About Us


Buckhead's crowning jewel isn't a mall or a restaurant or even an architectural achievement; it's not something humans built. The Blue Heron Nature Preserve is a twenty-five acre natural wilderness located just off heavily-trafficked Roswell Road in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Blue Heron Nature Preserve is a combination of four  pieces of land along and around Nancy Creek.  Our goals include involving local communities in the preservation and restoration of local greenspace, wetland habitats, stream bank and riparian corridors along in Nancy Creek.

The Preserve was founded in 2000, sparked by an efforts of a local school teacher and the North Buckhead Civic Association to preserve seven acres of floodplain along Nancy Creek, adjacent to new development on Rickenbacker Drive at Roswell Road. That year local residents, community groups, businesses and students began the considerable and ongoing task of removing invasive plants, planting native trees, and stabilizing the stream banks.

Over the next five years, the City of Atlanta added three large pieces of land  to the Preserve. The first was a nine-acre wetland at the end of Emma Lane (off Lakemoore Drive), and the second was the five-acre site of Nancy Creek Sewer Tunnel Roswell Road.  In 2007, the 5-acre site of THW Architects at 4055 Roswell Road was purchased by the City, bringing Blue Heron's holdings to about 25 acres.

As a community-based effort, the Preserve will continue to grow and provide a place of natural beauty for the local environment.


Our Vision Statement:

Our vision is to be a model of a vital urban ecosystem connecting people to long term health, heritage, knowledge and beauty of the natural world.

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Our Mission Statement:

Our Mission is to preserve, explore and share nature in an urban community.

Our Master Plan is available - download the .pdf file here.

Our Blueway Plan is available to download here.

The Blue Heron Nature Preserve is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit.


Board, Committee Members, Staff and Volunteers

Board of Directors

Jay Levin, President; Executive Committee

Kitsie Riggal, Vice President; Execvutive Committee

Christine Williams, Treasurer; Executive Committee

Betsy Lane, Secretary; Executive Committee

Norris Broyles, Executive Committee; Development Committee


Chip Pottinger, Development Committee

Langley Respess, Development Committee

Robin Brandt, Development Committee

Kim Blythe, Development Committee

Chad Wright, Project and Facilities Committee

Brooke Hammonds, Project and Facilities Committee

Libba Shortridge, Project and Facilities Committee

Oran Woodall, Project and Facilities Committee



Kevin McCauley, Executive Committee (Staff
Representative); Project and Facilities Committee;
BHNP Project and Operations Director

Amy Zvonar, Education Director/Programs Committee;
BHNP Education Director

Diane Evans, Education/Programs Committee

Maura P. Dudley, Grants/Programs Committee

Nancy Jones, Executive Committee (Staff
Representative); Programs; Development Committee; BHNP Executive Director


Sally Wansboro Eppstein, Art Director/Programs Committee

Susan Loeb, Education/Programs Committee

Scott Smith, Development Committee

Anne Stern, Webmaster; Technology/Communications


Community Foundation "Grants to Green Assessment" Grant Awarded

Thanks to our friends at the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta and the Southface Institute, we have been selected to participate in their "Grants to Green Assessment" program. The purpose is to identify opportunities for making our headquarters building more energy efficient. Once the assessment is complete we will be eligible to apply for implementation funding to make the improvements. Since we are responsible for all our utility expenses along with our non-profit tenants, Atlanta Audubon Society and Little Da Vinci International School, the money we save can be redirected to help fund our programming. We appreciate this opportunity to work with the Community Foundation and Southface, who are playing such a critical role in the Atlanta community.

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Wetlands Restoration

(possible beaver dam?)

The Lake Emma Wetlands property was added to the Preserve due to an EPA action in 2002. The developer owner, filled the original stream channel, a violation of the Clean Water Act and also diverted the water flow into a new hand dug channel. The Army Corps of Engineers permitted him to lower the level of the dam that held the original lake waters
and all of these actions combined accelerated the demise of the wetlands.

In 2012, we began looking at possible restoration options to improve water quality and habitat for wildlife which will involve grant writing, conversations with the City of Atlanta Watershed Department, EPA, EPD and the Army Corps.

We are just starting this process, so stay tuned for updates as we begin to move forward and invite the public for input and information.

BHNP Awarded Grant for Urban Waters Restoration

We are thrilled to announce that we have been selected to receive a grant from the NFWF for the 2013-14 year, through their "Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Program". Our plans for this grant include, removing invasive plants, stabilizing the stream bank with native plantings, improving bird habitat and monitoring movement of terrestrial wildlife.

(work area to the left of the Preserve entrance - "The Plunge Pool")

The grant amount is $20,005.00 which comes from the EPA and Southern Company - with in kind matching coming from our local partners and volunteers. Stay tuned for more information on opportunities for you to get involved with this exciting project! We plan to start work on this grant immediately and will post work days for volunteers on the website as they come up.


Beaver Enhancement of our Waterways

In anticipation of doing some water enhancement on our blue way through the Preserve, a team of 11 volunteers, professionals, students, biologists and professors have been studying the work of beaver engineering. Beavers impound and channel water in beneficial ways for the environment and wildlife creating wetland ponds that support a huge variety of animal and bird life.


We have been studying beaver projects in California and the Pacific Northwest where scientists and environmentalists are interested in beaver work for the benefit of endangered fish species such as salmon. Scientists have found beavers can be encouraged to build dams if support structures are installed in wet areas. The height of the water level can be controlled with de-watering structures to ease flooding in populated areas. Even the use of tape recorders playing the sound of running water can be used to encourage them to build dams in beneficial areas.


Unfortunately, in the southeast beavers are a much maligned species and are frequently trapped and killed. But what we are finding is that there are wonderful benefits to working with beavers, it just takes some study and understanding.

Nancy and Heidi

In Marinez, California, Heidi Perryman successfully rallied the community to save a family of beavers. She started a non-profit called "Worth A Dam" to educate the public. For 7 years this organization has been focused on learning about beavers and sharing their observations.


Native Grasses Restoration

Water Bland, our plant guru, was on The Preserve recently assessing the grass restoration work that has been done. Walter raised these grasses from seed in his nursery and the young plants were transplanted at the Preserve to replace the non- native lawn that was there.

.............. ....(Walter Bland)...................................(Walter and Kevin at the Broom Sedge planting area.)