August 2017

YMCA Campers Learn, Play in the Park

For the past three summers, the Robert D. Fowler YMCA has operated its Traditional Day Camp at the Chattahoochee River Environmental Education Center (CREEC) located in the Johns Creek Unit of the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

The partnership between the YMCA and the CRNRA gives campers the opportunity to learn about the natural environment and national parks. This summer, 200 campers ranging in age from 5 to 13 – and a third of whom received scholarships – spent a week in the outdoor setting.

The campers learned to fish, canoe and hike, and also engaged in team building and character development exercises. National Park Service Rangers worked with the campers to provide lessons and projects related to the theme of the week. During “Make a Splash” week, campers learned about water safety and how pollution can affect water, wildlife and vegetation in the park.

YMCA Community Program Director Javon Clark says that the main thing that makes the CRNRA program so valuable is that it gives the kids the opportunity to be outdoors, while getting an education about national parks. “Most children do not have that opportunity and it can truly be a life-changing experience for them,” he said.

Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy helps support the transportation costs for the campers, who come primarily from north Atlanta communities, through a generous grant from the National Park Foundation and support from other donors.


Pandra Williams comes from a long line of nature lovers. As a child, her first books were Little Golden Book Field Guides for walks that she took in the woods at her grandfather’s farm in Michigan. Many years later, plants became the passion of the Decatur resident and artist, after she received permission to rescue native species from a development site in southwest Atlanta near Boat Rock, a destination for rock climbers. Her backyard began to fill with rescued potted plants.

Because there were few native plant nurseries in Atlanta a decade ago, Pandra and her husband decided to establish Beech Hollow Farms near Lexington, Georgia. The idea: to propagate high quality, locally-sourced native species for backyards, schools and land management agencies such as the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area.

Allyson Read with the CRNRA says: “Pandra’s help is invaluable. She’s supplied the park for many years with native plants for our pollinator gardens, landscaping and trail closures.” To volunteer as a CRNRA gardener and attend a fall workshop, contact us at: 



2nd Annual Paddle-Camp Extravaganza– Sept 23-24

ONLY 30 SPOTS LEFT to camp under the stars in the CRNRA this fall! Join CPC and REI-Atlanta for a fun weekend. Learn new skills including camping, paddling, pump track biking, photography, yoga and more - and help the park with a river cleanup.

Register TODAY here!

Fall Member Celebration!
Oct 29, Paces Mill

Don’t miss CPC’s Annual Member Celebration – this year to be held at the Paces Mill Unit near Vinings. We’ll honor park supporters, celebrate our accomplishments and hear about planned park improvements; a barbecue meal and beverages are included. Not a CPC member yet, or need to renew your membership? Join/renew here and receive an invitation to this FREE member event.

CRNRA WISH LIST:  Two canoes, a vehicle vacuum, a wall surface cleaner (restrooms), a Dewalt 2-speed planer and a Roland plotter. If you can donate any of these items, or would like to donate funds to help us purchase them, please contact

Become a member of Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy today!
As a member, you can help us achieve our vision of an inspired and thriving community of support for the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. Click here to join!

Chattahoochee Parks Conservancy Inc. is proud to support our Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, a unit of the national park system managed by the National Park Service.

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