Recycling is a standard operating procedure at the Atlanta History Center. Bottles and cans dispensed during events, from meetings to weddings, are recycled, as are plastic cups (themselves recycled from corn). Office supplies such as copier paper, envelopes, poster board, newspapers, and magazines are as recycled well. Our Goizueta Gardens staff is launching a composting program where produce scraps from the Souper Jenny café will be blended with shredded leaves from the Atlanta History Center’s grounds as well as farm animal bedding materials. The compost will be amended to fields and soil for new plantings across the 33-acre campus.
Goizueta Gardens’ composting program makes the most of our site’s organic waste streams. Gardens staff members collect produce scraps from our campus café, Souper Jenny, and grounds from BRASH Coffee, blending them with shredded leaves from our gardens and bedding from our farm animals. This dynamic brew breaks down into a rich amendment perfect for working into farm fields and new plantings all over our campus.
Integrated Pest Management.
Within the Goizueta Gardens, we focus on pest prevention by building healthy soils and cultivating plants that are well-suited to our environment. Our staff inspects our collections daily for signs of pests and disease, monitoring existing problem areas and constantly reassessing the best intervention strategies. We use physical controls wherever possible, reserving judicious use of chemical controls as a last resort.
IPM helps us keep our plants healthy while maintaining a healthy environment, all while reducing expenses. As members of the Sentinel Plant Network, our staff members are trained in early detection of high consequence plant pests and diseases. To learn more about scouting and reporting high-consequence pests, check out the First Detector program of the National Plant Diagnostic Network.
Having a green footprint is a priority for the Atlanta History Center. In recent years, the Atlanta History Center made great strides towards improving the energy efficiency of our buildings and reducing water consumption. Improvements to heating, ventilation, lighting, air conditioning and more have resulted in an annual energy reduction of nearly a quarter, with the Atlanta History Center directing saved dollars into exhibitions, school programs, initiatives and events central to our core mission.
Reducing water consumption has also been a key goal. High-efficiency touchless plumbing fixtures have helped us reduce water use and improve the cleanliness of our facilities.
Most recently, the Atlanta History Center was awarded a grant from the Southface Institute’s GoodUse initiative to upgrade air conditioning controls in our principal museum building. This project, when completed, will not only enable the History Center to achieve additional savings on its energy bill, but will also help to better provide ideal temperature and humidity levels for the objects in its collections. The Atlanta History Center’s energy and water-saving efforts date to 2012, and were recognized with an Atlanta Better Buildings Challenge MVP award in 2017.
Sustainable New Construction.
Much work went into ensuring that the Lloyd and Mary Ann Whitaker Cyclorama Building is a suitable showcase for the 130-year-old The Battle of Atlanta painting, one of the city’s most treasured historic artifacts, and the newest major construction project at the Atlanta History Center. Located at the corner of West Paces Ferry Road and Slaton Drive in Buckhead, the building has been outfitted with energy-efficient HVAC equipment, LED lighting, and recycled materials. More than 1,000 tons of recycled concrete milled into crushed stone were used to enable the Atlanta History Center to create a below-grade drain around the entire rotunda housing The Battle of Atlanta painting. As part of the project, the Atlanta History Center added drainage/retention pits and bioswales (a drainage course with gentle sloped and vegetation-filled sides) at the nearby Smith Farm to help capture and filter runoff. Also, a 5,000-gallon cistern near the front of the Atlanta History Museum was added as part of Cyclorama construction, allowing, for the first time, the use of runoff storm water for irrigation.
Our thirty-three acres of gardens and woodland provide an abundance of habitat for pollinators, and tens of thousands of flowering plants that bloom throughout the year, with an emphasis on Georgia’s native plants. We are very strict in our use of pesticides, in accordance with our IPM strategy. Some of the best butterfly and other pollinator viewing sites are the wildflower meadow adjacent to the Wood Cabin in Swan Woods in summer and early fall. It is planted with Georgia Piedmont natives that include monarch larval host plants and favorite flowers to support our four honey bee hives. Another thriving pollinator site is the Entrance Gardens, with plants specifically selected to support native pollinators with an abundance of pollen, nectar, hollow stems for overwintering, and other habitat management practices.
The Goizueta Gardens are an oasis in the city for Atlanta’s wild fauna. We are registered as a Wildlife Sanctuary by the Georgia Audubon Society and host their bird walks several times a year. So far we have counted over 60 different species of birds. In addition to numerous pollinating insects, we are now surveying the variety of amphibians and reptiles here including salamanders, lizards, turtles, toads and frogs and work with our partners at the Amphibian Foundation to increase populations of vulnerable species. Occasionally we are visited by deer, rabbits, foxes, coyotes, raccoons and other mammals, and have installed wildlife cameras in a few locations, particularly to spot any coyotes, in collaboration with the Atlanta Coyote Project.
For the sake of our wildlife, our gardens, and the welfare of our visitors, we request that no dogs be brought onto the campus, with the exception of service animals on a leash.
Here are five of our best green practices with some tips on how you can do them at home.
As a community-based organization with a dedication to connecting people, history, and culture, Atlanta History Center is committed to showing up and serving the city of Atlanta with the resources we have available.
Buildings & Grounds
Explore highlights of Southeastern horticultural history by taking in 33 acres of enchanting gardens, woodlands, and trails.