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Column: Trees Atlanta expanding springtime planting outreach
by Sally F. White
Northside Neighbor Columnist
March 20, 2013 03:47 PM | 3173 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
Sally White, Northside Neighbor Columnist
As the horticultural season springs into bloom, Trees Atlanta is digging into its official tree-planting season.

Each year dedicated volunteers plant and nurture an additional 2,000 trees in public spaces across metro Atlanta. This 2013 season will launch new initiatives for Trees Atlanta along the growing Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum site starting in March and running through May.

Volunteers will be planting 109,000 native grasses and wildflower plugs — nearly 8.5 acres — along the BeltLine’s Eastside Trail while hosting walks and a native plant sale to support the new public park areas. The BeltLine Arboretum runs along a continuous 22-mile loop of natural areas following an abandoned railway route through metro Atlanta.

The linear botanical garden is being developed by Trees Atlanta, Atlanta BeltLine members and surrounding communities. It will contain living collections of woody plants such as trees along with wildflowers and native grasses for public enjoyment. Trees Atlanta is actively recruiting more volunteers and garden club members to help with the three-month installation to re-plant and maintain the Southeastern U.S. native plants within the Beltline.

The new plugs will grow into a native meadow landscape and become a much-needed source of nesting sites, food and protection for birds, butterflies, bees and other native creatures. April 6, Trees Atlanta will hold its first all-day Native Plant Sale at its Kendeda Center on Chester Avenue in Reynoldstown.

All proceeds from the plant sale will benefit the new Birds, Butterflies and Bees youth education programs. April 12, Trees Atlanta is inviting visitors to register for a free Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum docent walking tour with well-trained experts to explore the path while focusing on the horticultural collections and facts about the area.

The tour will run about one and a half hours and begins at accessible Inman Park. Group accommodations will be available. Residents can register for the walks beginning today by visiting or emailing

Since 1985, Trees Atlanta has been nationally recognized as a nonprofit citizens group that protects and improves the city’s urban forest by planting, conserving and educating the larger community.

Schedules and information: (404) 681-4892 or visit

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The 16th annual Junior League Tour of Kitchens will kick off with a Toast of the Tour Friday at Mason Murer Fine Art on Armour Drive in Midtown.

The fun benefit evening will preview kitchen décor with select designer hosts while guests enjoy gourmet food, a dessert room, signature drinks with mixology demonstrations, special kitchen demos, a sports lounge and a silent auction. The following rain-or-shine Saturday and Sunday tours will take a look at 14 of Atlanta’s most spectacular kitchens created by Atlanta’s top designers, with unique décor and the latest in epicurean appliances.

Hours are: Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Since 1997, when the Junior League of Atlanta held its first kitchen-style event, it has grown exponentially to become the volunteer organization’s main annual fundraising effort supporting the mission of improving the health, education and welfare of women and children.

Originated in 1916 with just 45 members, the much-needed volunteer resource is one of the largest chapters within the Association of Junior League International. It has a membership of more than 3,800 provisional, active and sustaining members. It has become a catalyst for positive change through partnerships with more than 65 nonprofits in the metro Atlanta area.

Tickets and information: (678) 916-3100 or visit

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Volunteers and members of the Rotary Club of Sandy Springs are hosting a formal benefit gala Saturday at the Dunwoody Country Club to celebrate the chapter’s 41st anniversary.

The festive, black-tie-optional evening will include a seated dinner and entertainment by the classic rock-and-roll Shaken—Not Stirred musicians. An auction and raffle featuring Sandy Springs’ businesses and products will contribute to the fundraising aspects.

Through its nonprofit Rotary Club of Sandy Springs Foundation, the District 6900 chapter donates 100 percent of all gala contributions to support the club’s service and community projects in the Sandy Springs-Fulton County areas.

Some of the current partnership projects are: free dictionaries, atlas and thesauruses for Sandy Spring elementary schools’ reference book project; college scholarships for Riverwood and North Springs high school students; Sandy Springs firehouse dinners; teacher recognition awards; police and fire public safety awards; and Coats for Kids plus other Community Assistance Center projects.

The Sandy Springs chapter is one of the most decorated Rotary clubs in Georgia, with membership encompassing business owners, professionals, corporate managers, community leaders and volunteers who live and work in the north Fulton community.

President-elect Jim Squire is chairing the event. The Sandy Springs district is affiliated with international service projects through Rotary International, the respected worldwide organization of business and professional persons, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace.

Founded in 1905, the Rotary Club has more than 1.2 million members in 32,200 chapters in 168 countries.

Tickets and information: (404) 667-6000 or visit

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Georgia Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) will turn 25 this year and will celebrate the anniversary with a luncheon and fashion show benefit March 27 at the Piedmont Driving Club in Midtown.

The annual event raises much-needed funds for CASA’s affiliates throughout the state, serving 140 counties, supporting and promoting advocates for abused and neglected children. The luncheon will be emceed by WXIA-TV’s Ted Hall and Molly McMahan with L.K. Bennett, and will feature women’s fashions from L.K. Bennett, favorite of Britain’s Katherine the duchess of Cambridge, and men’s fashions from Guffey’s.

CASA staff members, volunteers and supporters will parade the runway while raffle packages from Atlanta luxury retailers will enhance the fundraising aspects of the noontime affair. This year’s benefit will also honor the three founders of Georgia CASA: Kathie Gannon, Karen N. Sibley and Nicki Vaughan.

“To fully train volunteer advocates who work together with the court system to protect the best interest of foster children, we need financial support from the larger community,” said Duaine Hathaway, executive director of Georgia CASA. “We served more than 8,800 children last year with the help of 1,960 CASA volunteers. However, there were some 5,000 children that went through the system in Georgia that CASA was unable to help. Monies raised at events such as the annual luncheon go to support services in Atlanta and throughout the state.”

Georgia CASA is a nonprofit which establishes and supports affiliate programs across the state to recruit, screen, train and supervise volunteers. It is committed to maintaining a network of well-administered programs that operate independently with mutual accountability, resulting in the highest level of advocacy for all of Georgia’s deprived children.

Currently, 47 CASA programs in the state are affiliates of Georgia CASA and members of the National CASA Association.

Tickets and information: (404) 874-2888 or visit

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They are on their way!

An update bulletin is out on the Playable Art sculptures destined for the Abernathy Greenway linear park under construction by the city of Sandy Springs as part of the Georgia Department of Transportation road expansion — running south from the Chattahoochee River along Johnson Ferry and Abernathy roads.

Started in 2011 with a grant from Northside Hospital, the outdoor art project was ventured through Art Sandy Springs competitions to secure original, permanent public sculptures for the park to be known as the Playable Art Park designed for youngsters.

It is a partnership between Art Sandy Springs and the Sandy Springs Conservancy. The unique urban design amenity is an example of public and private partnerships adding art to community landscapes while inspiring play-and-engage area for children to appreciate art in everyday life.

More than 125 artists and sculptors responded to the call for entries last year and six winning outdoor sculptures are en route for installation when the park is completed later in 2013. Although still under construction, the first sculpture, “Dragonfly,” a giant 50-foot brick-based piece by artists Tanner Coleman and Alexis Gregg, is in place but under protective wraps and a safety fence.

The other five oversized works waiting for installation have playful titles such as: “Twist & Shout,” “The Big Imagine,” “It’s You & Me Kid,” “Dragon Wall” and “Spider Walk.” These rugged outdoor pieces are expected to arrive complete for installation later this year.

Sandy Springs Conservancy Executive Director Linda Bain, chair of the Playable Art Park’s steering committee, reports the exciting new community art project is on all systems go and early announcements on final installation will be made closer to completion of the Abernathy Greenway access and landscape.

Information: (770) 393-1993 or visit

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