With your support, the Nature Center has successfully executed numerous public/private partnerships in the past year that have enhanced the user experience in Dunwoody Park. Our elegantly redesigned front entrance, with complete handicap access, creates a functional plaza area with a tranquil water feature. The plaza was designed and installed with pavers donated by Oldcastle, integrating the very best environmental building practices. Our woodland sited playground and hammock garden make you wish you were a kid again and fulfill the Nature Center’s belief that we should all be outside, every day, engaged in outdoor play and recreation. Stunning new signage around the education building and fern-glade woodland trail than includes more than 700 newly planted native shrubs welcomes our park visitors in graphic, bold beauty.
In addition to these grounds improvements, the Nature Center also enacted two ambitious environmental advocacy initiatives in 2015. The Milkweed Project, funded through the generosity of guests at the Monarchs & Margaritas event in April and with support from Post Properties and The UPS Foundation, has raised awareness of the plight of the Monarch butterfly. Over the course of the year, the Nature Center has disseminated hundreds of native milkweed plants and planted eight schoolyard gardens, including one at every Dunwoody elementary school. In the coming months, this program continues with classroom instruction developed by Nature Center staff who will lead 61 outreach workshops that will serve over 1,000 students. Closer to home, the we were awarded a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant to restore Wildcat Creek. These grant dollars were matched and augmented by numerous civic, corporate and governmental partners and amount to a more than $120,000 investment to repair the deteriorating bank conditions, reverse damage caused by major erosion along creek banks and restore the fresh-water health of the creek - Dunwoody’s waterway to the Chattahoochee River. By allowing visitors to experience nature firsthand via the beauty and functionality of a restored Wildcat Creek, the Nature Center plans to continue the immersive learning for which it is known.
Your involvement and support in 2015 made these accomplishments a reality and for that we thank you.
Our plans for 2016 are intentionally designed for you and others to continue to enjoy and be inspired by nature in new ways. This is your park; we are just fortunate enough to be able to work here each day. We remain fundamentally committed to our core competency, to that which is our second nature: education. We will amplify and extend the success of initiatives such as our Milkweed Project and Creek Restoration. We will add more passive signage to reach each park visitor. We will develop exhibition and programming components around a demonstration bee hive. We will explore the intersection of nature and art, working in conjunction with public art councils to incorporate art, in all its infinite variety, into our offerings.
We will continue to extend our reach, adding more camp options, more classes, more backyard camp outs, more opportunities to bliss out in nature whether from behind the lens of a telescope or peering over a glass of wine on our back porch. We invite you to continue making a lasting difference in Dunwoody; together with us, in partnership.