Blue Heron Nature Preserve provides oasis for flora and fauna.

A blue heron and a turtle enjoy a sunny day at Blue Heron Nature Preserve in the heart of Buckhead.

A blue heron and a turtle enjoy a sunny day at Blue Heron Nature Preserve in the heart of Buckhead.

“Fourteen years ago if you had told me that one day I would become executive director of the Blue Heron Nature Preserve, I would have been very surprised,” says Buckhead resident and preserve founder Nancy Jones. “My commitment began when a local green space in our North Buckhead community was bought by developers. The community banded together to save seven acres and those seven acres started the preserve.”

Over the years, the preserve, located on Roswell Road and bordered by Sarah Smith Elementary School and Rickenbacker Drive, has grown to 30 acres and is a City of Atlanta park. A recent acquisition added a four-acre corridor that helps create a contiguous green space in Buckhead’s busy business district. It is home to a variety of wildlife, including red foxes, coyotes, opossums, raccoons, birds and snakes; native plants and trees; and three creeks. The community garden with 32 plots (and a waiting list) is part of Park Pride’s network of community gardens. A blue heron totem pole and monthly temporary art “surprises,” created by Artist in Residence Sally Eppstein, add to the ambiance. She also painted the hawk feather that graces the front door of the learning center and gallery.

“Board members are committed to doing things right,” says long-time volunteer Lisa Frank. “No harmful chemicals are used and the emphasis is on keeping the area natural for wildlife.”

For more information, visit bhnp.org