Festival Of Native Trees

December 2017

Call for Entries! 

Blue Heron Nature Preserve is the forest in the city, and we love our trees! Join us this December for our inaugural Festival of Native Trees.  To showcase the value of our native trees, we are decorating the living trees lining the trails at the Preserve.  We invite any member of our community to submit an entry to decorate a tree on our trail. Decorated trees will be showcased throughout December for our community to enjoy, and to vote on their favorite! The decorators of the winning tree will receive a prize package from Blue Heron Nature Preserve.  Read below for more details on what we are looking for and how to enter. 


What we are looking for:

Entries should emphasize one or more of the ways that live trees are valuable to life in the city of Atlanta.  This includes:
1. The ecosystem services provided by trees (These include, but are not limited to: providing shade, capturing rainwater and reducing flooding, producing oxygen, preventing erosion.)
2. The benefits to other organisms provided by trees (For example: food, shelter, and water for animals.)
3. How a tree has personally benefited an entrant (As a climbing tree, a place of shade for a nap or picnic, a spot to watch birds.)

For example, an entrant might focus on how a tree provides shade for their home or provides a home for native animals. For its inaugural year, Blue Heron will be highlighting the Paw Paw tree and our staff will decorate one of the specimens along our trail. Part of our decorations will include using natural objects to recreate the life cycle of the Zebra Swallowtail butterfly, an insect that relies on the Paw Paw for food and shelter.


How to Enter

Proposals will be accepted from now until November 15th, and accepted entries will be notified by November 20th. If your proposal is accepted, you must pay an fee of $15.00 for an individual or pair entry and $25.00 for a group (any entry over 3 people) to participate. We will have a showcase of all our decorated trees on December 9th, and invite the public to take the tour and enjoy the native trees of Atlanta! Refreshments will be provided. 


Guidelines for entry:

  1. Entry is open to people of all ages and abilities! Individual and group entries will be accepted. We encourage families, professional and amatuer artists, school groups, scout groups, or anyone else who wants to illustrate the value of trees to apply!

  2. Entries will be accepted until November 15th. You may submit more than one entry. To submit an entry:

    1. Provide a detailed sketch or written description of your decoration(s). Include dimensions (when appropriate), a list of materials you plan to use, and how you plan to attach the decorations to your tree without harming it. If your entry is accepted, Blue Heron will assign you a tree. You may specify if you want to decorate a specific species of tree, and we will do our best to accommodate your selection. However, we cannot guarantee entrants will get to decorate the specific species they request.

    2. You may email (preferred), mail, or drop off your entry. Email in pdf form to Mail to: Blue Heron Nature Preserve, c/o Amy Zvonar, 4055 Roswell Rd. Atlanta GA 30342. You may also drop it off at this address between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, M-F.

    3. If your entry is selected, you must pay a $15.00 entry fee (for individuals) or a $25.00 entry fee (for groups) in order to participate. Payment details will be provided to accepted entrants, and payment must be received by November 27th, 2017 in order to participate. 

  3. Entries will be judged based on several different criteria:

    1. Clearly identifying one or more ways a living tree is valuable to city life

    2. Use of materials that are natural, or will withstand outdoor exposure for 2 or more weeks

    3. Creativity: How unique are your decorations? Do you use materials in an unexpected way?

    4. Aesthetics: How beautiful is your overall design? How appealing are the individual decorations?

    5. Ability to convey educational information about the benefits of native trees to the general public.

  4. Accepted entries can decorate their trees starting November 29th. All decorations must be completely installed by December 8th.

  5. On December 9th, we will host a public event to celebrate the decorated trees. Members of the public will be invited to decorate 2 additional trees during this event. They will also have the chance to be the first to vote on their favorite tree!

  6. Decorations must stay up throughout the month of December for visitors to the Preserve to vote on their favorite tree. Prizes will include gift certificates to our outdoor education programming, Blue Heron t-shirts, and other Blue Heron Nature Preserve swag.

  7. All decorations must be completely removed by January 5th.

  8. Questions regarding submissions should be sent to Amy Zvonar at