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Connections to Thrive in Nature

A letter from Blue Heron Nature Preserve’s Executive Director

Article by Melody Harclerode

Photography by Blue Heron Nature Preserv

Originally published in BuckHaven Lifestyle

Imagine leaving your office and strolling outdoors into bliss. As Blue Heron Nature Preserve (BHNP)’s Executive Director, I get to experience this when walking out of my office into 30 acres of picturesque greenspace. Our nonprofit organization works diligently to connect children and adults with this Idyllic setting through innovative conservation, arts, and educational initiatives.

With warmer temperatures, BHNP’s foliage blossoms with beauty, color, and activity. Winter's earthy grey and tan colors transform into vibrant green hues in April. You'll find small trees, such as Horse Sugar and Paw Paw, gracing our three-mile Blueway Trail. Wildlife reemerges in each of our ecosystems; Birds, bees, and butterflies perch on plants and trees; and fish and amphibians glide through waterways.

In 2000, BHNP was founded by a local art educator, who volunteered countless hours to conserve precious land In Buckhead from commercial development.  Volunteers remain an integral part of our present by sprucing scenic greenways and the banks along Mill Creek and Nancy Creek. We welcome friendly hands to keep our fragile environment a serene sanctuary for people, animals, and plants to thrive.

Four ecosystems — woodland, meadow, wetland and riparian — present a one-of-a-kind outdoor setting for the public to enjoy our free, six-week Art of Nature exhibit, in which contemporary projects by emerging and established artists accentuate our Blueway Trail. This year's theme, Into the Wild, calls for selected artists to address these bewildering times through their artistic creations. Art of Nature runs along the Trail starting April 24th.

Nature also inspires our Blue Heron educators in spring as they plan the return of Summer Day Camps. After months of in-home learning, children will especially appreciate our Reggio Emilia approach to outdoor educational play that excites and informs their senses. In turn, parents will appreciate the thoughtful safety procedures our educators are bringing to these outdoor classrooms. Here, painted turtles, deer, and Belted Kingfisher birds can be spotted as well as Great Blue Heron birds, our namesake. Registration for Summer Day Camps Is open now at: https://bhnp.org/summer-camps

Blue Heron embraces our role as an innovator to creatively engage children, teens, and adults about nature. We follow COVID-19 guidelines and our #SpreadYourWings social distancing campaign encourages health and safety. Our duty of care ensures safe arrival and return. Come to Blue Heron in April and throughout the year to revel in the sights and sounds of nature and to strengthen your physical and mental health. You will discover a special place that embodies bliss, ignites our mission, and boldly encourages exploration and discovery. I hope to see you soon as I happily walk our trails.

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