Vote for Glenn Legacki to Win Cox Conserves Hero 2021
Glenn Legacki Hopes to Win $50,000 for Trees Atlanta
The Cox Conserves Hero 2021 winner for the South region wants to fund a new community program for Trees Atlanta that will help homeowners remove English ivy from trees
Glenn Legacki has been named the 2021 Cox Conserves Hero South Region for the community impact of his volunteer work with Trees Atlanta. Glenn is now one of four regional winners competing in a public voting contest that runs nationwide from October 1 – 15, 2021. Cox Conserves Heroes is sponsored by Cox Enterprises and The Trust for Public Land, and the highest vote-getter wins a significant monetary prize for the nonprofit of their choice. Glenn Legacki is hoping to win $50,000 for his favorite local nonprofit, Trees Atlanta.
The public can vote once per day at coxconserveheros.com/vote from October 1 – 15.
Watch this video of Glenn Legacki talk about why his volunteer services for Trees Atlanta is making an impact in his community.
If he wins the national award, Glenn hopes that the prize money can be used by Trees Atlanta to roll out a community program to help homeowners remove invasive vines from their trees. Glenn thinks that the new program can help save mature trees that are overtaken by English ivy or kudzu, for example. Both of these invasive vines, and other aggressive plant species, can disrupt the ecological balance of natural areas, harm trees and kill them. A mass of invasive vines can crowd out sunlight on tree canopies, act like sails and catch strong winds, or carry excess weight that can increase opportunities for disease, rot, or structural compromise. Others may be compelled to remove English ivy once they find out that overgrown thickets of ivy are breeding grounds for mosquitoes, snakes, and rodents, and that the plant itself is toxic to animals.
Glenn Legacki has volunteered all his life, even served in the Peace Corps in Tanzania. As a self-described “outdoorsy” type, volunteering with Trees Atlanta was a natural fit for Glenn . He enrolled in the Trees Atlanta Certified Volunteer program for Forest Stewardship in October 2018. The program is open to anyone who wants to learn how to identify invasive plants, properly remove them, and select and plant native plant species that can restore the balance of the ecosystem. He participated the first year that Trees Atlanta offered the course, and when he graduated, Glenn was motivated to finish earning his “certification” by leading invasive removal volunteer groups.
Trees Atlanta’s 2021 Forest Stewardship program starts on Oct. 9.
Glenn Legacki was inspired to start organizing invasive removal projects in Gilliam Park, a city park located in the Atlanta neighborhood of Kirkwood. He lives nearby in East Lake, but Gilliam Park is part of his daily run. He couldn’t help but notice that most of the trees in this park were covered in English ivy, and now he could see that the forest floor was being choked out by invasive bamboo, thorny olive, and Chinese privet. Legacki decided that Gilliam Park would be the focus of his work and collaborated with Trees Atlanta staff to organize a way that he could lead regular monthly projects in Gilliam Park. Trees Atlanta helps to promote upcoming projects, recruit volunteers, and provides the tools for volunteers to use, but Legacki does the rest. Every first Saturday of the month, he welcomes volunteers on site, explains the importance and impact of the work, and trains new volunteers how to properly identify and remove the invasive species.
Although during the pandemic, it was harder to organize group projects, being outdoors allowed Glenn to continue volunteering and working to improve his forest stewardship skills. By the end of 2020, Glenn started working on Gilliam Park in earnest. This summer, volunteers were able to remove thorny vines on a trail through the park frequently used by kids headed to school or a nearby playfield on the other side. Glenn has hosted eight projects in Gilliam Park so far, where he and other volunteers have contributed over 300 hours of volunteer service. They work in the park on the first Saturday of each month.
Because he lives nearby and is already familiar with the neighborhood, his monthly projects in Gilliam Park have connected him more to his community and helped encourage other neighbors to get involved. He has become the neighborhood “expert” for all things “green” – whether about trees or conservation, the latter a subject he and his wife, Louisa Rochard, both are passionate about.
To support the work of volunteers like Glenn Legacki and Trees Atlanta, please vote online at coxconserveheros.com/vote (one vote per day) or sign up to learn more about the work of Trees Atlanta to protect and improve the urban forest throughout metro Atlanta.
Posted: October 1, 2021