From blue to green: the Blue Heron nature reserve celebrates its 20th anniversary with milestones

Blue Heron Nature Reserve staff, volunteers and supporters gather at the Old Dam to celebrate the nature reserve’s 20th anniversary. Front row, left to right: Jackson Tilgner, Ellen Wickersham. and Melody Harclerode. Bak row, from left to right: Khadijah Tilgner, Norris Broyles III, Betsy Lane, Kevin McCauley, Blakely Doyle, Scarlett Wills and Courson Doyle. (Photos by Asep Mawardi)

Blue Heron Nature Preserve has a lot to celebrate in April. Not only will the North Buckhead Environmental Center celebrate its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, but also the arrival of a new CEO and the opening of the first phase of a new trail through the park.

The Roswell Road Environmental Center installed two new bridges connecting 30 acres of green space to a three-mile walking trail known as the Blueway Trail. The project lasted three years and Blue Heron raised over $ 750,000 for the construction and improvement of the trails.

“Visitors can now seamlessly navigate to all three Blue Heron properties. This is an important step as we continue to grow and evolve, ”said outgoing Executive Director Kevin McCauley. “Plans for phase two include linking the Blue Heron trails to Chastain Park and nearby PATH400.”

A festival scheduled to introduce the new trail system to the public during the annual Earth Day celebration has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak, but will be postponed until later this year.

The nature center also celebrates the arrival of award-winning architect and environmentalist Melody Harclerode as the new CEO. Harclerode’s credentials include stints as director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy and program coordinator at Arabia Mountain.

“We are delighted to welcome Melody to Blue Heron,” said McCauley. “She has a passion for the natural world and brings a wealth of experience to expand the opportunities for us to bring an understanding and appreciation for this special place.”

“Blue Heron Nature Preserve has inspired children and adults about nature through the arts, education, conservation, research and innovative projects for twenty years,” said Harclerode. “Building on the accomplishments of Kevin McCauley, I am honored to work with staff, board members and volunteers, as the new Executive Director, to build impact, support and leadership. appreciation of this incredible green space in Atlanta. “

Blue Heron Nature Preserve shares its facilities at 4055 Roswell Road with the Atlanta Audubon Society and the Amphibian Foundation, making the reserve a unique environmental asset in the Metro Atlanta area.

“We are 20 years old; I want to point it out! Harcelrode proclaimed. “As a city park in Atlanta, Blue Heron was nurtured and developed with the support of the community. “

Blue Heron’s unique focus on education means that thousands of students have benefited from the park’s programs, excursions and summer camps. There is also a strong connection to the art community with five murals and an ongoing fine arts initiative. “I say the park is ‘recreational’,” Harclerode said.

Harclerode said his training as an architect gave him a unique perspective on how people use indoor and outdoor space. “As an architect, I work collaboratively to create spaces that inspire, inform and educate. It’s placement. I take this idea of ​​creating places and moving outdoors to create a space that inspires.

To learn more about the Blue Heron Nature Reserve, visit

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