Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Celebrating Earth Day 2015

This Wednesday, Earth Day, SBG had a large seed sowing work day for the Elaine Nash Piedmont Prairie Project. An SBG team and volunteers sowed three years’ worth of increase seed of Georgia native grasses and wildflowers. All seeds were sourced from the Georgia Piedmont. This is a second planting of seeds developed through a partnership with the US Forest Service, working to restore and recreate two sites for Piedmont Prairies, one of Georgia’s most critically rare habitats, and a priority project listed in the State Wildlife Action Plan.
Botanical Garden staff member Heather Alley, an expert on prairie restoration, led this seed development project for SBG. Linda Chafin, another staff member involved, is an expert in the biology and botany of Piedmont Prairies.


Friday, April 17, 2015

National Center for Plant Conservation Meeting Happening at the State Botanical Garden

The Center for Plant Conservation 2015 National Meeting is being held April 16-19, 2015 at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. The Center for Plant Conservation is a national network of 36 of America’s leading botanical institutions dedicated to preventing the extinction of imperiled native flora. The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, who broke the mold in plant conservation through networking and safeguarding projects for the last 20 years, was invited to join this group in 2007.
National leaders in plant conservation will be attending, including plant conservation professionals (titled by CPC as Conservation Officers) from 17 states, six botanical garden directors. Twenty-one accredited Center for Plant Conservation partner botanical gardens will be represented.

Among the 50 attendees are professionals from the US Fish & Wildlife Service and several universities, plus several partners in the Georgia Plant Conservation Alliance – US Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy of Georgia, GA DNR Nongame Conservation Section. This meeting will include talks, tours of the Garden and the Mimsie Lanier Center for Native Plant Studies, and field trips to Rock and Shoals Outcrop Natural Area and Tallulah Gorge.

Thursday, April 2, 2015



                Sue and Ed Wilde began leading volunteer groups to remove privet, ivy and other invasive plants at the State Botanical Garden in 2006. Later they helped start the Memorial Park/Birchmore Trail Weed Warriors, who have cleared invasives from more than 12 acres of park land.
Bruno Giri, a leader in efforts to protect waterways and improve water quality in the Athens area was also a recipient of the award.
 (Sue Wilde, preparing to plant Christmas Ferns at Memorial Park in a site she recently cleared of English Ivy.)

                The Alec Little Environmental Award was established in 1991 to honor John A. (Alec) Little of Athens, who worked closely with many environmental organizations in Georgia before his death that year. It was the first major prize to recognize individuals and organizations for outstanding efforts in environmental activism and education in the Athens area.
                Winners of the award are chosen by an advisory board composed of past winners and representatives of the organizations that created the award shortly after Little died of a heart attack.
                This year's award will be presented April 17 at the annual GreenFest Awards Ceremony at Flinchum's Phoenix.
                Sue and Ed Wilde have lived in Athens since the early 1970s and previously were co-owners of Sparky's Seafood Café and Jackson Street Books.  Graduates of the Master Naturalist course, they began a campaign against invasive plants by learning to identify native plants and clearing their half-acre backyard of non-natives such as ivy, privet and honeysuckle. 
                Sue helped remove invasives at Sandy Creek Nature Center to create a meadow/prairie, and she and Ed began volunteering at the State Botanical Garden, where they led groups and worked on their own to fight ivy and other invasives.  
                In 2009, Sue and friends Linda Chafin and Dorothy O'Niell formed the Weed Warriors, and they were soon joined by Ed and Gary Crider.  The group gathers at Memorial Park every other Saturday from October to March to clear invasive plants and has generated more than 4,000 volunteer hours. In 2010 the Weed Warriors received the Facility/Grounds Volunteer Award from the Georgia Recreation and Parks Association.

 Previous winners of the Alec Little Environmental Award are Nancy Lindbloom, Laurie Fowler, Walter  Cook, Joan Gould, Leo Smith Jr., Al Ike, Pam McClure, Jere Bowden, Charles Carter, Bud and Mary Freeman, Sigrid Sanders, Dick Field, Melanie Ruhlman, Smith Wilson, Dan Hope, Larry Dendy, Beth Gavrilles, Bob Barker, Nancy Stangle, Skipper StipeMass, Laura Hall, Russ Page, Elizabeth Little, Maureen O'Brien, Carl Jordan, Suzanne Lindsay, Dorothy O'Niell, Craig Page, Eric Waggoner, Gary Crider, David Berle and Hugh and Carol Nourse.
                Previous organization winners are Sandy Creek Nature Center, the Broad River Watershed Association, the Community Tree Council, the UGA Environmental Law Association, the Creek Kids, the Oconee Rivers Audubon Society, the Athens Grow Green Coalition, the Upper Oconee Watershed Network, the Athens Land Trust, the Oconee Rivers Greenway Commission, Bike Athens, the Oconee River Land Trust, R.E.M., the Newland Family Foundation, the UGA Go Green Alliance, Hill First Baptist Church and the EcoFocus Film Festival.
                The late University of Georgia ecologist Eugene Odum received a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Reception, Talk and Book Signing with Kimberly Cross Teter

    Did you know that the most famous orchestra in Europe at the beginning of the 18th Century was composed of all females, most of whom had been orphaned or abandoned as babies?  These remarkable musicians lived together in the Ospedale della Pietà, a unique orphanage in Venice, where they were directed by Don Antonio Vivaldi, the prolific composer who would become known for The Four Seasons. Vivaldi, ordained a Catholic priest in 1703, maintained an on-again, off-again relationship with the Pietà for 37 years and wrote a countless number of pieces for its girls during that time.  The main character in Kimberly Cross Teter's debut novel, Isabella's Libretto, is a 14-year-old cellist who lives at the Ospedale della Pietà and dreams that Vivaldi will write a solo that features her.

    Listen to Kimberly talk about her novel and this fascinating piece of history and hear a cellist perform in the Visitor Center on Wednesday March 4. Friends of the Garden will host a book signing and reception at 6:00 pm.  Kimberly's talk will begin at 6:30 pm.  This event is free.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Meet Ben - A 2015 Young Dawg

            Hi, my name is Ben Williams and I am a high school student participating in UGA’s Young Dawgs internship program. This semester I will be doing an internship here at the garden.
First of all I should tell you a little about myself. I am a homeschooled senior. I am fascinated by wildlife; particularly birds. I plan to pursue this interest in college, and this internship will be great preparation for that. I go birding regularly, whether I am in my backyard or places like the State Botanical Garden. Birding is an enhanced form of bird watching, involving more traveling in search of birds. I have had many opportunities to enjoy birds and wildlife in various ways. For instance, for five years I have participated in Georgia’s annual Youth Birding Competition, a 24 hour contest of who can find the most birds in the state. 2013 was a big year for me. In the summer I got to participate in a nature immersion camp in Puerto Rico, where I learned much about ecosystems on the island. Later that summer I went to another camp in Colorado which was all about birding. An exciting part of this camp was getting to visit the amazing landscapes there, including prairie and mountain tundra, in addition to seeing an abundance of wildlife.
Young Dawgs is a program that gives internships to students in a field of study that interests them. Many students work with professors from UGA. In my case, my internship will be focused around birding, and I will be working with Cora Keber and Andie Bisceglia who work at the garden. I will come to the garden regularly and record bird sightings at designated locations. With the data I collect, we hope to gain information on the migration habits of the birds at garden, as well as how the habitat restoration taking place here is affecting bird populations and which species are affected. For instance, the data collected in locations where nonnative plants have been eradicated will be compared with locations where these plants remain. If you are interested in hearing more, every week I will tell about my findings on the State Botanical Garden of Georgia Facebook page. I am very excited to be working here and enjoying nature!