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The City of Atlanta is proud to be an Energy Star Partner.
ENERGY STAR is a joint program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy helping us all save money and protect the environment through energy efficient products and practices. To learn how you can start saving energy and money visit http://www.energystar.gov/
In 2009, The City of Atlanta again received the Tree City USA designation.
The Tree City USA® program, sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, provides direction, technical assistance, public attention, and national recognition for urban and community forestry programs in thousands of towns and cities that more than 120 million Americans call home.
To learn more about the Tree City USA program visit here
Park of the Month
The Park of the Year program acknowledges excellence in park operation and maintenance in City of Atlanta parks. The program recognizes a Park of Month from April through October, with one of these parks ultimately being recognized as Park of the Year. The well deserving crew receives our gratitude, the recognition of its peers, and a performance-based bonus from the Parks Department for a job well done.
Park Pride initiated the Park of the Month program in conjunction with the Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs (DPRCA). During “park season”—from April through October—the Office of Parks nominates five parks to be considered for Park of the Month. Park Pride visits the nominated parks and judges them against used the City’s standard evaluation policy for park maintenance. Among the criteria are the condition of the lawn and planting beds, cleanliness, hazards and graffiti. The park that best meets these criteria is named Park of the Month.
The Level Four drought is anticipated to continue well through the summer season, causing concern about the maintenance of Atlanta’s park system. Proper maintenance will be more important than ever, with an emphasis on raising mowing heights to protect water-starved lawns, properly mulching trees and shrubs to save water, and planting flowers only at locations with rain barrels and other non-traditional sources of water. Removing invasive species from under tree canopies will save available water for trees. The good news is that the drought should hurt weeds, too.
Commute Alternatives Program - The City has incorporated workplace flexibility practices across its workforce of nearly 8,000. Most every employee is eligible for some Alternative Work Schedule (AWS) arrangement; from an award winning Compressed Work Week program in our court system, to the Telework Program that allows our employees to work remotely. The city also subsidizes transit passes for its employees and employs bike accessibility and walk able surfaces throughout city facilities.
City of Atlanta employees, clean up your commute. Log your commute, earn cash, and win Prizes! Click here for more information: Commuter Rewards.
The City subsidizes MARTA fares for city employees. Contact Barbara Tate to take advantage.
Interested in RideSmart, teleworking, and outreach events such as “Walk Day” and “Give Your Car the Day Off.” Contact the Clean Air Campaign.
Earth Hour in Georgia – truly the night the lights went out. Atlanta residents and people across the state turned out to make Earth Hour a great success, joining cities and individuals across the globe to call for action on climate change.
From Midtown to Buckhead, from Castleberry Hill to the Virginia Highlands, inside the Perimeter and out, Atlantans made a strong statement that we're ready to take steps to reduce emissions and protect the environment. Georgia Power reported that its customers in Atlanta reduced electricity usage by 4 percent during Earth Hour.
Earth Hour Atlanta was a great start – a show of what we can do by ourselves and with our neighbors, of how we can team up with local leaders and corporate citizens to make a real difference.
The heart of Atlanta shined through the darkened city Saturday night. Earth Hour proved what we can do together – and showed why together we can solve climate change.
The next step is to make a commitment to reduce your energy usage every day – to make Earth Hour the beginning, not the end – and to help others find ways to change their lives and practices so we can all get on the path to ending climate change.
For more information about Earth Hour Atlanta: http://www.earthhourus.org/atlanta.php
Bird-Watching on the Fifth Runway?
Few things are more relaxing than retreating to nature with a pair of binoculars and listening to the melodious chirpings of Georgia’s native birds.
Sounds good, but on the fifth runway? Well, not exactly. But “The Most Important Runway in America” is in part responsible for helping create a place south of the Airport in Fayette County where a bird watcher’s wildest dreams can come true.
To meet federal requirements to replace wetlands disturbed by construction of the fifth runway, formally known as Runway 10/28, Hartsfield-Jackson planners and engineers have teamed with Georgia-based Southern Conservation Trust, Register Nelson Environmental Consultants, C.S. Britton, Inc. Environmental Contractors, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to revitalize wetlands drained years ago on a 56.5-acre parcel of land known as Sams Lake.
The Best Made Plans
The Sams Lake project was almost complete in 2004 when a series of tropical storms wiped out most of the work. “After the storms, we had to start from scratch, which took several months to complete,” said Kathryn Masters, a senior Hartsfield-Jackson engineer.
However, a funny thing happened in the intervening 24 months or so. “We hadn’t seen the site for quite awhile, and when we got there and looked around we were amazed at what we saw!” said Masters. What happened was Mother Nature had taken matters into her own hands. The area was lush with vegetation and alive with the sounds of songbirds.
This changed the way Masters and her colleagues approached the renewed Sams Lake wetlands restoration projects.
Mother Knows Best
“Mother Nature has a way of knowing what’s best. We studied the way vegetation and habitat grew on its own during the period of time following the hurricane,” said Masters. “We then worked closely with Register Nelson and Q-B Engineering and Surveying to develop a restoration plan that would enhance what was already happening naturally.”
Although the official opening of the Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary, located off Senoia Road in Fayetteville, isn’t scheduled until September, the restoration is proceeding very well, according to Trust Executive Director Abby Jordan.
“The new plan for the site is much more natural than the original plan before the hurricane,” said Jordan. “It requires very little maintenance; it’s holding more water than we expected, and it is developing excellent habitat for all sorts of wildlife, including deer, snakes, turtles, heron and all sorts of other birds.”
Located in the Flint River Basin, the Sams Lake area is not only important to the local flora and fauna, it also plays a key role in controlling flood waters. “Wetlands act like a sponge and soak up excess rain water,” explained Jordan. She added that wetland areas also help improve overall water quality.
This is good news for birds and bird watchers alike. Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary features a half-mile mulched walking trail and three dams, which have created ponds that are ideal habitat for nesting and migrating birds. Three observation decks are also being built for bird watchers to get up close and personal with Georgia’s finest feathered friends. When the sanctuary is complete, it will be free and open to the public.
For more information about Sams Lake Bird Sanctuary and Southern Conservation Trust, visit www.sctlandtrust.org.