The next time you take a hike at Boulevard Woods Park, make sure you look up from time to time. High up in a tree along the trail you might be able to spot a newly installed owl house.
The house was built by Bruce Travis, a Boulevard neighborhood resident. He constructed the house–which is intended to attract barred owls–according to the Audubon Society’s latest recommendations.
Bruce, who is a capable carpenter, added a few refinements designed to improve the durability of the house and to keep it clean and dry. And he devised a simple, secure yet flexible attachment method that relies on gravity, two small spikes and a chain which minimized impact on the tree and allows it to grow without having to reposition the house.
Getting the house up high on the tree required other skills–and those were donated by Shawn Doonan and Art Morris of New Urban Forestry, a local tree service and landscaping company. They hoisted the house up and put in place in about an hour on June 26, 2018.
Why, you may ask, do owls need human-built houses when they can build their own nests?
According to Bruce and the Audubon Society, the short answer is that making it easier and safer for owls to nest (which the house does) improves the odds that they’ll stay around. Especially in urbanized areas where natural habitat–including, crucially, lots of large dead standing trees–is harder to find, owls can use the assist. Keeping these beautiful, strange, wild creatures among us–with their evocative calls and their predatory elan (which helps balance other animal populations)–is a mutually beneficial project.
Bruce plans to build more bird–and possibly bat–houses for the park, and New Urban Forestry has generously offered to install them.
Photos by Jessie McClellan of New Urban Forestry.
Boulevard Woods Park was one of several project sites for this year’s MLK Day of Service on Monday, January 15, 2018.
About 13 volunteers showed up, including a few very young ones. Here’s what they accomplished in less than 2 hours:
- raked the entire hiking trail at the park clear of leaves
- picked-up every last bit of litter on the top, street side part of the park
- hauled-out five bags of debris from the upper part of the wooded part of the park
- removed a bunch of bigger junk, including a tire, a commercial dishwasher rack, a vacuum cleaner
- picked-up and piled lots of concrete and brick rubble. One volunteer estimated that the rubble pile probably weighed 30 tons. (Other estimates, possible more accurate, were considerably lower, though still impressive.)
- used some of the concrete rubble to reinforce part of the trail against stormwater damage
Organized by Athens-Clarke County government, the day of service is intended to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by inviting citizens to participate in volunteer service projects throughout the county.
This year’s volunteers included: Tony and Michelle Ferguson, Kasey Shuler, Lauren Knowlton, Finely and Davy Gibbs, Heather and John Parham, Dan Lorentz, Rob and Ella Simpson, Franklin Leach, Wyatt Leach, Beth Bedingfield, Tim O’Keefe and Xhenet Aliu. (Sorry if someone wasn’t included.)
Thanks to all.
Join us for our free garden harvest sharing event, the “Neighborhood Garden Harvest,” this Saturday, August 5, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m at Boulevard Woods Park, rain or shine
Ann Sears brought amazing giant figs last Saturday to share. Everyone enjoyed shortbread, herbs, coffee, flowers, books, bubbles, and more.
Stop by and enjoy the people, the park, and the “harvest”.
We will meet every Saturday morning in August. August 26th will be the last morning Garden Harvest until May 2018.
What started last Saturday, continues this Saturday: the Boulevard Neighborhood Association’s “Neighborhood Garden Harvest” takes place at Boulevard Woods from 9am to 10 am, rain or shine.
Last Saturday, we were so fortunate to have the “Hawk Proof Rooster”, Nancy and Charlie Hartness, play and sing for us.
Attendance for our inaugural event was estimated by the National Park Service at 19 people, including children. Garden produce shared included tomatoes, wild flowers, basil, thyme, lemongrass, eggplants, peppers and bay leaves.
Come to share fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers or plants for free with your neighbors. Individuals without a harvest may want to think of creative ways to contribute (drinks, food treats, bubbles, playing music, etc.).
The Boulevard Neighborhood Association is starting-up its “Neighborhood Garden Harvest” at Boulevard Woods on Saturday, July 15, from 9 am to 10 am, rain or shine.
This is a new event, brainstormed and organized by Jane and Bruce Travis–two Boulevard neighborhood residents–where neighbors come together and share garden grown vegetables, fruit, flowers, herbs, and plants with each other for free (remember to bring your own bags) and to enjoy our community in a beautiful park setting. There is no need to bring tables or chairs since the park has stone walls installed ideally for seating and display.
Everyone is invited to enjoy selecting items from the community harvest whether or not they were able to contribute fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers or plants as long as the supplies last. Individuals without a harvest may want to think of creative ways to contribute (drinks, food treats, children’s bubble station, playing music, juggling, storytelling, etc.).
Organizers will post a weekly reminder invitation on behalf of the Boulevard Neighborhood Association Steering Committee.
From left to right: Will Vaught, Mariel Groppe, Julia Smith, Dan Wescoat, Elliot Dawes, Erica Kistner and Cal McKinney.
The rain—the rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain, rain—did not stay the Southeast Conservation Corps crew from the swift completion of their “hitch” at Boulevard Woods Park.
The crew, a branch of Americorps, built two sets of steps, reinforced a few soggy spots along the trail, and cleared about one-third of the wooded part of the park of honey-suckle (and other invasive plants) despite being rained on every day they were at the park.
Thanks to the SECC crew, and to ACC Leisure Services for supervising and providing supplies.
First step of steps, connecting upper-level of park to the trail.
Second set of steps, along the trail.
An 8-member crew from the Southeast Conservation Corps—a branch of Americorps—is doing a “hitch” at Boulevard Woods.
This crew, based out of Chattanooga, TN, is clearing out invasive plants (much of which is bush honeysuckle, wisteria, privet and some types of ivy), building steps for the trail and putting-in a few drainage features as well.
ACC Leisure Services selected Boulevard Woods as a project site for an Americorps hitch this year. After Boulevard Woods, they’re going to do a hitch at Beech Haven. Before they came to Athens, they worked on Natchez Trace near Jackson, MS.
The crew leader is Dan Wescoat, and crew members are Will Vaught, Elliot Dawes, Julia Smith, Mariel Groppe, Erica Kistner, Quran Whatley and Cal McKinney.
These folks are doing a lot of work. We owe them a big thank you.
According to our SurveyMonkey survey of possible names for the trail at Boulevard Woods, the five top suggestions that the most respondents liked at least a little are:
1. Lubber’s Lane (with 101 of 131 respondents liking)
2. Boulevard Woods Trail (99)
3. Barber Lane Trail (tie at 97)
4. Lubber’s Loop (tie at 97)
5. Shiny Happy Trail (95)
If you rank the suggested names by a weighted average (how many respondents gave how many “hearts” to a suggestion), then the top five candidates are:
1. Shiny Happy Trail (2.96 “hearts”)
2. Lubber’s Lane (2.93)
3. Boulevard Woods Trail (2.90)
4. Barber Lane Trail (2.76)
5. Lubber’s Loop (2.70)
What to make of this?
“Lubber’s Lane” was liked at least somewhat by the most people—so that’s one takeaway. But the slightly fewer people who liked “Shiny Happy Trail” liked it a lot. Then again, the difference in the intensity of the preference between “Shiny Happy Trail” and “Lubber’s Lane” was also slight: just .03 percent. And there’s this to consider: of the top five candidate names in both ways of ranking, two include “Lubber” which suggests this element is fairly popular.
The survey results and responses have been forwarded to the good folks at Athens-Clarke County Leisure Services Department, who invited us to make suggestions. They’ll mull over our feedback. We’ll keep you posted about any decisions they make or any additional input they may seek from us.
About the survey
We collected 29 candidate names. Suggestions were made on neighborhood Facebook pages, on the neighborhood listserve and via emails from park volunteers and supporters.
Survey respondents were asked to rate the candidate names on a scale where five “hearts” meant that the respondent really liked the suggestion and fewer hearts to indicate less enthusiasm. Respondents could “skip” candidate names they didn’t like at all. There were 131 respondents.
The data we collected (from June 8 through June 14) allowed us to see what names most people liked at least a little bit and also allowed us a rough gauge of the intensity of the liking.
Thanks to all who participated. This was fun.
Candidate names, ranked by number of respondents, then by weighted average
Lubber’s Lane 101, 2.93
Boulevard Woods Trail 99, 2.90
Barber Lane Trail 97, 2.76
Lubber’s Loop 97, 2.70
Shiny Happy Trail 95, 2.96
Barber Hill Trail 94, 2.63
Streetcar Loop 94, 2.37
Lubber Trail 92, 2.03
X Branch Trail 91, 2.49
Townie Trail 91, 2.32
Hooker Highline 91, 2.09
WH Benson Trail 91, 2.09
B&B Trail 90, 2.12
Boulevard-Barber Trail 89, 1.85
Pylon Trail 88, 2.11
Boulevard Bender 88, 1.68
Volunteer Trail 88, 1.65
Boulevard Wander Trail 87, 1.79
The Boulevard Dip 87, 1.70
Shinrinyoku Path 87, 1.41
End of the World Trail 86, 2.00
Woodpecker Walk 86, 1.62
Ort’s Trail 85, 1.71
Canopy Walk 85, 1.47
Gyrate Loop 84, 1.54
Railroad Wander 84, 1.56
Wandering Way 84, 1.5
Boulevard Corkscrew 84, 1.43
Overlook Trail 83, 1.41
Opened-ended, anonymous comments
1. Please don’t reference REM, they don’t live here ya know…berlin, seattle and LA
2. As indicated above I like several of these. But I think I like #29 Best, assuming at the entrance to the trail there would be a sign explaining the concept of shinrinyoku. It’s a really neat concept, which is increasingly being verified by scientific investigation. Plus, the concept captures perfectly what this short but very atmospheric trail will be best at doing.
3. maybe just “Benson Trail” (leave off the W.H.)
4. Barber Hill Trail is the best of these. As mentioned above, “Barber St is on a hill…” Notably, too, the trail itself is on a hill.
5. Pylon Parkway (refers to a nearby area on private property where the band played during the formative years of the often-mentioned Barber St. music scene.)
6. Anything referencing hookers and cocktails maybe not such a great idea for a family park/trail?
7. Clearly, Hooker Highline is insulting beyond words and should not be considered further. I appreciate suggestions related to history, but this just smacks of snarky white college-boy humor.
8. How did Trailey McTrailFace not get a nomination? Are we past that now?
9. Just to recognize that if that property was historically part of an african-american community that it not be named something relating to white only experiences…ie townie, rem, etc. And preferably name it after someone from that community if there was such a community there or what they historically called that area.
10. Serenity Now Trail
11. I like the historical perspective. Most of the other suggestions are subjective, they might mean sonething to someone, but absolutely nothing to most people with- out explaining what is meant. Too tedious.
12. Numbers 1, 12 and 18 are not appropriate and should not be forwarded.
13. Dan, thanks for organizing and doing all this. I helped clear brush during the park’s inception period way back in 2011 for the River’s Alive event, and although I’ve since moved away from Athens, I’ve very much enjoyed hearing about the park’s progress. Congratulations on all you’ve accomplished. Luke W.
14. Lubber’s Lane
15. Traily McTrailyface
16. I think Lubber’s Lane would be funnier, but Lubber Lane is good, too.
17. Traily McTrailface
18. Lubbers’ Lane instead of Lubber Lane. It’s punnier that way! 🙂
19. Hooker is a very derogatory/disrepectful term. I’m going to assume there really isnt a chance that will be the name of the traiil.
20. If it’s not Orts trail I don’t wanna live in Athens anymore
We’re getting another grant from Riverview Foundation! This one will be for $50,000, and will enable us to create the playscape and neighborhood gathering area that we’ve planned. As long as we get approvals from ACC and raise any supplemental funding we may need, we’ll soon have an even better Boulevard Woods. Thanks Riverview Foundation!