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Elachee Nature Science Center to host first inaugural tree festival Oct. 22

POSTED: October 20, 2016 11:04 a.m.
/Photos courtesy of Elachee Nature Science Center

Genevieve Summers of Dancing With Trees will supervise the tree-climbing experiences at Elachee Nature Science Center's North Georgia Tree Festival. Summers, above, helps a middle school student during a Camp Elachee tree-climbing adventure. Another camper, right, participates in the tree-climbing experience.

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Fall’s arrival inevitably leads to every kind of festival for each town. But one such festival is new to Gainesville.

Elachee Nature Science Center is branching out with its seasonal public event, the North Georgia Tree Festival.

The brand-new family-friendly environmental education event will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22 at 2125 Elachee Drive in Gainesville, off Atlanta Highway. Admission is $5 per person at the gate. Elachee members and children younger than 2 enter for free. No admission is charged to shop at the Elachee Tree Sale.

Sponsored by Murrayville Veterinary Clinic and The Fockele Garden Company, the nature encounters will celebrating the region’s foliage. And it will complement Elachee’s annual counterparts, Snake Day and Raptor Fest.

“We’re bringing together successful elements from other Elachee public events, along with some new twists, for one action-packed day at the Nature Center,” Elachee Natural Resources Manager Lee Irminger. “Visitors will have something fun to do for the day, and gain a better understanding of trees found in our preserve and their own backyards.”

Ongoing throughout the event, visitors may witness wood artisans at work, dangle high above the crowd, run along the trails or get crafty. Elachee’s nature educators will take visitors on guided tree identification hikes in Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve.

Every 45 minutes, Dancing With Trees will conduct guided tree-climbing experiences for children ages 8 and older. Participants may register early to secure their time slots at This adventure carries a fee of $30 per person and will require a signed waiver.

The North Georgia Tree Festival will also feature a “Kids Fun Run” for ages 3 to 10 at 11:30 a.m.

Area forestry representatives and master gardeners will be on hand to interact with guests. The following organizations participating are Georgia chapter of the American Chestnut Foundation, Georgia Forestry Commission, Hall County Master Gardeners, Georgia Forest Watch, Save Georgia Hemlocks and the University of Georgia’s College of Agriculture & Environmental Sciences-Entomology Department.

Held in conjunction with the festival will be Elachee’s Tree Sale. For gardening enthusiasts, it offers a selection of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs, including native azaleas.

To help new tree owners find planting and cultivation success, regional experts will facilitate a series of morning and afternoon tree and landscaping workshops. These will bracket the midday keynote workshop by Mark Fockele, partner of The Fockele Garden Co.

“A tree sale, like Elachee’s, that features native trees, is a project that benefits every living thing in our community,” said Robbie McCormac, Master Gardener and co-chair for Elachee’s 2016 Tree Sale. “The wild creatures that we enjoy and try to encourage may not be here in the future if we take away the food they eat and the places they use as homes.”

In addition, Elachee is starting a new autumn tradition — the Tree Party Benefit. This ticketed “pre-party” celebrates the launch of the North Georgia Tree Festival and will take place from 6:30-9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, on the patio overlooking the Chicopee Woods.

“I’m very glad Elachee is hosting this intimate and relaxed Tree Party fall gathering that puts a different spin on supporting Elachee while communing with nature and visiting with friends,” said Gale McKibbon, Elachee trustee and past committee chair of the longstanding Starlight Adventure Benefit.

Proceeds from the Tree Party Benefit, North Georgia Tree Festival and Tree Sale directly support Elachee Nature Science Center’s environmental education initiatives and conservation efforts.

For more information, visit


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