Arboretum Observations

Help us keep track of a changing landscape! The entire Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum is a dynamic landscape actively being restored to forest and native grassland. Check out the community science observation stations below to see these landscapes grow and change through the years. By contributing to the process you are helping us to document changes and helping inform us of which methods work best. You can actively help us to monitor an ecological restoration!


Location: In the West End neighborhood and close to mile 1 on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, this photo station is located near Gordon White Park between White Street and Ralph David Abernathy.

Information: This tree and meadow slope was planted with many native grass species, trees, and shrubs in 2018. Notice how the grasses sway in the wind and change colors with the seasons. Some grasses have very fluffy seed heads just like the Muhly grass here, also known as “cotton candy grass” for its pink fluffy seeds which look quite similar to the sweet treat!

Notable species: muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris), American smoketree (Cotinus obovatus), American black elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)





Location: Between Mozley Park and Ashview Heights and close to mile 2 on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, this photo station is located near Holderness Street SW and Fair Street SW. 

Information: This woodland is actively undergoing restoration to remove non-native vegetation such as English ivy, periwinkle, and privet. In restored areas, unique woodland wildflowers have been planted and bloom in early spring under the shade of large tulip poplars and water oaks. What can you find in this forest? Are there blooming flowers on the forest floor? What different types of acorns and seed pods do you find on the forest floor?

Notable species: Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), white wood aster (Eurybia divaricata), green-and-gold (Chrysogonum virginianum)




Location: Between Hunter Hills and Washington Park and close to mile 3 on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, this photo station is located near Washington Park between Harwell Street NW and Lena Street NW.

Information: This meadow was planted with native grass species in spring of 2018. It was our first test plot we overseeded with native wildflower species. More blooms will appear year after year, as many wildflowers take several years from seed to develop before they bloom. This area also has many native mints. Do you happen to smell any in the air? How many different types of flowers can you count?

Notable species: mountain mint (Pycnanthemum pilosum), wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)




Location: Between Midtown and Virginia Highlands and close to mile 13.5 on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, this photo station is located between the Midtown Place shopping center and Greenwood Avenue NE.

Information: This site is a meadow restoration that used a special piece of equipment called a seed drill to plant native wildflower and grass seeds at the correct depth in the soil in the winter of 2020. These native grasses will help hold topsoil and slow erosion, provide habitat for birds and pollinators, and restore an ecosystem that once covered 90 million acres in the Southeast. Year after year, new plants will mature and the meadow will become healthier and healthier. Have you noticed a change in the landscape over the years? Between seasons?

Notable species: tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima), blanket flower (Gaillardia pulchella), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)




Location: Between Old Fourth Ward and Imman Park and close to mile 14.5 on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, this photo station is located near the Historic Fourth Ward Skatepark between John Lewis Freedom Park and Bernina Avenue.

Information: This site is a demonstration of a forest succession planted in 2014. Since then, the site has transitioned into a thicket of small tree species. Over time, overstory trees will move in and the forest will continue to mature into overstory habitat as the thicket species will slowly die out. Do you notice any new trees growing in the thicket?

Notable species: chickasaw plum (Prunus angustifolia), smooth sumac (Rhus glabra), loblolly pine (Pinus taeda)




Location: Located in the Reynoldstown neighborhood and close to mile 16 on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, this photo station is located near the Stumpery Garden between Kirkwood Avenue SE and Fulton Terrace SE.

Information: Meadows were once woven into the natural landscape across the Southeast. Various types of meadows and grasslands now cover 10% (at best) of what they once did. Not surprisingly, this affects our native plant and insect species that rely on prairie plants for survival. This meadow was planted in 2019, and to keep it from succeeding into a forest, we use mowing, hand weeding, and some careful application of herbicide. Did you see any butterflies in the meadow today? Stop and watch a flower and count how many pollinators visit it over a 5 minute period.

Notable species: butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa), blue mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum), little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium)




Location: Between the West End and Oakland City neighborhoods and close to mile 21 on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum, this photo station is located just behind Monday Night Garage on a bridge passing over the bioretention pond between Lee Street and Donnelly Avenue Connections.

Information: This bioretention pond is designed to hold stormwater and let it filter slowly into the ground rather than piping it away. This large source of water provided the perfect conditions to plant more than 400 water-loving trees! These trees were planted between 2016 and 2018 and are managed as a restoration site. Already home to many species of birds and insects, these trees will continue to mature into a forest habitat. How many different species of trees can you spot? Have you noticed birds sitting on the branches hunting for food?

Notable species: tulip poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera), Mexican sycamore (Platanus mexicana), musclewood (Carpinus caroliniana)