Archive for the ‘Natural Communities’ Category


In this short video, discover the damaging effects of stormwater runoff and how you can help protect, preserve, and restore Coastal Georgia’s water quality and natural resources.

“Coastal Georgia’s Green Infrastructure & Stormwater Management,” can be viewed here https://vimeo.com/193902038

To learn more, visit:

Ecoscapes Sustainable Land Use Program, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant

Georgia Forestry Commission

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For the third year in a row, trees as green stormwater infrastructure will be the main topic at the Georgia Urban Forest Council summer program, August 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Norcross Community Center, 10 College Street. Karen Firehock, Executive Director of the Green Infrastructure Center in Charlottesville, Virginia, will kick off the program with a presentation on the valuable role of trees in stormwater management with some examples from Norcross and Alpharetta. The Green Infrastructure Center, Inc. (GIC) was formed in 2006 to help local governments, communities, and regional planning organizations, land trusts and developers evaluate their green infrastructure assets and make plans to conserve them. GreenBlue Urban, an international company that helps cities with integrating stormwater management into urban tree planting design, will also highlight their green infrastructure projects and tools. Christine McKay, Water Protection Division, US EPA Region 4, will facilitate a panel discussion of community leaders, arborists, landscape architects, and planners on challenges and successes in their communities regarding trees and stormwater management. Lunch is included. CEUs will be available. Register here.

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At the Georgia Urban Forest Council’s annual College Tree Canopy Conference, held at Agnes Scott College (ASC) on Sept. 22, student Claudia Mitchell provided a presentation on the Urban Forest Sustainability & Management Audit System, designed to provide a framework for comprehensively evaluating urban forest management programs.

The primary objectives of the audit are to:

  • engage the full spectrum of the organizations’ management team: executive, financial, resource, and outreach,
  • provide program direction that increases the level of professionalism in urban forest management,
  • conduct a gap analysis of management practices and the health of green assets
  • increase the health of the green assets managed by the program, and…
  • optimize this management for identified ecosystem services (i.e. reach an acceptable benefit:cost ratio).

This audit system (the checklist and the process) can be used for municipal or county urban forest management programs, or to evaluate college or corporate campus management programs. The system is particularly suited for the independent evaluation of participants in Arbor Day Foundation programs like Tree Campus USA®, Tree City USA® or Tree Line USA®.

The checklist and spreadsheet tool were developed in cooperation with Agnes Scott College Office of Sustainability and the ASC Arboretum Advisory Committee. Agnes Scott College is located in Decatur, Georgia.

The information for this article was provided by the Leaves of Change Weekly of the Centers for Urban and Interface Forestry.

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Today, Clayton State University will celebrate Arbor Day and becoming a new Tree Campus USA in Georgia. Tree Campus USA honors colleges and their leaders for promoting healthy urban forest management and environmental stewardship.

When it comes to choosing a college to attend or visit, having a beautiful, tree-lined campus is a plus for any student, faculty member or parent. Large-growing trees create welcoming vistas and atmospheres. They provide shady places to spread a blanket and study. At Clayton State, according to surveys, campus trees are one of the top reasons students choose to attend.

The 5 standards of the Tree Campus USA program are rigorous.
#1 – Campus Tree Advisory Committee comprised of students, faculty, facility management and the community.
#2 – Campus Tree Care Plan with specific goals for tree planting, protection and care.
#3 – Campus Tree Care Budget with annual expenditures of about $3 per student and participating student volunteerism.
#4 – Arbor Day Observance and
#5 –Service Learning Project

Congratulations, Clayton State University, on meeting these standards and becoming a new Tree Campus USA!

tree campus usa

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Green infrastructure can be defined as “the interconnected natural systems and ecological processes that provide clean water, air quality and wildlife habitat.” Virginia’s Green Infrastructure Center notes that these systems sustain a community’s social, economic, and environmental health. Karen Firehock, Director of the Green Infrastructure Center, led us through the processes of incorporating GI into community planning at the 23rd Georgia Urban Forest Council Annual Conference and Awards Program, October 23 and 24, 2013. This conference also included a track for colleges and universities.

PowerPoint presentations from “Tree Canopy and Green Infrastructure: Creating Vibrant and Healthy Communities,” including Karen Firehock and Mike Beezhold, Senior Planner, CDM Smith, and former Watershed Manager, Lenexa Public Works, Lenexa, KS, and Dr. Graeme Lockaby of the Center for Forest Sustainability, Auburn University, and many other speakers can be downloaded at http://www.gufc.org.

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Due to increased building and development, an aerial view of the East Coast at night would show continuous lights from Maine to Florida, except for less than 100 miles of coastline along Georgia.  The stretch from Savannah to St. Mary’s is an economic and environmental treasure.

Barbour Pointe, a conservation community in Savannah, is run by Gregg Bayard and Curry Wadsworth.  These two men bought 38 acres of marsh corridor and allow people to live on the property.  Their plan is to focus on tree preservation and minimizing site and soil disturbance.  This is possible since those who live on the land own only their home; they do not have a “yard.”  The homes were also built in areas where trees could be easily preserved.

The roads in this community were built with 100 percent pervious concrete, and geothermal heat pumps are being used as alternative energy sources.  Solar power is also being discussed.  Barbour Pointe is showing the world how conservation communities are economically feasible and also profitable.

Read the full article in Shade.

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Hammonds Ferry, a community along the Savannah River in North Augusta, South Carolina, was developed with nature in mind.  There’s more than 700 homes, up to 40,000 square feet of retail, and 30,000 square feet of professional space.  The developers created a sense of community by building homes closer together so conversations can be had from the front porch.  At the end of one block there might be a restaurant and another corner may have a store with residential lofts above it.  Everything is within walking distance, including the downtown area of the community.

10-15% of storm water from Hammonds Ferry runs into the Savannah River, and the water that does enter has been treated to remove sediment and chemicals.  The only other problem: power lines which run into downtown Augusta cut across the property.  This was overcome by creating a 1.5 acre farm under the lines.  The farm offers a subscription service to Hammonds Ferry residents in which a fresh bag of produce will be delivered to their doorstep every day.

The riverfront trails draw walkers, runners, and cyclists, encouraging a healthy lifestyle.  This community will help to shape our future and will hopefully make other developers consider creating improvements to their properties.

Read the full article in Shade.

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