A view from one of the Freedom Park trails

A view from one of the Freedom Park trails. Credit: Clinton Steeds

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis Linnaeus), one of the species being planted in this project.

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis Linnaeus), one of the species being planted in this project. Credit: The Dow Gardens Archive, Dow Gardens, Bugwood.org

Atlanta, Ga.

Key Activities:

  • Planting 3,000 trees
  • Enhancing outdoor recreation space
  • Improving wildlife habitat

Project Description:
Alcoa Foundation and American Forests are partnering with Trees Atlanta to plant understory trees at Atlanta’s Freedom Park, a popular recreation area visited by hundreds of thousands of residents each year, and Beecher Hampton Nature Preserve, a culturally significant site that also contains hiking trails and community spaces.

Why This Project:
When Atlanta’s Freedom Parkway was completed in 1996, it left behind 200 acres of open space, which was promptly made a public park. The new Freedom Park has become a popular destination for Atlantans, in part due to its many multi-use trails and its adjacency to many historic neighborhoods and landmarks. However, the construction of the freeway and neglect also left behind fragmented forest, allowing invasive species to take hold.

This project augments more than a decade of work by Trees Atlanta by helping remove invasive species in Freedom Park and planting understory trees to complement the overstory trees already in place. These new trees are increasing the canopy diversity and overall strength and health of the urban forest, which is greatly needed as Atlanta has experienced severe tree loss in the last few decades (For more information on Atlanta’s urban forest, read our Atlanta Urban Forests Case Study.)

Why Beecher Hampton Nature Preserve:
With Trees Atlanta’s work removing invasive species from the preserve over the last five years and the recent completion of the Southwest Connector Trail, the time is ripe for tree planting at Beecher Hampton. By planting trees along the new trail, this project is minimizing the space to which the invasive species can return, while also stabilizing the soil and protecting the riparian area — North Utoy Creek — that runs adjacent to the trail.

Interested in the other Georgia reforestation projects in which we’ve been involved? Check out our Georgia Global ReLeaf projects.