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Column: Garden of Eden Ball to benefit botanical garden
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
September 12, 2012 02:59 PM | 3852 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
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The Atlanta Botanical Garden’s annual Garden of Eden Ball benefit Sept. 29 will be “A Celebration of the Seasons” salute to all the generous donors who have enriched the Midtown horticultural site with spectacular additions including a delicious Edible Garden, a soaring Canopy Walk, the magnificent Storza Woods and a sparkling Cascades Garden along with the Hardin Visitors Center and the SAGE Parking Facility.

The black-tie evening begins with cocktails in the Levy Parterre followed by a formal seated dinner amid shimmering white-gold décor with hints of aqua on the Great Lawn. Big Blast and the Party Masters will keep guests on their toes with popular dance music from multiple decades.

Sisters Paula Dickey and Kim Lape are co-chairing the gala with patron co-chair couples Michea and Patrick Duffy and Marie and Brad Foster.

Dozens of supportive committee members are reaching out to celebrate and honor all of The New Seasons and Endowment Donors who have completed the most successful fundraising endeavor in the garden’s history. An exclusive patron party Thursday, hosted by Dickey and her husband David at their Buckhead home, will kick off the festivities.

Following a petition by citizens of Atlanta in 1973, the garden was incorporated in 1976 as a nonprofit and in 1980 signed a lease with the city of Atlanta. The first permanent structure was built in 1985 and expansions blossomed with the Children’s Garden (1999), the Fuqua Conservatory and Fuqua Orchid Center (1989 and 2002, respectively) and a large-scale Green Expansion (2010) which sparked the successful New Seasons growth. The mission of the garden is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment.

Tickets and information: (404) 591-1537 or visit

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Earlier this year animal welfare advocate Ginny Millner launched a new nonprofit Fix Georgia Pets umbrella program with the goal to inspire and help initiate and finance statewide spay/neuter programs to stop the increasing overpopulation crisis and killing of companion animals in Georgia.

The new board is spearheaded by fellow animal activists Dale Wintlend, Suzy Wasserman and Rubye Reid, and Reid took a bold move in August and formed a corps of volunteer Georgia Pet Ambassadors to raise funds and follow up on grants to witness the benefits of the initiative.

The first Pet Ambassador event, Healthy Pets DeKalb Day Aug. 11 at Shoal Creek Park in DeKalb County, attracted more than 500 dog and cat owners to receive low-cost vaccinations and neuter/spay certificates from Lifeline Animal Project staff — free to those who could not afford them with the help of Fix Georgia Pets. Joining in the effort were Pet Buddies Food Pantry, Atlanta ResponsiBully-Pit Bull Rescue, Healthy Hound, animal trainers and DeKalb County Animal Services. A generous grant from philanthropist Anne Cox Chambers is inspiring ongoing Fix Georgia Pets efforts.

On Sept. 20 Pet Ambassadors Temple Gregory Anderson and Christina Horten will co-chair an evening fundraiser hosted by father and son Steve and Josh Alterman at their Horseradish Grill restaurant in Buckhead across from Chastain Park. The event will promote the participation and educational formula being offered by animal advocates. Each individual $75 ticket will finance one low- or no-cost spay/neuter certificate.

An estimated 300,000 homeless dogs and cats are killed each year in Georgia on the streets, in shelters, by other feral animals and heartless individuals — some 80,000 just in metro Atlanta. Fix Georgia Pets and the newly minted Pet Ambassadors are dedicated to educate the public, raise funds and recruit volunteers to spread the word as they strive to accomplish their goals.

Tickets and information: (404) 835-4100 or visit

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Are you computer illiterate and over 55? Have you considered taking advantage of your Fulton County tax dollars and signing up for computer classes at the Dorothy C. Benson Senior Multipurpose Complex in Sandy Springs? With the next session, the complex is marking 13 years of free classes instructing senior citizens in computer literacy.

If you are in this category of need and tired of having grandchildren outsmart you and lose interest in helping you learn Internet communications, you need to explore this neighborhood computer classroom.

Created 13 years ago and taught by a corps of educated, dedicated volunteer instructors who are also seniors, the classes include a range of courses starting with beginning basics in personal computers and branching out to accounting, Photoshop, word processing and even advanced projects to encourage elders who may have missed the school-room training of today’s generation of computer-literate youngsters.

If you are a resident of Fulton County, you are eligible to sign up for free classes starting Sept. 20 at 2:30 p.m. and improve your skills in the fully equipped classroom with knowledgeable volunteer instructors. Even if you live outside Fulton and fulfill the age requirement, you may pay a yearly fee and join the classes. The classes begin Oct. 1.

Andre Gregory, director of the county multi-unit facility, said the center is designed for semi-active seniors to promote a safe, active, meaningful and productive life and offers planned activities in education, hobbies, health and wellness, recreation and more.

He adds that they are proud of the 13-year success of the computer classes that have opened minds and doors for seniors with volunteer instructors who are eager to share their knowledge.

The signup day is lottery style and Gregory said interested participants should call ahead of Sept. 20 for registration instructions.

Registration and information: (404) 705-4900 or visit

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A fashionable luncheon Sept. 21 at the Swan Coach House Restaurant on the Atlanta History Center campus in Buckhead will mark more than 80 years of dedicated support for the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee Guild, “a social club with a purpose.”

Net funds from the noontime affair will go to the guild’s 2012 scholarship fund for a talented student at the Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School in the north Georgia mountains.

Guild members will model the latest fall fashions from Chico’s at Phipps Plaza in Buckhead during a fashion show. Louise McCann is the event chair, and Linda Wickham, Lucy Ullmann, Rita Fink, Andrea Pruitt, Nolly Ladha and Glenda Young are serving on the models committee.

Established for underprivileged isolated mountain students in the early part of the 20th century, the school has evolved into a private college-preparatory school integrated with public facilities. Its purposes still reflect a Christian heritage, academic excellence, competitive sports and inspiring programs encouraging students to make contributions in a changing world.

Generations of dedicated Northside guild members have hosted social-style fundraising events to recognize scholars and enlist new supporters for the historic school. Their efforts still provide Bibles for every graduating student and have raised seed money for new buildings, dormitories, a gymnasium, a prayer room, a memorial garden, buses, pianos and, most importantly, an annual scholarship for a deserving day student.

Former members of both the guild and the junior guild and prospective members, both men and women, are welcome.

Reservations and information: (770) 664-9605.

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The High Museum of Art in Midtown is kicking off its school-time Teen Team programs Sept. 21 with a Gallery Slam titled “The Art of Poetry.”

The 7 p.m. gathering in the Black Box Theater on the third floor of the Woodruff Arts Memorial building will focus on the current exhibition of renowned art photographer Richard Misrach’s work illustrating the Mississippi River areas of Louisiana known as “Cancer Alley.” Teens will be invited to create poetic works reflecting social injustices in their own words to share with the group.

The next creative teen event is the Oct. 4 Open Studio to create art in the High’s workshops.

The teen program was instigated by the High education department last year and has soared to great success in attracting and engaging 14- to 18-year-old students in museum-based art programs — whether their families hold High membership or not.

The goal is to build on the family and children’s programs at the High and to provide access along with learning and participating opportunities for budding metro Atlanta artists and connoisseurs from the teen generation, no matter what their museum affiliation may be.

Attendance is free to students with high school identification cards. A 15-member volunteer team selected from applicants attending Atlanta-area high schools sets the pace for Teen Coordinator Beth Malone.

Teen program events and information: (404) 733-4465 or visit

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A daytime Sept. 22 Fall Folklife Festival designed for family participation at the Atlanta History Center’s campus in Buckhead will be expanded this season with an adults-only kickoff evening Sept. 21. Both events will explore traditional Southern crafts, food ways and environmental sustainability.

Friday’s event will feature food samplings from Atlanta-area restaurants and businesses committed to serving local and sustainable ingredients. Three bars will offer cocktails created by area mixologists, and live music will set the tone with Georgia’s own Little County Giants. A panel of four notable epicurean experts will trace the evolution of Atlanta-style Southern dining: Serenbe founders Marie and Steve Nygren, Linton Hopkins, the nationally recognized executive chef and co-owner of several Atlanta restaurants including Restaurant Eugene, and Duane Nutter, chef of One Flew South and owner of Rolling Bones.

The family oriented Saturday festival features an assortment of volunteer demonstrations through the museum and into the center’s historic Smith Family Farm area and interacts with local chefs and farmers as they discuss culinary trends and focus on farm-to-table food practices and sustainability techniques. It will also include a petting zoo for children.

Visitors will get in the mood of fall harvest time with the sounds of local musicians performing sets of folk and bluegrass music. Great food and local beers will be available for purchase.

For the limited Friday evening tickets, call (404) 814-4150.

Saturday’s festival is free to center members, and nonmembers can participate with general admission tickets.

Funding for the nonprofit center program is provided by the Fulton County Board of Commissioners under the guidance of the Fulton County Arts Council, plus Macy’s and Publix.

Tickets and information: (404) 814-4000 or visit

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