We tend to favor clean-cut lawns and non-native plants, but that’s a real problem for our ecosystems and the birds that live in them. Tenijah Hamilton, the host of Bring Birds Back podcast, joins volunteers planting native flowers and grasses on the Atlanta BeltLine, a converted “rail trail." Trees Atlanta Co-Executive Director Greg Levine explains how native plants can reconnect wild animals to urban areas.
Bringing Birds to the BeltLine
Written by Mark Bramhill
Tenijah Hamilton: This is BirdNote.
Brian: We’ve got gloves -- please get a digging shovel...
Tenijah Hamilton: This past May, I went to an event with Georgia Audubon and Trees Atlanta. We were at the Atlanta BeltLine, a huge converted “rail trail,” where twenty-some volunteers were going to plant a bunch of flowers and grasses native to the Piedmont region of Georgia. All over the country, as people have redeveloped the landscape, we’ve favored clean-cut grass lawns and non-native plants. But this is a real problem for all of our unique ecosystems and the birds that live in them, Trees Atlanta Co-Executive Director Greg Levine explains:
Greg Levine: Our native flowers and grasses are critical for all wildlife that is native to that particular area. That connection between the bird and the grasses and plants has been going on for thousands of years. And that's why we need those native plants, because those animals are used to eating their seed or eating the native insects that fly around those plants. And so, by planting these native plants, we're reconnecting our native animal species back to urban areas.
Tenijah Hamilton: Over the course of the morning, we planted more than 600 plants. Within a few years, Greg says this space will be transformed:
Greg Levine: It'll be pretty full and you'll see tons of insects, butterflies, and all kinds of flying bugs which will feed the birds.
Tenijah Hamilton: You can learn more about the benefits of native plants on our podcast, Bring Birds Back, sponsored by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Listen in your podcast app, or at BirdNote.org. I’m Tenijah Hamilton.
Senior Producer: John Kessler
Production Manager: Allison Wilson
Producer: Mark Bramhill
Associate Producer: Ellen Blackstone
Digital Producer: Conor Gearin
BirdNote’s theme was composed and played by Nancy Rumbel and John Kessler.
© 2021 BirdNote July 2021
Narrator: Tenijah Hamilton
Field Producer: Claire Reynolds
ID# PodBBB-06-2021-07-28 PodBBB-06