Earth Day Clean-Up 2012

Hundreds of dedicated volunteers came out for Earth Day Clean-Up 2012 to clear the way for the Atlanta BeltLine Urban Farm in southwest Atlanta.

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The Atlanta BeltLine

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Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum

Atlanta’s Tree-Mendous Arboretum

When fully realized, the Atlanta BeltlLine will be an unprecedented 22-mile “arboretum” — an elaborately curated, city-scale mix of existing and cultivated tree species that is at once an urban forest, an ecological connector, a corridor for scientific research, and a collection of remarkable public spaces. The landscape design utilizes a framework of four layers: landform, floor and guideway, trail and transit, and canopy. The cumulative experience provides a plant-based cultural narrative of the city’s rich and diverse history.


Restoration Framework

The Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum will be a large-scale reforestation of the corridor, with a focus on education. Trees Atlanta is building the 22-mile arboretum. The corridor is divided into five segments that are informed by ecological and cultural conditions:

  • Creek Restoration
  • Urban Forest Rehabilitation
  • Piedmont Upland Forest Rehabilitation
  • Neighborhood Woodland Rehabilitation
  • Industrial Reclamation

Different strategies for reforestation will be applied depending on the conditions and surroundings of the corridor. Distinct plant palettes will create coherent experiences for each segment. With this effort realized, the arboretum will enable Atlanta to fulfill the name of “City of Trees.”

Canopy Character “Rooms”

Proposed canopy forms, planting techniques, and tree organizations for the Atlanta BeltLine respond to the existing site character, conditions, and features to shape a variety of new landscapes. These character “rooms” are imagined, therefore, as site-specific settings wherein the quality, character, and arrangement of plantings play a defining role in creating a diversity of experiences. Given the thin average width of the Atlanta BeltLine corridor – and clearance requirements of the Transit guideway – the space available for tree plantings is often limited. Careful selection of tree specimens, mixing of trees with varied canopy size, and adjusting typical tree spacing dimensions are some of the techniques that will be required to make for rich and varied spatial experiences along the Atlanta BeltLine.

Explore the Natural Neighborhoods

West ConnectionThe West Connection natural neighborhood is situated near numerous colleges, universities and schools—Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse, Morris Brown, Spellman and Washington High School—that make this area special to Atlanta. It is a core center of connection for Atlanta’s citizens to the important teaching and research efforts of these institutions. Neighborhoods in the West Connection area include Hunter Hills, Washington Park, Mozley Park, Westview, West End, Ashview Heights and Harris Chiles.
Water WorksThe Water Works natural neighborhood includes the areas of Underwood Hills, Loring Heights, Home Park and Bland Town. Trees in this natural neighborhood feature plants of exotic shapes and textures that revolve around the theme of “water play.” Many of the plant names suggest a whimsical association with water: Water Oak, Umbrella Magnolia, Golden Raintree, Corkscrew Willow, Devils Walking Stick and Monkey Puzzle Tree.
Warehouse RowThe Warehouse Row natural neighborhood is a narrow right-of-way segment between rows of warehouses and the stretch of trail that follows the road. Neighborhoods in the Warehouse Row area include Westview, Cascade Road, Oakland City and West End. Trees in this neighborhood will have high visual impact that can be appreciated while traveling faster than walking speed. This landscape of motion also features ancient and primitive trees that have existed for a long time.
Urban Forest CorridorThe Urban Forest Corridor natural neighborhood is a celebration of the role that urban trees play in revitalizing neighborhoods and is the home of the Trees Atlanta Kendeda Center. The Urban Forest Corridor highlights urban street trees, the BeltLine Arboretum Nursery and the importance of selecting the “right tree for the right place.” Neighborhoods in this area include Ormewood Park, Grant Park, Glenwood Park, Cabbagetown and Reynoldstown.
The QuarryThe Quarry natural neighborhood includes the Bellwood Quarry, a large granite surface mine, which is the largest proposed addition to the City of Atlanta’s park system. Currently, it is not open to the public and visitors will be considered as trespassing. Plant collections in this natural neighborhood represent the rock outcrop communities of Georgia, particularly species endemic to the southeast piedmont that are found nowhere else in the world. Neighborhoods in this area include Rockdale, Knight Park, Grove Park, Bankhead and English Avenue.
The GapRailroads created Atlanta and have transformed the city and its landscape. In an effort to interpret our history, trees in this natural neighborhood represent species used for railroad materials, wood products and wood manufacturing. The Gap natural neighborhood includes Bland Town and Knight Park and is home to the King Plow Center.
Southern WayThe Southern Way natural neighborhood includes many historic resources and includes important Atlanta neighborhoods like Peopletown, Summerhill, Grant Park, Englewood Manor, Chosewood, South Atlanta, Carver Homes, High Point and Joyland. The BeltLine Arboretum in this area focuses on the plants of the Piedmont Uplands which highlight the importance of our own special piedmont region in Georgia.
Piedmont ParkThe Piedmont Park natural neighborhood is not only rich with history, but a haven for birds and wildlife. Neighborhoods in this area include Ansley Park, Midtown, Virginia Highland and Morningside/Lenox Park. Trees in this area will complement and be a tribute to the Olmsted brothers’ tradition and design style. You will find beautiful specimens, evergreens, and large stately trees with a powerful presence that create a sense of place.
New SouthPerhaps the most historically significant area in Atlanta, the New South natural neighborhood is home of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historical District and Center, the Carter Center, Freedom Parkway, and City Hall East. It includes the neighborhoods of Midtown, Morningside/Lenox Park, St. Charles Greenwood, Poncey Highlands, Bedford Pine, Old Fourth Ward, and Inman Park. Trees planted in the New South will reflect a variety of species, both native and exotic, that are symbolic of the South.
Murphy’s CrossingThe Murphy’s Crossing natural neighborhood plantings build on Atlanta’s regional identity and agriculture heritage. The tree collections are focused on the redevelopment of the farmer’s market heritage site and existing buildings and include representations of orchards, field edges, windbreaks and plantations. Neighborhoods in the Murphy’s Crossing area include Capitol Hill, Capitol View Manor and Adair Park. Because it sits on the Subcontinental Divide, depending on your exact location in Murphy’s Crossing, the water will either flow to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean.
Hulsey YardThe Hulsey Yard natural neighborhood is located on the Subcontinental Divide and includes the neighborhoods of Cabbagetown, Reynoldstown, Edgewood and Inman Park. Because it sits on the Subcontinental Divide, depending on your exact location in Hulsey Yard, the water will either flow to the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. Due to the long history of development and industry on these areas, their landscapes feature tree species that remove soil toxins and add important nitrogen to the soil.
Entrenchment CreekThe Entrenchment Creek natural neighborhood is defined by the two upstream headwaters of Entrenchment Creek, which eventually flows southeast to the Atlantic coastal plain. Neighborhoods in this area include Grant Park, Ormewood Park and Boulevard Heights. Trees in this neighborhood are typical of coastal plain plant communities found in South Georgia, including evergreens, coastal swamp trees and coastal oaks.
ConfluenceThe Confluence natural neighborhood is a haven for wildlife and birds. The area is situated along the forested creek margins of Tanyard, Peachtree and Clear Creeks. Neighborhoods in this area include Collier Hills, Collier Hills North, Channing Valley, Spring Lake, Ardmore Park, Haynes Manor, Peachtree Hills, Garden Hills, Lindbergh and Brookwood Hills. Trees in this neighborhood highlight the importance of wetland, floodplain, and stream edge/riparian species for water quality, flood protection and wildlife habitat.
Clear CreekThe Clear Creek is a refuge for birds and wildlife. Trees in this natural neighborhood demonstrate the role and importance of plants in managing rainwater in an urban environment. Neighborhoods in this area include Sherwood Forest, Ansley Park and Piedmont Heights. Habitat rich in water gardens and critically-needed restoration work will improve the quality of the Clear Creek-Peachtree Creek-Chattahoochee watershed. Protecting the watershed provides clean water for both people and wildlife.
Program Details

For more than twenty years Trees Atlanta, a non-profit citizen’s group dedicated to protecting and improving our urban environment by planting and conserving trees, has worked to protect and expand Atlanta’s urban forest. Spearheaded by Trees Atlanta, the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum will:

  • preserve and expand the City’s urban forest while increasing canopy cover and shade
  • provide opportunities for educational programming
  • create an attraction of city-, region- and nation-wide interest
  • improve neighborhood identity
  • enhance the function, connectivity, and appeal of Atlanta BeltLine light rail and trail facilities.
Natural Neighborhoods

Residents and developers have the opportunity to be connected to the Atlanta BeltLine today by planting particular trees that define and support the arboretum's individual collections, which are called Natural Neighborhoods. The landscape of homes, parks, and developments may also include plants, art, and environmental demonstration to further strengthen the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum's development.

The Natural Neighborhoods are a series of fourteen tree and plant collections along the Atlanta BeltLine, which form the foundation for the Arboretum.

Digital brochures for the fourteen Natural Neighborhoods are available to the left. These brochures were created in partnership with Atlanta Audubon Society with support from Beringer and TogetherGreen.

Register for an Atlanta BeltLine Walking Tour

We book Atlanta BeltLine tours one month at a time. The reservation system opens at 9 a.m. on the 15th of each month for the following month's tour dates.


If you enjoy taking in the natural beauty of the Atlanta BeltLine, you will love our high quality stone coaster set! This set of four, heavy duty stone coasters features full color images of nature scenes from around the Atlanta BeltLine. Get a set for yourself, and give another to a friend that will also appreciate the natural wonder of the Atlanta BeltLine. Buy a coaster set →
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