Atlanta's Cox Conserves Heroes

2016: Linda Cotten Taylor believes that park maintenance and improvement is everyone’s duty versus just a few individuals. She brought this belief to life by securing funding to make improvements at Chapel Hill Park that include a playground, fishing pier, fitness stations and signage. In addition to being the park’s lead fundraiser, she facilitates volunteer cleanups and works with the Parks Department on security issues. Her nonprofit of choice is Park Pride.

2015: Tom Branch transformed an overgrown space into Frazier Rowe Park. He has coordinated hundreds of volunteers to create a trail system and lead a forest restoration. The workdays bring families together and help the community participate in intergenerational activities like hiking, gardening, bird watching and outdoor enjoyment. His work is teaching future generations about community service and the importance of the environment. His nonprofit of choice is Park Pride.

2014: Bob Scott puts his lawnmower to use to create and maintain a new trail leading people to Peachtree Creek. Scott is building an urban refuge in the heart of metro Atlanta and sharing trail maps with neighbors to encourage outdoor activity. He brought neighbors together through a Georgia Conservancy Greenspace Visioning program, and they now have a shared goal to connect the BeltLine and Emory through five miles of walking trails. His nonprofit of choice is South Fork Conservancy. 

2013: John Gordon's volunteer work helps reduce crime, establish greenspace, clean up trash and empower residents for sustainable change. He leads the Teen Summer Clean Up Program where local teens help beautify the neighborhood. He also transformed a vacant lot into the English Avenue Community Urban Farm to provide greenspace and access to fresh produce. His nonprofit of choice is Friends of English Avenue.

2012: Donna Shearer was selected for saving the Hemlock trees in North Georgia. She leads education and treatment programs to protect the trees against the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid, an invasive insect. Her nonprofit of choice is Save Georgia’s Hemlocks.   

2011: Na'Taki Osborne-Jelks is spearheading efforts to revitalize a 26-acre urban forest preserve and nature center in the middle of a low-to-moderate income community in Southwest Atlanta. She has raised money and engaged hundreds of volunteers to manage the Outdoor Activity Center (OAC). She also led a 9-month visioning process to develop a new Master Plan to improve, enhance and ensure that the OAC meets the needs of the community. Her nonprofit of choice is West Atlanta Watershed Alliance.

2010: Angel Poventud is an avid volunteer who utilizes his grassroots network to advocate environmental movements and inspire others to become involved. His weekends are spent working on BeltLine clean-up projects and helping the group convert abandoned rail corridors into parks. When not volunteering for the BeltLine, he can be found planting and mulching with Trees Atlanta. His nonprofit of choice is Trees Atlanta.

2009: Don Wells is an avid advocate for conserving - and enjoying - the open spaces of the North Georgia Mountains. He designed and managed the creation of new recreation facilities at no cost to the state and involved counties. He also contributed to the creation of the Amicalola Falls handicap access trail, 18 miles of scenic trails and an interactive trail designed for a therapeutic riding program. Don makes it possible for people of all ages to enjoy the North Georgia Mountains. His nonprofit of choice is Mountain Stewards.  

Previous Finalists (names contain links to videos):