A group of civic leaders from Sandy Springs gathered at historic Glenridge Hall in 2000 with the goal of preserving rapidly disappearing greenspace and recreation areas in the city. The Sandy Springs cityhood movement’s outcome was still uncertain; yet, these local leaders were certain about the importance of parks, greenspace and trails to promote health, civic pride, economic growth and the preservation of natural landscapes for the vitality of communities. The initial meetings of these community leaders spurred the establishment of the nonprofit Sandy Springs Conservancy in 2001 with a mission to create, connect and conserve parks and greenspace in Sandy Springs.

Melody Harclerode, executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy.

Through partnerships with public and private entities, the Conservancy has provided vision, expertise and support to create some of the signature parks, greenspace and trails in Sandy Springs and the region. In 2007, this group worked with the city of Sandy Springs for the development of Morgan Falls Overlook Park, the new city’s first park after incorporation. Taking advantage of the breathtaking views along the Chattahoochee River, the Conservancy funded the design and construction of the popular Morgan Falls Overlook Trail at this 28-acre recreational oasis in the city.

The Conservancy has subsequently played a vital role in the development of Abernathy Greenway North and the Playable Art Park, a public park lauded for its exquisite greenery and enchanting playable sculptures. When subdivision development threatened one of the most picturesque homesteads in Sandy Springs, the Conservancy worked with allied organizations in 2016 to preserve Lost Corner as a nature preserve, donated funds for the installation of the walking trail, and provided funding to launch public programming at this community jewel. Park space in the city will grow in 2018 due to the Conservancy’s assistance and support for Windsor Meadows Park, Abernathy Greenway Park Southside and the new city park at the Ashton Woods Aria development.

Since its inception, the Conservancy has hosted family events and forums to promote the value of these amenities to the public. The organization brought its expertise to the table for the green space guidelines in the City of Sandy Springs’ award-winning “Next Ten” Comprehensive Land Use Plan. Our Thought Leader Dinner annually enlightens a huge audience of civic, political and business leaders from Sandy Springs and the region about cutting-edge practices with parks, greenspace and trail development. Cleanups at Morgan Falls Overlook Park trails make the scenic path more inviting and user-friendly.

The Conservancy is excited to enhance the experience at local parks, green spaces and trails through our Friends of the Conservancy program. Participants in this program will receive guided tours of these sites, learn about the history and beauty of these places and the surrounding community and have fun with fellow outdoor enthusiasts. We will launch our Friends of the Conservancy program with SpringMingle on Sunday, March 18 at Lost Corner Preserve on Brandon Mill Road.

At SpringMingle, our friends will see winning photos from our Sandy Springs Conservancy Digital Photo Contest. Friends of the Conservancy will gain insight about the photos from the winning photographers. A guided tour of Lost Corner and its grounds will help attendees to understand the life and times of green space trailblazer Peggy Miles and the history of Sandy Springs.

See sandyspringsconservancy.org for more information about our Friends of the Conservancy program and SpringMingle.

Melody Harclerode is executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy.