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Restoring an Ecosystem

Fernbank Museum, was founded in 1939 to preserve and protect Fernbank Forest, making it one of the oldest environmental conservation not-for-profit in the United States. The conservation of Fernbank Forest remains a vital part of Fernbank Museum's mission today.

Current Restoration Work

The restoration of Fernbank Forest is a forever, ongoing project that also includes educational programming and research within the forest. Fernbank Museum's comprehensive restoration program includes the completion of several important benchmarks:

  • Finalized a thorough ecological assessment
  • Documented existing plant and animal species (both native and invasive)
  • Developed a Forest Stewardship Plan
  • Developed a campus Master Plan, which includes creating successional habitats that support the forest
  • Met with dozens of scientific stakeholders, including world-renowned urban forest restoration ecologist, Dr. Steven Handel
  • Partnered with Atlanta Audubon Society for Forest Bird Walks
  • Partnered with the Atlanta Botanical Garden to contribute research toward the Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program
  • Trained over 100 restoration volunteers, who have helped to carefully remove significant areas of non-native species    
  • Enlisted professional forest restoration teams, including the Deep Forest Field School and Trees Atlanta, to carefully remove invasive species and restore biodiversity
  • Developed research methods to test new practices for eradicating Liriope (monkey grass)
  • Nonnative, invasive plant removal on approximately 50 acres on Fernbank property
  • Located and documented native plant populations, which are the next generation of understory species, that were previously not visible due to the blanket of nonnative invasive species
  • Expanded public education and outreach to increase support for forest restoration and promote stewardship

Special Volunteer Opportunity 

Learn about current and future ecological restoration efforts on Fernbank's campus and help eradicate non-native invasive species as a Forest Restoration Volunteer. In this position, volunteers will have the opportunity to learn about native woodlands and also assist with restoration activities such as removing invasive plant species and replanting native plant species in forested areas.