Fairburn Nature Preserve dedicated Oct. 17

Fri, 10/23/2009 - 3:59pm
By: Ben Nelms

It was the next step in a process that is expected to impact Fairburn, southwest metro Atlanta and beyond. It was the Oct. 17 dedication of the Fairburn Nature Preserve that will be managed by the Environmental Institute of Georgia (EIOG), a local non-profit that earlier this year became the trustee of a 310-acre nature preserve on Bohannon Road owned by the city of Fairburn.

The dedication event drew approximately 60 supporters, including mayors and some council members from Fairburn, Tyrone, Palmetto and Chattahoochee Hill Country along with Georgia Military College (GMC) Natural Science Department Chair Dr. Njoroge Muigwa. Fairburn Mayor Betty Hannah presented the dedication plaque to EIOG Executive Director Connie Biemiller Thomas.

EIOG’s more immediate plans for the nature preserve include the construction of a bio-lab and nature center totaling approximately 4,000 square feet. GMC will soon begin holding hands-on, real-time classes at the preserve. Muigwa said that in response to the presence of the nature preserve GMC’s Fairburn campus has expanded the biology department and is adding six courses that will hold classes at the nature preserve.

“Fairburn will be leading the way on how mitigation banks are done. And there will be nothing like this in the Southeast,” said EIOG board member Dennis Chase on the combined efforts of Fairburn and EIOG.

Mitigation credits are used to mitigate or lessen the environmental impact to a wetlands area to be developed, such as a roadway, utility right-of-way or a commercial development, by that entity purchasing land in another wetlands area. The credits are sold per unit, such as per acre.

Formed in 2007, EIOG has already made its mark on Fayette County through environmental education projects such as its Earth Day and Rivers Alive sponsorships. Formed largely by Fayette County residents, EIOG’s mission includes providing environmental education and legislative support to communities across Georgia by protecting the state’s diverse and sustainable natural environment, establishing a state-of-the-art green space to serve the community, providing conduits for environmental science and interdisciplinary studies and research, impacting the legislative and political process through statewide training and communicating to inform and educate through statewide publications.

The EIOG board includes north Fayette clinical social worker Connie Biemiller Thomas, Fayetteville biologist Dennis Chase, Peachtree City architect Bill Holland, Eco-Action Executive Director Yomi Noibi and Atlanta environmental consultant Karen Raymer.

For more information on the Environmental Institute of Georgia visit www.eiog.org

The nature preserve property is situated on 310 acres along Bohannon Road near Kirkley Road and is adjacent to the Fayette County line. The site was originally intended to serve as a wastewater treatment facility for the city. But the city council a few years ago abandoned those plans and, on City Manager Jim Williams recommendation, turned the acreage into a nature preserve.

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