explore, enjoy and protect the planet


The Metro Atlanta Group comprises the largest Sierra Club membership within the Georgia Chapter and is dedicated to exploring, preserving and protecting the environment within Atlanta's environs. more info »
Regular meetings are held the 2nd Tuesday of each month. Below is information about the upcoming meeting. See also the Atlanta Group Announcements! below.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 7:30 PM
The Elections are coming, The Elections are coming...
meeting image
The Primary elections will be on May 20 this year – much earlier than previous times. Eddie Ehlert, Group & Chapter Political Chair, will bring the latest news on the upcoming elections. He will tell us about the candidates that the Sierra Club is endorsing and may even bring some of them to speak to the group.
Location: General membership meetings are held at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 2089 Ponce de Leon Ave. at the East Lake Drive intersection; entrance to the church is off East Lake Dr. MARTA Bus #2 runs between North Ave. Station and Decatur Station along Ponce de Leon to East Lake Drive.  directions & map »
Note:  Refreshments at 7:00 PM. Program begins 7:30 PM.

Metro Atlanta Group Executive Committee Meetings

The Ex-Com meets the first Tuesday of every month at 7:30 pm, Athens Pizza House, 1341 Clairmont Rd., Decatur. Members are invited to attend and bring their ideas. Please contact an ExCom member for more information.
Upcoming Ex-Com Meetings: May 6, 2014 - 7:30 PM

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - 6:30PM

Annual Picnic at Candler Park

Come join us at the covered picnic tables across from the swimming pool Candler Park in Atlanta for potluck picnic. Bring some food to share. More details forthcoming.

Note: Gather at 6:30 PM, eat at 7:00 PM. There may be a hike before and/or after the picnic.

Adopt-A-Stream Program - Medlock Park, Decatur


Upcoming Dates:
  • Saturday, May 17 (Chemical monitoring)
  • Saturday, June 21 (Biological & Chemical monitoring)

Description: Our activities involve Peachtree Creek in Medlock Park, 10 AM - noon. For biologic monitoring, we need many eyes to find the macroinvertebrate critters found in the creek. On September 22, monitoring participants included 10 from Inner Cities Outings with several college mentors who found clams, damselfly, and dragonfly larvae. During June, the 3 salamanders or newts didn't count, for they have backbones [macro = large enough to be seen with naked eye; invertebrate = animal without backbone].

Location: Directions to Medlock Park »

Contact: For information about chemical monitoring and dates, call Larry Kloet at 404 636-7226. For more details about biological monitoring, call Nancy Wylie at 404-256-1172.

Adopt-A-Stream Report - March 2012  |  Biological Indicators of Watershed Health new window

NEWS: DeKalb County Adopt-A-Stream is "2011 Program of the Year" in We Are DeKalb Magazine (pages 30-32)
Also, four parks that inspire are on pages 18-23 and birds on pages 24-25.


Give a Sierra Club Membership

A Sierra C lub membership makes a good gift for Christmas, birthday or graduation. For a limited time, memberships are just $15 and include a free backpack. How can you beat that offer? They make great book-bags for students.

JOIN ONLINE! new window



Sierra Club now has a podcast website, so you can stay informed without reading: Sierra Club Radio new window

Woodlands Garden, Decatur


Now open to the public every day during daylight hours.

For special events, such as Music in the Garden date & time: Woodlands Garden, 932 Scott Blvd., Decatur, GA | 404-373-2222

Put on your walking shoes and explore Decatur's seven-acre garden and Georgia Piedmont native plant habitat. Grape ferns and cranefly orchids are up, plus many other wild plants.

John Muir


John Muir's 175th birthday is April 21st. Read more »

John Muir's birthplace museum, Dunbar, Scotland was created after Americans asked about it. John Muir's Birthplace

Connally Nature Park, East Point, GA

Location: Mulberry Court, East Point, GA [Google Map]

Description: The trail going through this 27-acre forest, preserved in part by Sierra Club members, includes good views of state champion white oak. Bring cameras, plus plant and animal guide books – the pink ladyslippers were good in April. For more information: Gordon Draves, 404-766-3456 or nonsmoke4ga@hotmail.com

View Photos

Constitution Lakes Nature Preserve

Gordon Draves went on the bird walk with Audubon on September 23 lead by Dave Butler who presented his program about green-spaces in DeKalb to our group on September 11 (see the entry about meetings). There is a very good article about the preserve on the front page of The Champion Free Press new window

On the way to the second part of the article on P. 15-A, check out the cartoon Shovel Ready Projects, and the article about the history of Mr. Bird's farm. Please note that there are herons not herrings in the park.

Mother Nature Network article: A walk through Atlanta's Doll's Head Trail

Hiking & biking on the way to Pickett's Mill Battlefield

Location: Near Dallas, GA

Pickett's Mill has good trails with flora and fauna besides the history that took place on May 27, 1864-149 years ago. Rated as among the Top 10 most endangered battlefields in 2010, it preserves some important sites.
Picketts Mill Virtual Tour
Picketts Mill Battlefield

If you are traveling from Marietta on GA 120 there are two other parks on the way to Pickett's Mill that you might finding interesting. Take East Pauling Highway, a few blocks west from Due West intersection, for it goes by Lost Mountain Park, which may be the site of the Lost Mountain engagement mentioned at Pickett's Mill--but nothing about that is on their nice website Lost Mountain Park

Mt. Tabor Park is just beyond the intersection of E. Pauling Highway with Mt. Tabor Church Road - here is a GREAT video of the hiking/biking trails there with outstanding action showing the trails and the forests that they go through: Watch Video

Local Edible & Medicinal Wild Plants


Ranger Jerry Hightower of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area discussed local edible and medicinal plants at our meeting August 13, 2013. He told how to find them, how they were historically used, what they're good for today, and how to identify them. He leads many of the nature walks at CRNRA.

These plants can be found throughout the CRNRA, as well as sometimes in your own neighborhood or back yard.

Here are some of the plants he brought:

  • Cattails: Typha is a genus of about eleven species of monocotyledonous flowering plants in the family Typhaceae. The genus has a largely Northern Hemisphere distribution, but is essentially cosmopolitan, being found in a variety of wetland habitats. In Russia, it is known as Cossack asparagus.
  • Pokeweed: The greens were used by Poke Salad Annie in Elvis' song, soldiers in several wars used the berries for ink to write home. Recipe, New use is photovoltaic.
  • A plant he warned about: poison ivy due to global warming is moving northward, and the toxin is increasing. He believes some trails in CRNRA may be closed because they won't be able to keep it whacked back for people's safety.
  • A plant to soothe poison ivy rash and stinging nettle: jewelweed or spotted touch-me-not
    [view youtube video]

Sierra Club Legislative Issue Priorities – 2012 RESULTS

Georgia Chapter Chair Mark Woodall sent this list of issues - some the Sierra Club opposes and others are favored. To see the bills on the official Georgia General Assembly website, go to: http://www.legis.ga.gov. You may also find the contact information for your state legislators there. Please contact them about how they voted on these issues - before the primary on July 31. Of all the bills below, only three were signed by Governor Deal to become law. But next year, we will have to be watchful about similar legislation.

OPPOSE Senate Bill 269 making EPD enforcement slower/weaker - Sponsor Jeffares FAILED
OPPOSE Senate Bill 159 Economic Development Secrecy - Sponsor Mullis FAILED
OPPOSE HB 131 exempting DOT contractors from erosion control - Sponsor Bubba Epps FAILED
OPPOSE SB 110 making it easier to put megafills over significant groundwater recharge efforts - Sponsor Murphy FAILED
OPPOSE SB 360 release the invasive fish tilapia into Georgia ponds leading to "kudzu" fish wiping out Georgia native bream - Sponsor John Wilkinson, Status: FAILED
OPPOSE SB 362 allowing deadhead (sunken) log mining - Sponsor Tommie Williams FAILED
SUPPORT bills making regulation of interbasin transfers mandatory NO POSITION YET
HB-400/SB-374/ SR-781 Tennessee River bill and resolution - Sponsors Neal in House, Mullis in Senate all three FAILED
SUPPORT HB-316 EMC open meetings - Sponsor Willard FAILED
MONITOR SB-382 PSC redistricting bill due to new census figures, Make Lauren "Bubba" McDonald, Jr. or Stan Wise PSC Chair - Sponsor Shafer signed into law as Act 641
SUPPORT SB-401 Solar Energy Association bill for freedom for 3rd party provider contracts - Sponsor Buddy Carter FAILED
MONITOR repeal of state sales tax on energy for manufacturing
SUPPORT regional transit governance bill if board representation is based on population served and includes MARTA funding flexibility permanent fix
HB 1052 amended in the Senate Transportation Committee it gives MARTA three years without the oppressive 50-50 spending mandate for the capital versus operating expenditures FAILED
SUPPORT HB-811 ACCG bill on fees - Sponsor Jay Powell FAILED
SUPPORT SR-704 Senate Democrats' CA on fees - Sponsor Henson FAILED
SUPPORT HB-798 limit on gifts from lobbyists to legislators aka legalized bribery - Sponsor Tommie Smith FAILED
SUPPORT AG's open records/open meetings act if exclusion for litigants is removed
SUPPORT SB-391 senate version of limit on gifts from lobbyists to legislators - Sponsor McKoon FAILED
SUPPORT HB-397 AG's open records/open meetings act IF exclusion for litigants is removed -Sponsor Jay Powell signed into law as Act 605
OPPOSE HB 475 Dan McRae's development authority addition powers of funding to include public private partnerships - Sponsor Jay Powell FAILED
SUPPORT HB 822 GA Taxpayer Protection Act which rewards those who expose fraud - Sponsor Lindsey signed into law as Act 591
OPPOSE HB-887 Legalize bribes for DNR - Sponsor Nimmer FAILED
new HB-1050 amend last year's tourism stealing bill to allow tourist attractions to keep 1/2 their sales tax to include the new Falcons stadium - Sponsor Ron Stephens FAILED

John Patrick Walsh - Obituary

John Patrick Walsh

John Walsh has passed away at age 52. He was a long-time Sierra Club member. A few years ago, he was on the Metro Atlanta Group Ex-Com until he got an evening job, so couldn't attend Ex-Com or regular meetings, but this Fall he was going to be a candidate for our Ex-Com again. When you get your ballot in the coming issue of SIERRAN, I encourage you to vote, for that is what John would have done.

When I saw, "John Walsh" in my E-mail box from Sierra Club–GA Chapter office, the worst I could think was that he had sent his candidate bio to Chapter instead of to me. Ho Boy–it was much worse. Chapter Chair Mark Woodall wrote: "I am sorry to report that long time Sierra Club volunteer, John Walsh, 52, of Decatur passed away August 31. I was very surprised to hear this as John looked fine recently when he was helping us set up the inflatable power plant at the showing of 'The Last Mountain' in Macon." He also looked good at the August 9 Metro Atlanta Group meeting.

His brother Chris said that his death was probably due to a fall several years ago. John had a rough time recovering, his brain kept deteriorating, he had seizures for awhile, but Nancy Wylie said that he was proud to get his driver's license again after 2 years seizure-free. However, he apparently died in his sleep, probably from a seizure. Bettye Harris, Ted and Lissa Jackson, and I attended his funeral at St. Thomas More Catholic Church in Decatur where John was a Lector and also volunteered much of his time, when he wasn't doing things for the Sierra Club. He was a good guy, faithful Sierra Club member, and the Sierra Club will be lessened by his leaving us. He even requested that in lieu of flowers that people should donate to the Sierra Club. We will miss him at our meetings.

--- D. Gordon Draves, Chair – Metro Atlanta Group, Georgia Chapter, Sierra Club


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