National Geographic writer to be guest speaker at CNC Butterfly Festival

Authored book on local conservationist John Ripley Forbes

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ROSWELL, Ga. — Gary Ferguson, author of 18 books on science and nature, will be an added attraction to the Chattahoochee Nature Center’s annual Flying Colors Butterfly Festival.

The festival features live butterfly releases and a Butterfly and Caterpillar Costume Parade.

The parade is at 3:30 p.m. on each day.

Ferguson will lecture on the life of John Ripley Forbes, an Atlanta resident, who helped found nearly 200 nature preserves around the country. Through his foundation, Forbes bought the first acres that launched Chattahoochee Nature Center. He was also the driving force behind Big Trees Forest Preserve in Sandy Springs and Autrey Mill Nature Preserve in Johns Creek.

The event celebrates the publication of Ferguson’s new book “Nature’s Keeper: John Ripley Forbes and the Children’s Nature Movement.” The lecture is Saturday, July 14 at 2:30 p.m. in the Cowie Weiss Theater at the Chattahoochee Nature Center in Roswell.

“To me, John Ripley Forbes is the most fascinating man I never met,” said Ferguson. “His genius was to get a project started up, let others get involved and then move on. And he was a master of getting other people involved.”

Forbes was a great believer in experiential education, and he wanted people and especially children to have the opportunity to learn about nature in their hometown, Ferguson said.

“When it comes to championing the great outdoors, John Ripley Forbes was one of the most influential Atlantans in 20th century American history. His unbounded enthusiasm for bringing kids to nature helped set the stage for the outdoor education movement of the late 1960s and ’70s,” said Ferguson.

All proceeds from the sale of the book “Nature’s Keeper” benefit the John Ripley Forbes Big Trees Forest Preserve in Sandy Springs.