Naturalists promote environmental causes in Forsyth

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CUMMING, Ga. — In honor of Earth Day, April 22, the Forsyth County Master Naturalists encouraged residents to save the bluebirds and to helped educate residents on native trees along the Big Creek Greenway.

The volunteer group, which researches and shares their knowledge about native trees of Georgia, are putting together an interpretive tree trail along the Greenway. So far, they have placed 15 storyboard signs including information on the Willow Oak tree, Flowering Dogwood tree and the American Hornbeam tree.

“It’s only $150 to sponsor a sign,” said Jeannie Glisson Davis, a Forsyth County Master Naturalist. “We have a goal of 50 storyboards by late 2014.”

For the bluebirds, there are nine custom-built nesting boxes, which are part of the group’s bluebird trail project, also strategically installed along the Greenway.

The homes provide a safe haven and attract the bluebirds, whose population started to decline in the 60s.

“We were losing those nesters,” Davis said. “The bluebirds began arriving shortly after we installed the nesting boxes and now pairs occupy each box.”

The Georgia Master Naturalist program is an adult environmental education course developed by the University of Georgia’s Cooperative Extension and the Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources.

Training involves lectures and hands-on experience to explore ecosystems, habitats and human impacts on those environments.

Graduates of the program become Forsyth County Master Naturalist Extension Volunteers and work to promote natural resource stewardship.

To learn more, visit http://fcmn.sharepoint.com or www.ugaextension.com/forsyth.

FH 04-23-14