Georgia Piedmont Land Trust

The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust believes that a healthy community is founded upon a healthy environment.  Conserving land is a key step to protecting our natural resources.  We believe that Habitat Matters!

GPLT Achieves Land Trust Accreditation

from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission


The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust (GPLT) has achieved land trust accreditation from the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance.

“Becoming accredited was a key component in our strategic plan. Achieving accreditation is an
important milestone on our path to organizational sustainability,” said Rebecca Spitler, Board
President of GPLT. Founded in Gwinnett County in 1998, the organization now protects lands with conservation values throughout the northern portion of Georgia, including the Piedmont and Blue Ridge and Ridge & Valley ecoregions.

GPLT is one of 317 land trusts from across the country that has been awarded accreditation since the fall of 2008. Accredited land trusts are authorized to display a seal indicating to the public that they meet national standards for excellence, uphold the public trust and ensure that conservation efforts are permanent. The seal is a mark of distinction in land conservation.

 “Accreditation provides the public with an assurance that land trusts meet high standards for quality at the time of accreditation, and that the results of their conservation work are permanent,” said Commission Executive Director Tammara Van Ryn. Each accredited land trust submitted extensive documentation and underwent a rigorous review. Completing this process also required the organizational planning that will make their operations more efficient and strategic.
Community leaders in land trusts throughout the country have worked with willing landowners to save over 47 million acres of farms, forests, parks and places people care about, including land transferred to public agencies and protected via other means. Strong, well-managed land trusts provide local communities with effective champions and caretakers of their critical land resources, and safeguard the land through the generations.

“We recognize that accreditation is a clear means of demonstrating ethical governance and
meaningful conservation. The land trust community as a whole is stronger for it,” said Carol Hassell, Executive Director of the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust.

About the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust
Georgia Piedmont Land Trust protects land in the northern half of Georgia, including the Piedmont and nearby Blue Ridge and Ridge & Valley mountain ecoregions, to protect waters and woodlands; complement the conservation of cities and citizens; and save farmland and historic sites for today’s and future generations. Information is at

About the Land Trust Accreditation Commission
The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, based in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., awards the accreditation seal to community institutions that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. The Commission is governed by a volunteer board of diverse land conservation and nonprofit management experts from around the country. See a complete list of all recently accredited land trusts online at More information on the accreditation program is available on the Commission’s website,

About The Land Trust Alliance
Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the place people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,200 member land trusts supported by more than 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operated several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at

Thank you to the 45 volunteers who came out to help. We couldn't have done it without you!

A special thanks to all the Georgia Gwinnett College students who participated and to Hank Ohme who snapped all the GREAT pictures.

GPLT Honored by Wells Fargo through ‘Days of Giving’

(Carol Hassell, Executive Director, accepts the award on behalf of GPLT)

The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust (GPLT) was honored by Wells Fargo with a $1,000 grant at the Days of Giving celebration in East Atlanta on Oct. 21.

GPLT was among 44 groups chosen by the bank’s team members for the recognition in East Atlanta.  The donation helped push total giving to more than $1.5 million across Georgia since the program’s beginning six years ago. 

“We can do so much with this and we appreciate Wells Fargo’s gift,” said GPLT Executive Director, Carol Hassell.  “Times remain trying for many and the needs are great.”

Falcons great Buddy Curry got the group off its feet with football exercises and then presented his five “core life principles” – sportsmanship, integrity, excellence, perseverance and teamwork.

“Perseverance is the most important,” he said. “Never ever quit.”  

Wells Fargo East Atlanta President Carol Morris led the ceremony.  “To some a $1,000 grant may seem small, but we know each of these great groups will be able to make a huge difference with this,” she said.  “And collectively this will have a major impact in our community.”

GPLT Seeks National Accreditation

Since 1998, the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust has worked to permanently protect land in the northern portion of Georgia because we believe healthy communities start with a healthy environment – and that starts with green spaces with trees, clean water and habitat. 

Now we are undertaking an important step:  We are applying for accreditation since the land trust accreditation program recognizes land conservation organizations that meet national quality standards for protecting important natural places and working lands forever. A public comment period is now open.

The Land Trust Accreditation Commission, an independent program of the Land Trust Alliance, conducts an extensive review of each applicant’s policies and programs. This evaluation will provide assurance that GPLT conducts its conservation and organizational activities consistent with the highest standards.

The Commission invites public input and accepts signed, written comments on pending applications. Comments must relate to how GPLT complies with national quality standards. These standards address the ethical and technical operation of a land trust. For the full list of standards see

To learn more about the accreditation program and to submit a comment, visit, or email your comment to Comments may also be faxed or mailed to the Land Trust Accreditation Commission, Attn: Public Comments: (fax) 518-587-3183; (mail) 36 Phila Street, Suite 2, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866.   Comments on GPLT’s application will be most useful by November 24, 2014.

Georgia Piedmont Land Trust

Protecting Land Amidst Change


Georgia’s landscapes are changing.  And while GPLT’s conservation efforts reflect these shifts, we work every day to protect lands for: Habitat for wildlife, including rare or endangered species.  Streamside corridors to provide the filtration that cleans our water. Green spaces close to communities for quiet recreation.  Community gardens to connect families to the Earth and good food. Working lands that ensure small-scale farms and timbering. Historic and archeological treasures.




Rivers Alive Stream Cleanup

Saturday - November 1, 2014

9:00 am – Noon

Help us clean up the creek adjacent to Westchester Commons subdivision near Lawrenceville in Gwinnett County.

Location: Heading north on Collins Hill Road from the GGC campus or Hwy 316, turn left on Aaron Drive, then left onto Clarion Road. Proceed to the end of Clarion Road at the cul-de-sac.

Please join us for a great day in the woods – and to help keep our streams clean! We’ll pick up trash along the creek-side and flood plain. Please dress appropriately, including boots or closed-toe shoes, for walking in water and a wooded area. Bring your work gloves if you have them (we will have some available), sun screen and insect repellant. We’ll have water and trash bags (donated bags will be welcomed), plus T-shirts for participants while they last. No restroom facilities will be available.  We’ll be there (light) rain or shine. In the event of heavy weather, no rain date is planned.

The property is permanently protected and will remain undisturbed or developed.  Currently, Georgia Gwinnett College biology students, through Tri Beta (a biology honor society), are conducting a  research and service project on a portion of this GPLT property.

Pass the word! Let’s have a great turnout. for questions.



Join us this Friday (April 25th) from 9 am to 2pm at the Gwinnett Justice & Administration Center for the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners Association plant sale! GPLT will have an information table providing information about invasives.

The plant sale will feature native plants – perennials and shrubs for the most part – butterfly and hummingbird plants, drought tolerant plants, herbs and veggies. Plants will be organized according to whether they like shade or do well in the sun. Prices, reasonable.



Volunteers Tackle Trash along Bromolow Creek

Twenty-six volunteers, including a number of faculty and students from Georgia Gwinnett College, along with other GPLT stream cleanup regulars, turned out for a Rivers Alive stream cleanup on Saturday morning, November 9, to pick up trash along Bromolow Creek at Arc Way in Gwinnett County. A 20-cubic foot roll-off dumpster, donated by Waste Pro-Atlanta, stood ready.  By the end of the event in late morning, the volunteers had rounded up tires, a huge piece of pipe or conduit, batteries, paint buckets, old carpet and the usual range of other trash, nearly filling the roll-off in the process.  GPLT is grateful for the efforts of all these folks who think that a clean stream is worth braving the chill of a November morning!  Thank you, volunteers and thank you, Waste-Pro.

Stream Cleanup

Bromolow Creek

Join Us Along Bromolow Creek

WHAT: Stream Cleanup along Bromolow Creek at Arc Way

WHEN: Saturday, November 9, 2012, 9:00 am – Noon

WHERE: We’ll start at Arc Way where it stubs into the green space, near Rod Place

WHY: The green space along Bromolow Creek is a benefit to the Gwinnett community that we hope you enjoy for hiking, walking your dog or just being in nature. But we all need to work to keep it clean. Come help us pick up trash and even pull some privet.

WHO: The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust, a conservation organization (, owns the green space around this community to be permanently protected. As a Rivers Alive partner, we are joining with organizations throughout Georgia to help preserve our water quality.

Please dress appropriately, including boots or closed-toe shoes, for walking in water and a wooded area. Bring your work gloves if you have them (we will have some available), sun screen and insect repellant. We’ll have water and trash bags, although any donated bags will be welcomed. No restroom facilities will be available.

Please join us for a great day in the woods – and to help keep our streams clean! We’ll be there (light) rain or shine. In the event of heavy weather, no rain date is planned. for questions.

Georgia Piedmont Land Trust Sponsored Two Successful Gwinnett Great Days of Service Projects


A huge thanks to all of the volunteers, the folks from Wells Fargo, Master Gardeners and other GPLT friends.Our volunteers ROCK!!!

The first project was a stream cleanup located in the Collins Hill area. Board member DaleHigdon headed up this project and while waiting on folks to show up he played on the swings. Not too long into the clean up he was having such a good time he decided to jump right into the middle of the trash pooled in the creek! Luckily one of the volunteer's home was 5 minutes away and he had a union break coming so he was able to shower off the mess. Of course he was also thinking of the nasty flesh eating bacteria. Being a forester he had clean clothes in his truck, our volunteer, Suzy Downing, being a dental assistant I gave him Listerine to rinse out his mouth! Back on the job site the morning was completed by noon with 30 bags of garbage hauled out!

Executive Director Carol Hassel headed up our second project located at the Mary Kistner Nature Center. Our volunteers finished a woodland garden path and prepared the Secret Gardens to be a demonstation garden for native plants.



Georgia Piedmont Land Trust sponsors two

Gwinnett Great Days of Service sites


Want to participate in the 2013 Gwinnett Great Days of Service?  GPLT will have two sites on Friday, October 4, from 9 am to 1 pm.  Sign up at or contact us at to sign up and for further information. 

At the Mary Kistner Nature Center, we’ll be weeding and mulching the gardens, removing invasives and even creating a woodland path.  It’s all part of our project to sustain the vision of an eminent Gwinnettian to create a quiet place to learn about and enjoy nature.

Or help clean up Gwinnett streams to improve water quality at our stream cleanup adjacent to Westchester Commons subdivision in the Collins Hill area. 

For either project, please dress appropriately for working in woodlands, including closed toe shoes or boots, and bring your sunscreen and insect spray.  If you have favorite work gloves, feel free to bring them, although we will have work gloves available.

GPLT/Gwinnet County Watershed Project Recognized


9/13/2013  The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) selected the Sweetwater Creek at Old Norcross Road Stream and Wetland Restoration Project as the Natural Environment Project of the Year.

Gwinnett County partnered with the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust to implement the stream and wetland restoration project downstream of Old Norcross Road on Sweetwater Creek in a highly urbanized area. CH2M Hill was selected to prepare a multi-faceted design for the project that incorporated 2,000 feet of stream restoration and 6 acres of wetland restoration with the creation of an approved mitigation bank.  The project reduces downstream sedimentation, reconnects the stream to the floodplain, protects water/sewer infrastructure, allows the wetlands to serve as a filter for peak stormwater flows, and improves stream and wetland habitat quality for fish, macroinvertebrates, amphibians, and other wildlife in an urbanized area.


Georgia Piedmont Land Trust Partners (GPLT) with

Georgia Native Plant Society (GNPS)

Fall 2013 Edition is now available

GPLT & GNPS partner to debut a series of informational sheets for homeowners about the value and benefits of planting native plants in residential landscapes -- and the problems created by nonnative invasive plants. We call it "Simply Native."

Lost Mountain Update

Lost Mountain was part of a pivotal time in the history of the metro Atlanta area. In coming months GPLT will be creating a plan to ensure this heritage remains intact and to provide information about its importance.


Historic and scenic Lost Mountain in Cobb County, Ga., has been permanently protected, The Trust for Public Land, Georgia Piedmont Land Trust (GPLT) and Athens Land Trust (ALT) announced today. During the Civil War, Lost Mountain served as the southwesterly anchor of a ten-mile Confederate defensive line against Union troops marching toward Atlanta preceding the battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Confederate earthworks remain on the property.

The family of Raymond M. Reed of Cobb County conveyed title of 152 acres in metropolitan Atlanta through a charitable donation and a discounted sale to GPLT. The conveyance was facilitated by The Trust for Public Land. A conservation easement permanently restricting development on the property will be held by ALT.

“Acquiring this beautiful property through the years was a gratifying experience. Preserving this Lost Mountain property for public use and appreciation is a most satisfying experience for myself and my children. We are glad it will be enjoyed by many Cobb County families for years to come,” said Raymond M. Reed.

Raymond M. Reed is a prominent attorney and community leader in Cobb County, previously serving in the Georgia General Assembly House of Representatives. Mr. Reed and his wife, Mary, are residents of Smyrna, where he has lived for over 96 years. Pieces of the property were first acquired by Mr. Reed in the 1960s.

“Lost Mountain will remain a historic and natural treasure for people to enjoy and learn from,” said Curt Soper, The Trust for Public Land’s Georgia state director. “The chance to conserve this much land in such a heavily developed and suburban setting doesn’t come along very often.”

“Preserving the important cultural and historical features of Lost Mountain is consistent with our mission and commitment to the Piedmont region and specifically in Cobb County,” said Rebecca Spitler, GPLT board president.

The protection of the property concludes over 2 years of efforts by Debora Reed Hudson, Patricia Reed Carter, and Ray Reed, Jr. (Mr. Reed’s 3 children), Quito Anderson (an attorney with the law firm of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan), and partners.

“I am thrilled that we have finally found a way to protect this important piece of property,” said Helen Goreham, Cobb County commissioner. “The property’s historic and environmental resources will now be available for this and future generations. This is an example of government and non-profit organizations working with private property owners to improve quality-of-life and preserve our heritage for all the citizens of Cobb County.”

“Georgia Piedmont Land Trust will work to develop limited public access to Lost Mountain for hiking, nature observation, and historical interpretation,” said Spitler.

The Trust for Public Land partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources to secure funding for the discounted purchase price through a Civil War Battlefield Land Acquisition Grant, administered by the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program and awarded through the federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). LWCF is a federal conservation program and its funding is generated from a portion of revenues paid by oil and gas companies to drill in offshore federal waters, rather than from taxpayer dollars. U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson and U.S. Representative Phil Gingrey supported the project and support the ABPP.

“I have been pleased to work with the Trust for Public Land and the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust to preserve this historic and scenic green space for many years,” said Senator Isakson. “I was happy to again support their application for this grant and am delighted that their efforts have come to fruition.”

Mostly forested, Lost Mountain preserves habitat for diverse species, including the uncommon dwarf Ohio buckeye and running cedar.

Founded in 1972, The Trust for Public Land is the leading nonprofit working to conserve land for people. Operating from more than 30 offices nationwide, The Trust for Public Land has protected more than three million acres from the inner city to the wilderness and helped generate more than $34 billion in public funds for conservation. Nearly ten million people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.

The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust is a Georgia non-profit conservation organization, committed to the preservation of open and greenspace, lands with historical and archeological importance, and working lands in the Piedmont region of Georgia.

Athens Land Trust is an accredited land trust that holds conservation easements protecting 8,123 acres of land in 20 Georgia Counties. These protected lands include river corridors, forests, wetlands, farmland, riparian areas, public greenspace, and historic sites.

For additional information contact:

Matthew Shaffer, The Trust for Public Land, 415-800-5214,

Carol Hassell, Georgia Piedmont Land Trust, 404-374-1961,

GPLT’s Mary Kistner Nature Center Woodland Gardens on Garden Tour  

The Gwinnett County Master Gardeners Association’s annual garden tour on Saturday, May 18, 10:00 am – 5 pm, includes the woodland gardens at the Kistner Center in Snellville. This hidden gem of Gwinnett County on a 50-acre one-time farm owned by the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust (GPLT) offers a unique learning opportunity. An informational tour will reveal garden design by a local well-known artist and nature enthusiast and will emphasize the value of selecting native plants and the effect of installing invasive nonnatives. Restoration and refocusing began in 2012 as a GCMGA grant project. Join us to Mary’s Secret Garden. Advance tickets and the full tour description are available from GCMGA at  at $15 until May 10th or available from any GCMGA member through May 17th.  Tickets will be $20 the day of the tour, available at any garden except McDaniel Farms.

Stream Cleanups

a Pictorial


Hay freshly cut on Kistner Center Pastures.

 We have fresh square-baled horse-quality hay (fescue-bermuda mix) available.

Continued in breaking news...

Easy Shopping at Buck Jones Nursery's Online Store to Continue: You Win; GPLT Benefits.

Buck Jones Nursery continues its winning deal: shop at the BJN online store (, get a discount, create a landscape you can be proud of, and support GPLT's conservation work.  Details on fall planting needs coming soon.

Our members, gardeners and GPLT all win:

  • Visit the Buck Jones Nursery online store to buy plants and supplies. Enter the code GPLT001 at checkout and receive 10 percent savings on your purchases.
  • GPLT will receive 5 percent of these purchases as a donation from Buck Jones.
  • Find a link to useful information and hints about plants and landscape products at the BJN blog,

For BJN, the partnership marks a year-long celebration of 40 years of success as a locally owned nursery.

GPLT and Buck Jones, located at 689 Grayson-New Hope Road in Grayson, have established a strong pattern of collaboration over the past couple years, seeking to encourage gardeners to plant native. 

Note: Buck Jones Nursery sells both natives and plants not native to the Georgia Piedmont.  However, Christian Roberson, Nursery Manager, notes that BJN strives to educate the industry about the habits and environmental impacts of exotic/invasive plants.

GPLT refurbishes Kistner Center garden with Gwinnett County Master Gardener Grant.

Next volunteer opportunities in the Fall.

The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust recently was awarded a grant from the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners to refurbish a garden at GPLT’s Mary Kistner Nature Center in Snellville. Continued in breaking news...

Counting On The Beauty Of Trees

Ask a resident in the Georgia Piedmont to describe a desirable natural environment, and he or she will likely mention trees at the top of the list of features.  The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust values the trees on properties under our protection for the ecological services they provide – cleaning air, slowing runoff, providing protection and habitat, and more – as well as for the beauty they offer.

With an Urban & Community Forestry grant administered by the Georgia Forestry Commission, GPLT  more 

Current News About Land Conservation

"Tax Reform" Legislation Passes: Changes to Georgia's Conservation Income Tax Credit Program Included. Continued in breaking news...

Majorities of Republicans and Democrats – 300 Cosponsors – Urge House Passage of Conservation Tax Incentive. Continued in breaking news...

A New One For The Birds

Among recent improvements at the Mary Kistner Nature Center is a new bluebird box, thanks to a donation by Gwinnett Master Gardener Becky Wolary.

Becky's donation includes a metal mounting pole, a raccoon baffle and a box sized for bluebirds with a squirrel-proof reinforced entry hole. While bluebirds in the area now have a fancy new home to investigate, the installation provides an example of how to add bluebird boxes to any home landscape, yet ensure proper predator protection.

The new box and mounting replaces a badly damaged and weathered old box that had been attached to a metal pipe. 

Spotlight on Native Plants

Shady or Sunny - What's The Right (Native) Plant?
Sponsored by Buck Jones Nursery, Grayson

Walter Reeves, the Georgia Gardener, and Dr. Wilf Nicholls, director of the Botanical Garden of Georgia, played to a packed house at GPLT's Speaker Series Event at the Mary Kistner Center. Saturday, February 18th, was a gray, misty day outside the Center, but the presentations were alight with the beauty of plant selections that shine in the sunshine (Walter's focus) or light up a shady garden (Wilf handled this area). As the demand grows for native perennials, shrubs and trees, more varieties are becoming available. Buck Jones Nursery, the event sponsor, provided a selection of native plants for viewing and for sale.  More...

Crossvine in bloom high up in a tree attracts a wonderful variety of pollinators.


As communities and governments struggle to redefine funding priorities, the reality outside is that spring has re-energized the Georgia Piedmont landscape.  People reaffirm the importance of protected green spaces by turning out everywhere to walk and hike in those peaceful places, or help with cleanup efforts.  Is there better affirmation of how crucial open space is in our lives?

Crossvine in bloom high up in a tree attracts a wonderful variety of pollinators.

The Georgia Piedmont Land Trust protects over 1,000 acres of green and open spaces in locations that are close to many neighborhoods – perhaps including yours – providing all the benefits of trees, improved water quality and wildlife habitat. 

A colony of young toad shade trillium and a mature example in bloom. Bees, beetles and small flies pollinate these slow-growing spring plants.

As we conduct regular visits to these properties, GPLT volunteer Hank Ohme helps capture the ephemeral beauty and rhythm of the spring season in the woods.  These images remind us that the Georgia Piedmont is biologically diverse, interlinked in a web of life that may persist next door or adjacent to where we live, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Halberd-Leaf Yellow Violet sports its spring bloom, while Sumac’s fruit remains from winter.

Across The Meadow

A Scene at the Mary Kistner Nature Center painted by Steve Logan and donated to GPLT

Kistner Center benefits from natural resources report
An important program was made possible in part by an Urban & Community Forestry grant from the Georgia Forestry Commission. more...

GPLT Introduces a “new” approach to residential landscapes
GPLT also launched a program designed to raise awareness among homeowners of the important part they can play in sustaining biodiversity -- more...

Visit our Other Useful Resources for educational documents and the Georgia Forestry Commission website for Tree Care Tips.

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Information Sheets


We are dedicated to land conservation in    the Georgia Piedmont Region

Other Useful Resources