Smith-Gilbert Gardens seeks volunteers for docent training

Smith-Gilbert Gardens docent training

Submitted information and photo:

Smith-Gilbert Gardens seeks volunteers to join their Docent Training class of 2020, which begins in late January. Docents are the outgoing volunteers who lead interactive tours of the gardens for all types of groups and casual garden visitors. Beyond leading tours, docents also help with environmental education programs like Garden Stories, Butterfly Ambassadors, Scout programs, guided bird walks and more. Docents are the key link between Smith-Gilbert Gardens’ mission to be a resource for education, the physical collections at the gardens, and garden visitors.

No prior gardening experience is required – trainees will learn all they need to know. This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone who enjoys learning and teaching others. Due to the garden’s hours and popular tour booking times, some weekday morning availability is required.

Training begins Monday, January 27 from 9:30 to noon, at Smith-Gilbert Gardens, 2382 Pine Mountain Road, Kennesaw; and continues on each following Monday through March 2. Trainees will learn the history of the Hiram Butler House and surrounding property, the plant and sculpture collections at the gardens, and everything else they need to know to lead a fun, informative tour at Smith-Gilbert Gardens. Upon completion of training, new docents can start leading tours right away!

Anyone interested in joining the Docent Training class of 2020 should submit their New Volunteer Application online at https://smithgilbertgardens.com/support-us/volunteer/ , and will be required to submit to a background check and drug screen. For further information, please contact Kathy Post at (770) 919-0248, or email [email protected]

Smith-Gilbert Gardens houses more than 4,000 species of plants on 17 acres in Kennesaw, GA. United by woodland paths, the gardens consist of separate groupings with individual elements of fascination. These include the Bonsai Exhibit, Paladino Camellia Garden, Crevice Garden, Rose Garden, and American Conifer Society Reference Garden. 

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

East Cobb Christmas Tree dropoff locations; pickup services

tree recycling, Bring One for the Chipper, Keep Cobb Beautiful

Keep Cobb Beautiful’s annual Bring One for the Chipper Christmas Tree recycling program starts Christmas Day and ends next Saturday, Jan. 4.

Starting Christmas Day and continuing through Jan. 4, you can drop off trees at the Home Depot stores at Providence Square (4101 Roswell Road) and Highland Plaza (3605 Sandy Plains Road).

On Saturday, Jan. 4, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the following county parks in East Cobb will serve as drop-off locations:

  • Fullers Park (3499 Robinson Road)
  • Sewell Park (2055 Lower Roswell Road)
  • Noonday Park (489 Hawkins Store Road)

When you bring a tree you’ll get a free sapling, as long as supplies last.

No flocked trees will be accepted, and all trees must have decorations, mesh, lights, stands, strings and other items removed.

Free mulch also is available; for more information, call 770-528-1135 or visit keepcobbbeautiful.org.

An East Cobb boy scout troop is collecting trees this Saturday, Jan. 28, and next Saturday, Jan. 4, as a fundraising project.

It’s Troop 565, which meets at Eastminster Presbyterian Church, and they’ll be making curbside pickups those days starting at 8 a.m. within the Walton, Wheeler, Pope, Lassiter and Sprayberry attendance zones.

The cost for the retrieval is $25 a tree, and they’re asking that you sign up here for the service. The donations are tax-deductible and the proceeds go toward troop programs.

Related content

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

Sterigenics CEO to brief Cobb commissioners after town hall

Bob Ott, Sterigenics
Cobb commissioner Bob Ott

After a heated town hall meeting last week at the Cobb Civic Center over toxic emissions coming from a Smyrna medical sterilization plant, the CEO of that company will address Cobb commissioners at a work session Monday.

It’s the first item on the work session agenda, which includes a presentation of the 2018 Cobb government pension report, an update on the Cobb 2050 Comprehensive Transportation Plan and updates of the 2005, 2011 and 2016 SPLOST (Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax) programs from PARKS, Transportation, Facilities, Public Safety, Public Services and Information Technology.

(You can read through the agenda items here.)

The work session begins at 1:30 p.m. Monday in the second floor board room of the Cobb government building, 100 Cherokee St., in downtown Marietta.

According to the agenda summary, the commissioners “will receive presentations from Mr. Philip McNabb, CEO Sterigenics, Lauren Curry, [Georgia] EPD Deputy Director and Karen Hays, Chief, Air Protection Branch regarding the Smyrna Sterigenic Plant, their operational processes and their plan moving forward.”

More than 1,000 people turned out for the town hall in the wake of a report by Georgia Health News and WebMD that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency didn’t notify the state of three ethylene oxide hotspots it detected with higher cancer risks in Georgia for more than a year.

One of those hotspots is the Smyrna plant off Atlanta Road. Ethylene oxide is an invisible, odorless toxin that’s used to sterilize around half of all medical products that require it. It’s also been linked to higher cancer rates in areas near facilities that emanate the gas.

In 2016 the EPA upgraded the designation of ethylene oxide to a carcinogen.

In his weekly newsletter released Friday, District 2 Cobb commissioner Bob Ott wrote the following:

I want to emphasize here that there is much that we all now know, but there is also much that we don’t know yet. For example, until the air quality testing being done by Cobb, Smyrna and the City of Atlanta is complete, we do not know what levels of ethylene oxide from the plant are in our air. The testing is also going to give us the ambient amount of ethylene oxide in our air. Studies have shown that in most areas of the country there is some amount of ethylene oxide in the air. The testing sanctioned by the county and the cities will give us that information. The results should be known in about a month.
    
In talking with many of you I know that you are concerned about the health and safety of you and your families. I share your concerns and want you to know that the county is doing all it can to get factual data to determine the path forward.

Until we gather more information, I ask you to not make any rash decisions about moving or closing your business. The commissioners will have in short order factual data about the amount of ethylene oxide in our air and the health ramifications.

Ott mentioned the Monday work session, and included the following links for more information:

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

Ott to hold town hall meeting on Sterigenics lab emissions

Sterigenics town hall meeting

This isn’t specific to East Cobb, but there’s been a lot of interest since the news first broke: the toxic emissions coming from a medical device sterilization lab in Smyrna have prompted Cobb commissioner Bob Ott to hold a town hall meeting on the subject later this month.

It’s scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 19 at the Cobb Civic Center (548 S. Marietta Parkway), which ought to be big enough to accommodate many of those who couldn’t get into a previous public meeting last week held by legislators from the area.

Since then, Cobb public officials have called for the Sterigenics Atlanta lab to be shut down pending independent testing. Late Friday, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division approved a plan to reduce those emissions.

The substance is called ethylene oxide, an invisible, odorless toxin that’s used to sterilize around half of all medical products that require it. It’s also been linked to higher cancer rates in areas near facilities that emanate the gas.

But according to Georgia Health News and WebMD, which initially reported about the Sterigenics case, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency didn’t notify the state of three ethylene oxide hotspots it detected with higher cancer risks in Georgia for more than a year.

The Smyrna area near the Sterigenics lab is one of those hotspots (essentially they’re census tracts). Some nearby residents also have been protesting at the Sterigenics lab.

Ott said at what he’s calling his “community meeting” that federal EPA officials and others from the Georgia EPD and the Centers for Disease Control will be on hand.

He’s expected to introduce an agenda item at the commission’s Aug. 13 meeting but hasn’t specified what that might be.

More links about the Sterigenics case can be found here.

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

Hyde Farm tour includes class for the basics of garden cooking

Hyde Farm

Next Saturday, July 13, is the second tour in a series of four at East Cobb’s Hyde Farm that includes a cooking class.

The 1840s-era homestead is at 721 Hyde Farm, located off Lower Roswell Road, and on the second Saturday of every month is open for 45-minute tours that are free and open to the public.

The 135-acre Hyde Farm, located near the Chattahoochee River, is also close to forests, agricultural fields, pastures, an orchard, meadows, a home and farm outbuilding sites.

Those tours begin at 10 am. and noon, and registration is required by visiting the Cobb PARKS website or by calling 770-528-8840.

In between the tours, Cobb PARKS, the UGA Cobb Extension service and the American Community Gardening Association will be conducting a class, “From Seed to Table: Cooking With Superfoods.”

It covers the basics of growing and cooking food from a garden. That class also is free and spots may be reserved by calling 770-528-4070.

More Hyde Farm tours and cooking classes are scheduled for Sept. 21 and Nov. 9.

Hyde Farm’s pond (above), built on Mulberry Creek, is the habitat for geese, ducks, herons, turtles, beaver and fish.

On Aug. 17, Cobb PARKS will hold another fishing rodeo at Hyde Farm that’s aimed for kids 3-16. Trophies will be awarded for the biggest fish (see calendar listing here).

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

‘Backyard Birds’ discussed at Wright Center open garden event

Wright Center open garden

Submitted information and photo from the Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County, which is holding its next Open Garden event next Thursday, May 16, at the Wright Environmental Education Center in East Cobb:

Joe Ranney of Wild Birds Unlimited will speak at 9:30 and 10:30 on Backyard Birds, including songbirds, migratory birds, owls, and raptors (hawks, vultures). He will bring nest boxes, feeders, seeds, etc. Make plans to attend the talks and to walk the trails of this beautiful urban forest.

The Wright Center is located at 2661 Johnson Ferry Road; parking is in the adjacent Chestnut Ridge Christian Church, accessible via Post Oak Tritt Road.

Related story

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

Mabry Park opening the culmination of ‘imagine a place’ dreams

Mabry Park opening

Thirteen years after the idea of a passive park in Northeast Cobb first came about, Thursday’s Mabry Park opening astonished even those who most avidly worked to make that dream come true.

The Friends of Mabry Park, a group of citizens pushing for a park, have long called their campaign “Imagine a Place.”

Many of them, along with members of the Mabry family, turned out for the ribbon-cutting and opening festivities, and some were blown away by what they saw.

“Wow. Just wow,” said Cobb commissioner JoAnn Birrell, who has shepherded the Mabry Park idea from the start, and it was one with many stops and starts.

“It was my baby,” she said, her voice breaking a little, “and I’m proud of it today.

“The brilliant tagline, ‘Imagine a Place.’ Here we are. I never it imagined it would look this wonderful, but it is. . . . . I’ve never seen a more beautiful park than Mabry.”

The 26 acres of former Mabry farm land on Wesley Chapel Road, near Sandy Plains Road, still has a rural feel.

The long road leading from Wesley Chapel to the new county park is lined with wooden fencing, as horses graze nearby.

A pond in the middle of the park glistens, with the late-afternoon sun rendering the surface mirror-like.

Kids shout and chatter from swings and the playground. Dogs bark, geese honk and frogs croak.

“Hearing the geese on one side, and the kids on the other, there’s no better serenade to open a park,” said Cobb Commissioner Bob Ott, whose District 2 includes Mabry Park.

Mabry Park Opening

Peter Hortman, the current president of the Friends of Mabry Park, also got choked up talking about what for him has been a 10-year journey to this day.

“We couldn’t have gotten here without the community,” he said, rattling off names of other park advocates and asking for a show of hands from those in the Mabry family (about 20 hands went up).

“To the Mabry family,” Hortman said, “what a legacy.”

Hania Whitfield, a former Friends of Mabry Park board member and a resident of nearby Loch Highland, has regularly visited East Cobb Park and Laurel Park in Marietta. She said when she first moved to the county, she heard from neighbors that there were plenty of parks in Cobb, “but most of them had ballfields.”

Mabry Park, she said, “is more than I ever expected.”

Passive parks have been in greater demand in recent years from citizens, Cobb parks and recreation director Jimmy Gisi noted.

He said when the parks department was formed in the 1960s there was a “tremendous” need for athletic fields, to accommodate the growing legions of youth sports leagues.

“The new emphasis that we’ve heard of loud and clear from across the county is a want and a need for more passive parks.”

The county has conducted public input meetings for parks the last two years, and Gisi said “the one resonating message” is that “people are wanting more trails, more passive parkland.”

Of the six recent green space purchases by the county with proceeds from the 2008 Cobb parks bond, all of them—including 18 acres on Ebenezer Road—will have trails and passive green space as part of their master plans that are in development.

“All these amenities you will have right here, in your own backyard, at Mabry Park,” he said.

Mabry Park Opening

Mabry Park goes beyond that, in keeping with the farm history of the land. In 2004, the state designated Mabry Farm as a “centennial farm,” meaning it had been a working farm for more than 100 years.

Across the road on Wesley Chapel, a new subdivision is going up on another portion of the Mabry Farm, and the 1915 homestead was razed in early 2018 to make way.

To preserve the farm feel of the park, and to protect its natural surroundings, the county has installed modern technologies.

“You will find that the ecofeatures and attention to nature in this park will second to none,” said Cobb County Manager Rob Hosack, noting that Mabry has only a small amount of impervious surfacing at the parking lot. A retention pond was located near the lake to handle stormwater runoff.

Mabry Park cost $2.85 million to build. The county bought the future park land for $4.3 million in 2008, but the recession put a halt to any further construction plans. A master plan was completed in 2011, and final approval was delayed in late 2017 due to issues over funding.

The park construction was paid for with 2016 SPLOST money, but operating costs (around $105,000 a year) come from the county’s general fund.

Like East Cobb Park, the future building out of Mabry Park will come about based on community desires, including treehouses, another bridge over the lake and holding events there.

“The Friends of Mabry Park doesn’t end today,” Hortman said. “It has a life long beyond today. There’s a lot left to be done.”

For now, there’s plenty to enjoy, and savor: a playground, community garden and picnic pavilion, as well as 1.2 miles of trails.

“I can’t wait to come back here this weekend and walk every bit of it,” Whitfield said. “They’ve not only made this park functional, they’ve made it picturesque.”

Mabry Park Opening

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

Public comment sought for proposed Hyde Farm Corridor Trail

Hyde Farm
The pond at Hyde Farm, located off Lower Roswell Road near the Chattahoochee River. (ECN File)

Thanks to Morning Washburn, who lives near Hyde Farm, for letting us know that the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area is seeking public input on a proposed trail connecting Hyde Farm in East Cobb with the park’s Johnson Ferry North Unit.

The proposal would be a two-mile trail for pedestrians and bike riding, and the planning is in the very early stages: “This trail connection would close a gap to the very popular Silver Comet trail from existing trails,” according to an environmental assessment newsletter sent out by the National Park Service (click here to read).

The project isn’t connected to a Cobb DOT Greenways and Trails Master Plan approved by Cobb commissioners last year that calls for a similar trail, 3.3 miles in length, and at an estimated cost between $4.3 million and $4.7 million.

None of that has been funded and the funding sources and amount for the Chattahoochee NRA proposal are to be determined.

There’s also not an estimated timetable for when the trail might be completed.

Cobb County owns Hyde Farm, which dates back to the 1830s, and the edge of its 95 acres along the Chattahoochee is just a couple miles from the Chattahoochee NRA Gold Branch Unit, which has 2.6 acres of trails accessible via Lower Roswell Road.

The National Park Service is considering alternative proposals for the trail routes (see map below, and click on to newsletter link for bigger map and more details). To offer your feedback, click this link.

The deadline on the document says the deadline for comment is May 2 but that has been extended to May 9.

Hyde Farm Corridor Trail

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

Keep Cobb Beautiful spring recycling event set for last Saturday in April

Submitted information:Keep Cobb Beautiful spring recycling

Just in time for spring cleaning this year, we will take your stuff at this year’s Community Recycling Event, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, April 27. It will be at Jim R. Miller Park, 2245 Callaway Road in Marietta. This free biannual event is your opportunity to help our community.

Download flyer here: https://www.cobbcounty.org/keep-cobb-beautiful/news/2019-spring-community-recycling-event

Hefty® EnergyBag® Plastics Program

All items must be clean and dry. Accepting plastic shopping bags (any size), plastic straws, coffee stirrers, plastic bottle caps, foam egg cartons, foam peanuts, foam cups, foam plates, foam meat trays, plastic cutlery, bubble wrap, food storage bags, plastic dairy tubs & lids (such as yogurt, butter, cottage cheese containers), plastic food wrap, empty deodorant sticks, empty lotion bottles, plastic pet food/treat bags, and fruit/vegetable salad bags. No wax-coated containers.

On-site Paper Shredding

Please remove paper clips. Protect against identity theft by having your paperwork shredded by a locally-owned, licensed and bonded company.  Medical bills, statements, letters, checks, etc. is acceptable. No file folders, glossy paper, magazines, periodicals, newspaper, CDs, DVDs, binders, or books will be accepted.

Electronics (if it has a cord it is acceptable)

Computers (we recommend you remove the hard drive or have it wiped out), cell phones, VCRs, alarm clocks, treadmills, etc. There is a $10 cash-only fee for each CRT television or CRT monitor.

Household Textiles

Gently used shoes, sneakers (tennis shoes), purses, clothing, decorative pillows, blankets, towels, sheets, functional car and booster seats with liners and restraints intact, etc. No flip flops, rugs, carpeting, mattresses, or bed pillows.

Household Appliances

Stoves, microwaves, ovens, washer, dryers, water heaters, refrigerators, grills, toasters, blenders, etc.

Lawn/Outdoor Equipment

Lawn mowers, chainsaws, etc. Fuel must be removed and the tank must be dry.

Metals

Steel, aluminum, cast iron, etc.

Polystyrene

Clean items only. No size restriction. If you have “packing peanuts” bring those in a separate bag for the Hefty® EnergyBag® Plastics Program.

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

East Cobb’s Wright Environmental Education Center certified as wildlife sanctuary

Wright Center wildlife sanctuary

The Jean and Elwood Wright Environmental Education Center in East Cobb has become the first public space in Cobb County designated a certified wildlife sanctuary by the Atlanta Audobon Society.

The Wright Center includes 19 acres of protected land on the corner of Johnson Ferry Road and Post Oak Tritt Road, and serves as a resource facility with nearly two miles of walking trails and environmental education classes for school, scouts and other groups.

The land was once part of the Wrights’ farm, dating back to the 1940s. Before suburban development encroached in East Cobb, they designated it to be preserved in its natural state, featuring azaleas and plants attractive to birds and other wildlife.

After the Wrights died the county assumed ownership of the acreage. Classes are conducted in what was once the family home.

The Master Gardener Volunteers of Cobb County is actively involved in continuing environmental restoration work at the site, including cultivation of plant varieties native to Georgia.

While the Wright Center isn’t open for daily use by the public, school groups wishing to bring students should contact Kevin Kevin Hill with Cobb County Parks at [email protected].

Adult groups should get in touch the Master Gardener Project Coordinator, Judy Beard at [email protected]

The Wright Center is located at 2661 Johnson Ferry Road, next to Chestnut Ridge Christian Church.

More background information about the Wright Center wildlife sanctuary designation can be found in the video below of Thursday’s presentation.

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

Hyde Farm Tours take place the 2nd Saturday of each month

Hyde Farm tours

The Cobb Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department conducts tours at Hyde Farm (726 Hyde Road, off Lower Roswell Road) the second Saturday of each month that are free to the public.

The next tours take place on April 13, and here are the details:

Take a leisurely walk through history and explore a local property that has been farmed since 1840 during tours of Hyde Farm. There are two 45 minute tours between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon. To register, visit cobbparks.org or call 770-528-8840.

The 135-acre Hyde Farm contains cultural resources, natural features such as the Chattahoochee River and forests and manmade features such as agricultural fields, pastures, an orchard, meadows, a home and farm outbuilding sites. Guests can also enjoy the pond built on Mulberry Creek, with geese, ducks, herons, turtles, beaver and fish.

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

Chattahoochee NRA services gradually restarting after shutdown

The Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area was affected by the recent U.S. government shutdown, and is almost back at full strength in terms of staffing and services.

The park issued a message Tuesday saying that the Island Ford Visitor Center in Fulton County has reopened, and that some automated machines in the park are being reactivated:Ford Island Visitor Center, Chattahoochee NRA

“It’s great to be open and we’re looking forward to greeting our visitors. Most importantly we want to give a big thanks to all our VIPs (Volunteers In Parks) and visitors that helped keep the park clean during the recent shutdown. That last bit of good news is that all of the restrooms have been reopened.”

The one exception: The restroom facility at the Cochran Shoals Unit Interstate North entrance is closed for unrelated reasons. Water line repairs are being made by Cobb County, but nearby portable toilets are available.

 

Get Our Free E-Mail Newsletter!

Every Sunday we round up the week’s top headlines and preview the upcoming week in the East Cobb News Digest. Click here to sign up, and you’re good to go!

%d bloggers like this: