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!  


Kistner Center



The Kistner Center, 50 acres of woodland gardens, forest and pasture, is a legacy of  Mary Kistner, a long-time Gwinnett resident who was a well known artist, gardener and conservationist. 


Mary donated the property to the Georgia Piedmont Land Trust, called the Gwinnett Open Land Trust at the time.  She wanted to ensure that it would never be developed and it would provide a place where children and adults alike could learn about the importance of proper stewardship of our environment and how nature inspires art.


GPLT is undertaking a strategic plan to ensure a sustainable future for the Center in accordance with Mary’s vision and values.  Volunteers now work to maintain the beautiful woodland gardens at the Center to reflect her artistic insight and respect for nature.


Gwinnett County Master Gardener Grant to Refurbish the Grass Garden

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. On Thursday, May 24, from 9 am to 12:30 pm, volunteers will dig in to recreate the garden. For information, contact info@gplt.org. GPLT is grateful to the Gwinnett County Master Gardeners for the award. The Kistner Center is located at 2689 Lenora Road, Snellville 30039. Link to map.


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**.  Certified arborist Chris Barneycastle, with plenty of help from GPLT board member and retired forester Dale Higdon, conducted a natural resources inventory.  The resulting report identified plant species and ecosystem types on the property; and provides an appropriate management strategy to ensure the health of the forested areas.

Because a key part of this strategy is removal of invasive exotic plant species, GPLT embarked on a program of eradication, beginning with work days devoted to removal of mahonia.  The plant was originally introduced to the woodland gardens at the Center, but now has spread extensively in shaded areas.

Kistner Center woodlands include 26 native tree species.

Hundreds of mahonia were removed.


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 – ensuring the survival of pollinators, birds and other wildlife – by rethinking their landscapes and plantings to support a variety of such critters, instead of creating yards that are devoid of sustaining plants.

 “For the first time in its history, gardening has taken on a role that transcends the needs of the gardenes,” says Douglas W. Tallamy, Professor and Chair of the Entomology and Wildlife Ecology Department, University of Delaware.  His research is published in Bringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens,” and is cited by permission.

GPLT sponsored a program in April called “Grow Your Garden Beautifully”  to highlight this important concept and illustrate how homeowners can turn it into beautiful landscapes in their homes.  Featured speakers were Walter Reeves, the Georgia Gardener; Tara Dillard, well known local landscape and garden designer and writer; and Laurie Fisher, CEO of Buck Jones Nurseries.  Partnering with GPLT were Monarchs Across Georgia (MAG) volunteers who conducted a workshop focusing on plants that are particularly pleasing to pollinators of many types.

Because this approach to suburban and residential landscapes is beneficial to natural areas nearby, GPLT continues to emphasize its importance. The Kistner Center is an outstanding demonstration property for the concept.

Visit our resources page for educational documents on this topic.

Walter Reeves, Tara Dillard and Laurie Fisher talked to an eager audience.

Susan Meyer (bending down) of MAG identifies plants in the Center’s new pollinator garden.


**Funds for this project were provided by the Urban and Community Forestry Grant Program administered by the Georgia Forestry Commission.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status.  (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.)  Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).

To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-A, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice or TDD).  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.


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