and exercise an enjoyable experience.


It’s because of the work of the Piedmont Park Conservancy that Sylvia and others have access to a 208 acre park that is beautiful, clean, safe and active. The Piedmont Park Conservancy, a nonprofit organization, raises and invests $3 million annually to enhance and program this historic green space.  Many do not realize that the Conservancy relies heavily on philanthropic donations as it does not receive direct funding from events or festivals.

Though, “to remain beautiful, the park needs help,” Russell says. “It depends on the contributions of the community. It feels free because you don’t have to pay to get in here, but it’s costly to run a park. And it’s worth it. It’s an investment for Midtown and Atlanta.”

Take pride and give promise to Piedmont Park by making a donation to the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Seven Men. 208 Acres. One Big Impact.

Every morning around 7:30am, seven men wearing “Piedmont Park Conservancy” imprinted on their chest set out on golf carts, trucks and mowers to tackle the 200 plus acres of beautiful Piedmont Park. With the sun slowly rising, the smell of morning dew and a small collection of people seen jogging through the Park, each man starts the day on his own mission. Some will pick up rakes and blowers. Others will count out screws and wires. A few will check systems and computers, hoping no new surprises popped up overnight.

Amongst trees, flowers and open fields of grass, you will typically find Landscaper John Frazier. Being with the Piedmont Park Conservancy for over 14 years, John says that he loves his job because he can work with his hands and enjoy the outdoors, all while watching the fruits of his labor grow. John is usually paired with contract worker Chris who likes “making the Park look pretty for people to enjoy.”

“The atmosphere is great,” John says. “The people I work with have great attitudes. It’s a great learning process. Making the Park better each year is great.”

John Frazier

Peek between buildings and spot a red golf cart to find Operations Manager Todd Williard. Todd began working at the Conservancy because of his interest in the preservation of Piedmont Park.

“I demonstrate my love for the park by showing up every day,” Todd says. “I enjoy working outside, and I love being involved in the Conservancy.”

Todd, often found wearing his cowboy hat and a button down shirt, is the go-to man for detailed projects, broken machines, and handy work that the average person looks at with a blank stare.

Wind around the corner and find Stanley Lofton, another landscaper with a friendly personality and often a wave. Stanley spends his days blowing an immense amount of leaves, mowing large acres of grass, budding flowers to promote their growth and so much more. Ask Stanley how his day is going, and you are always met with enthusiasm and passion.

“I love the Park people,” Stanley says. Working in Piedmont Park has “a sense of freedom. Piedmont Park has history, you know? I’m from Atlanta, and Piedmont Park is the crown jewel of the city. I’m part of Piedmont Park, and Piedmont Park is part of me.”

Stanley Lofton

Keep walking through the Park, and find a man standing on a ladder tinkering away: Maintenance Engineer Michael Paul. Usually surrounded by an immense amount of tools and measuring tape, Michael performs multiple roles from technical projects to IT functions for the Conservancy. Michael expresses the same passion and dedication in his work as the other team members.

“I support the mission of the Conservancy,” Michael says. “It makes me proud because when people stop, ask me questions and say that they enjoy the Park, I know how much work goes into it. I get the opportunity to interact with the public which opens the door to talk about the Conservancy.”

Michael Paul testing Legacy Fountain under ground

Hop over to the Active Oval to see Landscaper Alan Wise, continuously mowing or raking the fields in systematic lines and patterns to beautifully curate the sport fields. Alan works hard to care for the fields which attract over 68,000 reserved players each year.

Alan loves Piedmont Park “because it’s the heart of the city [and] it connects people with nature.”

Some of Alan’s other duties include checking reservation permits, managing signage, and prepping bases, nets and other recreational items. When he isn’t working on the Oval, Alan aids the other team members to further beautify the Park such as mulching the Dog Parks, supporting volunteers and trash pickup.

Alan Wise raking the fields

Need to take a bathroom break? You might run into Landscaper Lorenzo Marshall. Toting buckets, cleaning supplies and a friendly spirit, Lorenzo is charged with taking care of all of the bathrooms in Piedmont Park. With an increased visitation of Piedmont Park, this job gets harder and harder every day. Yet, Lorenzo always shows up and gets the job done. After cleaning bathrooms, Lorenzo might be found clearing pathways, caring for plants and other landscape projects.

Lorenzo Marshall

Lastly, you might see Mark Nelson driving by checking on various projects or sitting in a meeting to strategize the next move. Mark, the Director of Operations, impressively manages the team and the countless projects that pop up all over Piedmont Park. He determines which projects are delegated to the Conservancy team or the City of Atlanta. He communicates with the rest of the staff to update them on projects and field incoming questions. Mark also gets his hands dirty, using his horticultural and landscape expertise to complete specialized projects with the Park.

Mark Nelson

Standing from any Piedmont Park gate looking in, anywhere your eyes can see is likely to be impacted by the Piedmont Park Conservancy operations staff. Whether you love to visit the Dog Parks, play in the playgrounds, shop at the Green Market, attend camp, splash in the Legacy Fountain, or jog around the running track, you can see the efforts of this hardworking team.  The Conservancy is lucky to have such a dedicated and self-motivated team that also hold personal passions for the work that they do. The next time you are out in the Park, give a wave hello and strike up a conversation. They’re friendly guys, and are definitely Piedmont Park Proud.

4 Reasons to Take the Piedmont Park History Tour

There is nothing like the experience of immersing yourself in history, especially if the history is about your city’s backyard. Here are four reasons to take the Piedmont Park History Tour.

1. Discover Something New

Purchased by the City of Atlanta in 1904, Piedmont Park is rooted in Atlanta’s history. While many Atlantans have visited and treasure beautiful Piedmont Park, they may not know what was happening on the same ground under their feet dozens of years before. On the tour, you will discover its vivid history, stunning resilience and growth, and abundant beauty. From the accounts of Booker T. Washington’s mark on the Atlanta Exposition to the cluster of trees dedicated to well-renowned literary authors, the fascinating facts about Piedmont Park are timeless. Whether you are on your first or fifteenth visit, the tour awards you with the pleasure of establishing a new understanding of the Park and its influence on Atlanta’s history.

“The tour is such a great reminder of how Piedmont Park is woven into the fabric that is Atlanta.” – Kathy Ashe, Olmsted Society Member of the Piedmont Park Conservancy

2. Meet Like-Minded People

The Piedmont Park History Tour is a great way to meet new people or spend time with those who share a passion for Atlanta history or green space. The tour attracts neighbors, frequent visitors of the park and first-time visitors. Perhaps you’ll befriend another park lover on the tour, and then exchange contact information or enjoy a post-tour cup of coffee at the Green Market.

3. Instill Passion for Parks

With its unique and earthy history, the tour also encourages weekend family outings. If your family members love to engulf themselves in lush greenery and distinctive wildlife, or if historical landmarks and old truths thrill them, the park tour is perfect. The experience cultivates enthusiasm, dedication and love for all of what has Piedmont Park to offer. When you discover that Piedmont Park has been the backdrop of Gay Pride since 1972, for instance, or the home to the highly anticipated Atlanta Dogwood Festival, you will leave with a better understanding of why it is so important to preserve this gorgeous green space as a resource to Atlanta’s cultural and recreational events.

The tour is family and dog friendly. Grab your stroller and spend a day in the Park! Maybe the tour will persuade you or your guests to get involved with the Piedmont Park Conservancy such as helping to maintain the park’s beauty and cleanliness, all the while ensuring a safe space for the local community.

4. Make a Day at Piedmont Park

If you are new to Atlanta or only visiting with family and friends, the Piedmont Park Tour is a great resource for experiencing most of Piedmont Park in a short amount of time. First, arrive early to check out Green Market, where local farmers display tables of colorful veggies, fruits, and other merchandise. Then, take the docent-led guided tour to relive the park’s history. The docent will show you monuments, gorgeous trees, great Atlanta skylines (photo op!), and more – all within 60 to 90 minutes. Plus, both the Green Market and the tour are free to attend!

From learning about the contemporary design of the 1976 Noguchi Playscape to the Active Oval which was formerly a horse race track, the Piedmont Park History Tour is a noteworthy event to attend. It is hosted during Green Market which is on Saturdays from March to December (exclusion dates apply – check calendar for confirmation). The market is open from 9am-1pm, and the tour starts promptly at 11am. The market is at the 12th Street and Piedmont Avenue gate. Meet at the Piedmont Park Conservancy and Green Market information table. *$5 donation encouraged.

Guest Post by Annierra Matthews

Top Things You Need to Know about Splish Splash Doggie Bash

On the first week of October, Atlanta’s pups are going to be wet and wild! The Piedmont Park Conservancy will be hosting Splish Splash Doggie Bash on October 7 and 8, a sell-out dog pool party that makes for great headlines and pictures. Come join the fun with hundreds of other pooches and people this fall. Here are the top things you can be excited about for this year’s bash.

  1. This is the ONLY weekend that dogs get to “take a dip” in Piedmont Park’s pool!
  2. We have supporters and sponsors giving away a ton of FREE dog-related swag, treats and toys.
  3. People can enjoy adult beverages at a cash bar while their four-legged friends practice their dog paddle. (Exception: We cannot sell alcohol on Sundays prior to 12:30pm.)
  4. Meet Ponce – Piedmont Park’s Dog of the Year- and her owners at some of our sessions.
  5. Don’t have a dog but want to join the fun? This is the first year that we have audience viewing tickets that do not require a canine.

Wondering if your dog is suitable for the event?

  • Swimming or not, dogs can have a great time at this event. Dogs that are comfortable with jumping in will have plenty of opportunities. Also, less comfortable dogs can use the zero entry area, or sit poolside bathing in the sun.
  • Lastly, don’t think that the size of your dog will determine his or her boldness to play along! We have seen Olympic-courage from small dogs and giant dogs that prefer the shallow end.

Tickets go on sale to the public on September 1. Are you a member of the Piedmont Park Conservancy, or want to join? Members get early registration from August 28 through August 31.

Link for more information and registration: https://piedmontpark.org/splishsplash/

Landscape Improvement on Piedmont Avenue

Avid runners and walkers of Piedmont Park will notice a vast different on Piedmont Avenue. The Piedmont Park Conservancy just completed a landscaping improvement at the north end of Piedmont Park creating a safer environment for pedestrians to travel along Piedmont Avenue towards the Monroe Drive entrance. The project cleared an immense gathering of brush and collective trash, and the removal of invasive species. Additionally, a decorative wall was installed to add another layer of curbside appeal.

Local jogger Amy says “I am [happy] to see the new section of the park off of Piedmont Avenue. As somebody that runs in that area quite a bit, it’s nice to not only see the sidewalk fixed, but just to see all of the beautiful landscaping.”

BEFORE

AFTER

BEFORE

AFTER

A less popular area of Piedmont Park, the former state of the north end was one of the remaining areas that needed vast improvement after the Piedmont Park Conservancy’s capital campaigns. Since 1989, the Conservancy has invested over $66 million into the park, and found the remaining area unacceptable.

“The north end landscape improvement was a natural next step to improving the Piedmont Park experience. We wanted to bring this area up to the expectations of what Atlantans know to be beautiful Piedmont Park,” says Mark Banta, President/CEO of the Piedmont Park Conservancy.

Appreciation goes to The Kendeda Fund for funding this project. The project was designed by HGOR. The construction was completed by Gibson Landscape. The Piedmont Park Conservancy is in conversation with the City of Atlanta about the completion of the sidewalk improvement surrounding the north end of Piedmont Park.

 

Replacement of Piedmont Park’s Beloved Climbing Magnolia

The Vasser Woolley Foundation donates $20,000 for tree and care

In spring of last year, Piedmont Park was highlighted in the AJC for being home to the most recognizable and most photographed tree in Atlanta – the “Climbing Magnolia.” If you grew up in Atlanta, or are a frequent park visitor, chances are you have either climbed on this tree yourself or taken a picture in front it. Its sweeping limbs made the perfect perch for that keepsake photo or unique vantage point of Atlanta’s historic park.

But in July 2016, the Climbing Magnolia sadly toppled over succumbing to a column of rot that had weakened its core. Based on its rings, many believe the magnolia dates back to the Cotton States Exhibition in 1895 -an important milestone in Atlanta’s history.

Fortunately, a 20’ magnolia, with a 70” root ball, weighing over 8,000 lbs has been successfully installed in Piedmont Park. The Piedmont Park Conservancy extends great appreciation to the Vasser Woolley Foundation for donating $20,000 towards the replacement, installation and ongoing care of this iconic Atlanta landmark. The Conservancy looks forward to the many years ahead of the new Magnolia.

Moments before the new Magnolia Tree is planted.

Jennifer Rudder places her hand on the 70″ root ball.

Piedmont Park Conservancy staff members Krystal Collier, Amy Han Dietrich, Jennifer Rudder and Terrell Henderson posing by the new magnolia tree.

Piedmont Park Greenhouse Open for Education Programs

On Tuesday morning, the Piedmont Park Conservancy celebrated the opening of a new greenhouse which was generously donated by Wells Fargo. Guests were welcomed with fresh mint-infused lemonade, cucumber water and fresh pastries. The weather was refreshingly cool for a June morning, and the clouds provided a nice blanket of shade. The greenhouse stands adjacent to the Conservancy maintenance shop, and faces out to the Piedmont Commons area. The soft sounds of ventilation fans could be heard, releasing the hot air from within the clear structure.

Representatives from Wells Fargo were welcomed with a recognition decal placed on the opening of the greenhouse. Because of a generous donation from the Northwood Garden Club, attendees were able to peruse the greenhouse which already had its first generation of plantings including peppers, squash and cherry tomatoes, and newly bought equipment to enable the house to flourish.

Mark Banta, President and CEO of the the Piedmont Park Conservancy, welcomed guests and exclaimed that the Conservancy was very excited to obtain this long-desired wish list item. Banta extended appreciation to Wells Fargo’s Kris Christy for partnering with the organization to make this dream possible, and to Chris McDaid for his dedication to the Conservancy and this project. Banta followed up with a thoughtful commentary about the Northwood Garden Club and their continuous support for our horticultural projects, and especially recognizing Esther Stokes for her involvement with the organization.

Then, Mary Yetter, Green Market Manager and the cultivator of Piedmont Park’s gardens, explained that this greenhouse will be crucial to meeting the Conservancy’s future goals of environmental education. From the vast amount of field trips that happen in the park to the EnviroVentures Summer Camp youth, the greenhouse would allow year-round exposure to gardening education. Additionally, the greenhouse opens the potential for future plant sales and member engagement.

The event closed with a ribbon cutting, with a long yellow strand creating a vibrant photo opportunity with the dedication’s special guests. Wells Fargo and the Northwood Garden Club received promising seedlings of tomato plants in soft blue pots as gifts of gratitude.

Appreciation goes to Wells Fargo and the Northwood Garden Club for making this opportunity possible for the Piedmont Park Conservancy. We are excited to give our readers an update on the greenhouse’s progress in the coming months.

Wells Fargo’s Kris Christy and Chris McDaid

 

Northwood Garden Club’s Linda Copeland and Esther Stokes

The dedication was at 10am on Tuesday, June 6. The greenhouse is only accessible by Piedmont Park Conservancy staff. Greenhouse visitation will be infused into various programming. If you have questions about the greenhouse, please email myetter@piedmontpark.org.