Fernbank Hosts Earth Day Celebration and Announces Induction into Old-Growth Forest Network

Conservation to be Celebrated as Fernbank Forest Becomes a Nationally-Recognized Greenspace

ATLANTA, April 21, 2017 — Fernbank Museum of Natural History will host an Earth Day Celebration on Saturday, April 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. featuring crafts and activities to promote sustainability and conservation. The event comes just days before Fernbank Forest is inducted into the nation-wide Old-Growth Forest Network as one of the first Atlanta forests to be recognized.

Fernbank’s Earth Day Celebration will feature an interactive “green living” display by Kennessaw State University; a creative, recyclable Build-a-Bug craft; a biodegradable nature journal to record findings in the wild; and native wildflower seed balls to plant at home. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a Fernbank educator will lead ecology-focused, drop-in style programs on sustainability and conservation.

At 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., Fernbank educators will lead a Nature Walk through WildWoods and Fernbank Forest. These hour-long guided tours are offered on a first-come, first-served basis and will give visitors a closer look at the region’s environment as they learn how to identify native plants and appreciate biodiversity. Since Fernbank Forest — one of the largest old-growth Piedmont forests in the nation — provides a habitat to a diverse range of birds, small mammals, amphibians and reptiles, opportunities for animal sightings on the walk may arise. Before visitors embark on the tour, Fernbank encourages them to download the iNaturalist smartphone app to record their observations on the walk. Observations made in iNaturalist can contribute to biodiversity science and even help discover new species on Fernbank’s campus.

After a period of comprehensive ecological restoration — involving the removal of over 50 acres of threatening non-native invasive plant species — access to Fernbank Forest was made possible via a connector trail from Fernbank Museum last fall. Fernbank is proud to announce that Fernbank Forest will be officially inducted as a Dedicated Forest into the Old-Growth Forest Network on April 25, 2017 at EcoAddendum’s “Discovering Atlanta’s Original Forest” event at Emory University.

The Old-Growth Forest Network is a national network of recognized greenspaces with a goal of inducting at least one forest per county across the country and reversing the decline of old-growth forests. The OGFN works to recognize the preservation of forests so that visitors can experience native forests in their mature diversity and complexity, and enjoy the cultural, ecological and health benefits of these natural spaces.

“Atlanta is one of the most forested metropolises in the country. Within the city are numerous fragmented segments of old-growth forest, the largest of which is Fernbank Forest. Joan Maloof has created an organization that recognizes specific forests and the importance of protecting and preserving these biological refuges. It is an honor for Fernbank Forest to inducted into the Old-Growth Forest Network among many other forests, all set aside as ecological preserves that can be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Fernbank Ecologist, Eli Dickerson.

EcoAddendum’s “Discovering Atlanta’s Original Forest” will include an author talk featuring OGFN founder and ecology author Joan Maloof, as well as an Atlanta Urban Forest Panel Discussion moderated by the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s Maria Saporta and featuring panelists including:

  • Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, City of Atlanta Chief Resiliency Officer

  • Jacqueline Echols, Director, South River Watershed Alliance

  • Darryl Haddock, Director of Education, West Atlanta Watershed Alliance

  • Professor John Wegner, Environmental Science, Emory University

HOURS AND TICKETS: All Earth Day Celebration activities are included with Museum admission which is $18 for adults, $17 for seniors, $16 for children ages 3-12 and free for children ages 2 and under and Museum members.

For more information on EcoAddendum’s “Discovering Atlanta’s Original Forest” event, visit: http://www.ecoaddendum.org/event/joan-maloof-talk-and-forest-panel-emory-april-25/

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. For visitor information and tickets, visit FernbankMuseum.org.

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