This past year brought significant change to our park with the addition of our public restrooms, screened-in porch, deck, outdoor classrooms, Native American teepee and renovated cabin space. These additions were completed to rave reviews and proudly serve as distinctive features in an ongoing restoration of our meadow gathering area. All of these enhancements are part of a larger strategic plan to position the Nature Center as our city’s “Central Park.” These improvements further allow us to better serve as a meeting place for scouts, civic, student and volunteer organizations, as well as the more than 25,000 individuals who visit our park each year to reconnect with nature.
As we promised you last year, “Our plans for 2014 are even more ambitious and include expanded lecture space and decking, an ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible front entry and much needed public restrooms... With your help, we can inaugurate new program offerings that bottle the joy and wonder of learning and continue to serve our community.” So how did we do as the stewards of your trust to improve our programs and reach an even broader cross section of participants?
With your support, we expanded the quality and diversity of our programs to match the stature of our wonderful facilities. Classes and events for adults ranging from photography and mushroom cultivation to yoga and a two-week run of Beaulah Creek (a site specific theater production created just for our park) allowed us to partner with like-minded organizations and individuals to greatly increase our social offerings throughout the year.
We are most proud of your support for our free community family programs such as our Friday Night Hikes, the Great Backyard Bird Count, and the Night-under- the-Stars astronomy program. All told, these events taught more than 700 participants about their place in the larger world. Together we successfully raised more than $12,000 for underserved schools so that young learners, regardless of background or income level, will benefit from the lessons Nature offers here in Dunwoody Park.
Your involvement and support in 2014 made these accomplishments a reality and for that we thank you.
Looking forward, construction is scheduled to being December 1, 2014 to renovate our front entry and make it ADA accessible. Our current playground is unsafe and decades old, so we’re adding an up-to-date, natural playground to replace it. And our 2015 program calendar is brimming with youth, scout, adult, volunteer and family programming each week January through December.
Our accomplishments are your accomplishments; and we ask you to continue to be a part of our positive momentum. As we plan for 2015 and beyond, we invite you to embrace our vision of serving as the “Soul of the Community.” Together we will guarantee that we all have a communal place to gather, learn important lessons, and be inspired by a green preserve whose lush grounds are a place of respite and an enclave of cultural activity.
Your gift supports the exceptional environmental programming and community building for which the Nature Center is known and will be recognized by the Nature Center on our website and prominently displayed in our education building. More importantly, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that your contribution ensures that we continue to flourish for the daily benefit of each visitor, dog walker, plant lover, creek explorer, neighbor, music lover, naturalist, friend or member who delights in their own special niche that makes the Nature Center home to all of us.