The Blue Heron Nature Preserve recently received a $30,000 Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) for urban wetlands restoration. The total conservation impact of the grant will be $71,000 including Blue Heron’s restoration partnership contributions.
The project aims to engage 300 volunteers to restore 2.5 acres of wetlands on the Blue Heron property in Buckhead. Volunteers will focus on removing invasive plant species and planting native ones. Additionally, a Discovery Dock will be constructed to support education efforts and facilitate research. Blue Heron plans to utilize the Discovery Dock during their public programs and children’s camps.
“We are thrilled to be working with our long-time partner, Blue Heron Nature Preserve, on their Blueway Trail Initiative. With the population of Atlanta growing more each day, it's more important than ever that we endeavor to make our city more accessible and connected while preserving its beautiful natural habitats and green space. We’re excited to join in on this project by kicking things off during our annual MLK Day of Service,” says Elaine Hudson, Associate Director of Nonprofit Services at Hands On Atlanta.
The NFWF grant was supported with funds from Southern Company, Georgia Power and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and was selected from a competitive pool of 250 applications nationwide. This grant will be matched by Blue Heron, the Atlanta Audubon Society, the Amphibian Foundation, the Department of Watershed Management, Hands On Atlanta, Marcy Scott, a local ichthyologist, and Beech Hollow Farms. Over $70,000 will be allocated towards urban wetland restoration.
“This is a unique opportunity to not only restore a critical and disappearing habitat in an urban environment, but also to engage the community to allow them to discover for themselves why efforts like these are so important,” says Brooke Vacovsky, project and operations manager at Blue Heron.