About the Award
Established in 2010 by the Wylde Center and the City of Decatur, Georgia, the Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award annually recognizes an individual or organization making an extraordinary contribution to our community and its natural environment. This award is presented to those who demonstrate qualities held dear and embodied by Sally Wylde, the founder of the Wylde Center. She was an artist, environmentalist, activist, and educator whose work and life have inspired people of all ages to become better caretakers of the earth, of one another, and of themselves.
The Sally Wylde Cultivating Life award acknowledges an exceptional and lasting positive impact with efforts through many venues, such as nonprofit and service organizations, public agencies, schools, institutions, and faith communities.
About Sally Wylde
Sally Wylde was the founder of the Oakhurst Community Garden Project, now Wylde Center. She was committed to inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards through hands on gardening activities. She passed away in 2010. In her memory, this award was created.
Deadline: April 15, 2017
Nominations of individuals or organizations will be due on April 15. The recipient for the current year will be awarded at the Wylde Center Earth Day Festival held each April. Please use the attached form to nominate an individual or organization.
Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award application - Nominate an Environmental Hero!
Individuals and organizations working to make our planet a greener place to live.
Tanyard Creek Community Garden Founder Walter Kellar Named 2017 Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award Winner by the Wylde Center and City of Decatur
DECATUR – Decatur resident Walter Kellar has received the Wylde Center and City of Decatur’s 2017 Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award. Kellar was honored for conceiving and helping to create the TanyardCreekCommunityGarden on a creekside floodplain within the City of Decatur. The award is named for Sally Wylde, who passed away in 2010 and whose family was honored with the first award. Other previous winners include Louise Jackson, co-founder of the Oakhurst Garden, Greg Levine for his work with Trees Atlanta, sustainability leader Frank Burdette, Erin Johnson and the Morse family, who donated the Decatur property now known as Woodlands Garden.
Kellar owns a home that borders on a parcel of land owned by the City of Decatur and identified as an overflow area for periodic flooding of Tanyard Creek due to extreme rainfall. While the greenspace was maintained by the city, it was not utilized for any purpose other than to keep potential floodwater contained. Kellar approached the city and his neighbors with his idea of creating a community garden on the property.
“Walter held meetings in his home to organize a gardening group and enlisted a landscape architect neighbor to create a plan for the site,” said Leonard Thibadeau, who nominated Kellar for the award. “He created bylaws and disclaimers to meet the city’s requirements. Today, there are about 30 gardeners working in 30 gardening plots. The garden is completely organic and maintains a 25-foot natural buffer to the creek, per the city’s requirements. The garden and creek are home to hawks, owls, rabbits, otters, small fish and crayfish. In addition to the vegetables and flowers that are grown, blueberries, figs elderberries, blackberries, mayhaws and pawpaws have been planted and are flourishing.”
“Thanks to Walter’s idea and efforts, he and his neighbors have transformed an underused city greenspace into a beautiful and productive garden,” said Stephanie Van Parys, executive director of the WyldeCenter. “He and his neighbors have become a community of gardeners and have created a productive oasis in the heart of the city. Just as our founder Sally Wylde did in her own neighborhood, Walter has connected people and plants and exemplified the WyldeCenter’s mission of environmental stewardship. He is a perfect recipient for the Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award.”
Winnona Park Elementary School Volunteer Erin Johnson Named Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award Winner by the Wylde Center and City of Decatur
Decatur resident Erin Johnson has been selected to receive the Wylde Center and City of Decatur’s 2016 Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award. Johnson was honored for her volunteer efforts with the Winnona Park Elementary School Grounds Committee, Trees Atlanta and the Field of Greens Festival. The award is named for Sally Wylde, who passed away in 2010 and whose family was honored with the first award. Other previous winners include Louise Jackson, co-founder of the Oakhurst Garden, Greg Levine for his work with Trees Atlanta, sustainability leader Frank Burdette and the Morse family, who donated the Decatur property now known as Woodlands Garden.
“Erin has served as the Chairman of the Winnona Park Elementary School PTA Farm to School/School Garden committee since 2013,” said Laura Pitts, who nominated Johnson for the award. “Over the years she has led numerous workday events with parents and has engaged students by coordinating garden planting and tasting events. This year, Erin planned and led an expansion of the school’s butterfly garden with students and parents, and also coordinated the beautification of an area of the school’s grounds where many families walk their children. Erin also heads the school gardens at The Museum School of Avondale Estates, planning year-round food production and learning opportunities and creating a student garden club. The community is lucky to reap the benefits of Erin’s caring and knowledgeable leadership that serves as a bridge between Farm to School and the teaching community.
“Erin Johnson’s extensive student-focused volunteer work exemplifies the Wylde Center’s mission of cultivating environmental stewards through education,” said Stephanie Van Parys, executive director of the Wylde Center. “She understands the value of connecting people and plants so that her students understand where their food comes from. She engages the children and their parents through fun, hands-on activities, and is always willing to get her hands dirty. I believe Erin is exactly the kind of Decatur leader the Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award was created to honor.”
Pictured left to right: LeeAnn Harvey, Frank Burdette, Stephanie Van Parys, Lena Stevens
Frank Burdette Honored with the Wylde Center and City of Decatur’s Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award
Decatur resident Frank Burdette has been presented with the Wylde Center and City of Decatur’s 2015 Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award at a ceremony held in Decatur’s City Hall earlier this month. Burdette was honored for his over 10 years of volunteer service in the areas of sustainability and senior housing.
“Frank Burdette has a personal mission of sustainability,” said Lee Ann Harvey, lifelong community coordinator for Volunteer! Decatur, who nominated Burdette for the award. “More than a decade ago, he volunteered during the inaugural year of the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Project to provide home repairs and yard work for senior citizens. He quickly realized these homes not only required repairs, but also needed to be comfortable and affordable. He spent countless hours assessing the homes’ weatherization needs and enlisted friends at Southface Energy Institute to assist with weatherization during the MLK Service weekend, and was able to obtain discounted insulation for the most needy homes.”
Burdette has volunteered with the City of Decatur to assist with the DecaturWISE rebate program designed to help residents improve the efficiency of their homes and save money through rebates. He has taught a free energy efficiency workshop for homeowners and instructed MLK Service house captains on how to improve the energy efficiency of the homes they repaired.
“Frank’s tireless work on behalf of our community exemplifies the WyldeCenter’s mission of cultivating environmental stewards,” said Stephanie Van Parys, executive director of the WyldeCenter. “Frank understands the value of partnerships and takes the time to nurture new ideas and help grow them to become self-sustaining. He’s made a tremendous difference in our community and is an outstanding example of what can be accomplished with vision and commitment.”
The award is named for Sally Wylde, who passed away in 2010 and whose family was honored with the first award. Other previous winners include Louise Jackson, co-founder of the Oakhurst Garden, Greg Levine for his work with Trees Atlanta and the Morse family, who donated the Decatur property now known as Woodlands Garden.
Commissioner Patti Garrett (left), Mayor Pro Tem Kecia Cunningham (center), and Wyde Center Executive Director, Stephanie Van Parys (right) with Mrs. Louise Jackson (seated). Mrs. Jackson is the 2014 Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award recipient.
Long time Oakhurst resident Louise Jackson was presented with the 2014 Sally Wylde Cultivating Life Award at the city of Decatur and Wylde Center Earth Day celebration on Saturday at the Oakhurst Garden. Mrs. Jackson was honored as a founding member of the garden, along with Sally Wylde.
Mrs. Louise Jackson was instrumental in the founding of the Oakhurst Community Garden over 15 years ago. It all began when some students from the nearby school carelessly kicked over a number of her fabulous flowers and plants when walking home from school. Mrs. Jackson took the situation and turned it into a positive learning experience for everyone. She went to the principal of the school and discussed the incident, resolving to help nurture the students as opposed to punishing them for their actions. Mrs. Jackson and the students, over the course of the next year, planted, tended, nurtured and saw plants and flowers grow. The students learned a tremendous lesson about the earth; the ways of growing and cultivating; but moreso learned the lessons of wisdom and compassion and friendship of a lady whose flowers they had trampled.
From that humble beginning, Mrs. Jackson sought out the help of her friend Sally Wylde and together began to cultivate a larger vision for the community- a vision of a small piece of property where children from throughout the community/ neighborhood could come and learn to interact with the earth; plants; and with each other. And so began the long and rich history of what is now the Wylde Center.
“Thank you, Mrs. Jackson, for your courage; your wisdom; your insight; your willingness to trust in the goodness of youth and for being a Pillar of the community whose legacy continues to this day throughout the neighborhood and the city as a result of that original garden with Sally,” read the nomination form for the 2014 Award. ”Looking at the mission, vision, and values of the Wylde Center tells a great deal about our nominee Mrs. Jackson.”
The award is named for Sally, who passed away in 2010 and whose family was honored with the first award. Other prior winners include Greg Levine for his work with Trees Atlanta and the work Trees Atlanta has done in the Oakhurst community (such as establishing the Oakhurst Arboretum) and in Decatur. Last year’s winner was the Morse family who donated property that is now known as Woodlands Garden in Decatur.