NWF Earth Tomorrow Leaders Join Community Volunteers to Conserve the Urban Forest
NWF’s Atlanta Earth Tomorrow Program kicked off its fall season of service by collaborating with the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA), REI, and other partners to provide hands-on service to conserve urban forestry resources at the Atlanta Outdoor Activity Center (OAC) in Southwest Atlanta’s Richland Hills Neighborhood. On two service days held in October and November, Earth Tomorrow leaders and community volunteers worked on several greening projects at the 26-acre urban forest preserve including: removing invasive plant species, repairing bridges, and working in the community garden.
English Ivy, privet, and other invasive plants in this urban forest pose threats to the wildlife and native plants that find their home in the forest. The Earth Tomorrow leaders and other volunteers worked hard to remove these invasive plants, such as the English Ivy that had spread its vines over the ground; making it hard for burrowing animals to find food and threatening the health of trees in the forest. Volunteers also worked to repair collapsing foot bridges along the 2.5 mile trail system at the OAC, clean out raised garden beds for the winter at community gardening plots on the property, and assorted cleaning tasks in the education building.
REI, a partner of both NWF and WAWA (the organization that operates the OAC), provided lunch for the volunteers at the service days. REI has been a long-time supporter of NWF’s Earth Tomorrow Summer Institute as well as various Earth Tomorrow service days such as this one. The volunteers at the November event were also enlightened by a presentation and climate change call to action by Lonna Dawson, Atlanta Educator from the Alliance for Climate Education. As the volunteers spent the day volunteering to conserve the urban forest, Ms. Dawson encouraged them to believe that their efforts can make a difference in combating global warming.
The Atlanta Earth Tomorrow Program is a high school and community club-based program that creates opportunities for teens (ages 14-18) to become environmental stewards through a year-long cycle of leadership training, issues exploration, civic engagement, career development, community outreach and education, and student-led community action projects. NWF works with select high schools in the Atlanta Metropolitan Area, but is expanding the Earth Tomorrow Program to additional schools. For more information about the program or getting one started in your neighborhood school, please contact the program manager, Na’Taki Osborne Jelks at Osborne@nwf.org or 404-876-8733.