Sautee Nacoochee, GA


Rich in Natural Heritage

Northeast Georgia is an ancient and ecologically complex area, rich in wildlife and one of the most diverse ecosystems in North America. Two millennia of Native American life were followed by two centuries of rapid change. Human settlement has impacted these mountains and their foothills. Protecting the plants and animals that call it home is critical to our future survival.

The Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys
A Preservation Study
by Allen D. Stovall, ASLA, 1982
Examine the Study documents

Environmental Stewardship and Preservation Program

Part of SNCA's mission is to preserve and protect our natural and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the larger community. The Sautee Nacoochee Center has long been a champion for the flora, fauna, habitats and viewscapes of the area. Environmental protection of these valleys was, in fact, a catalyst for the founding of the SNCA organization.

The Native Peace Garden is a major asset of the Environmental Stewardship and Preservation Program.
About the Native Peace Garden

Environmental Classes & Events

Native Peace Garden Work Days

Come help with weeding, planting, mulching and more. Meet fellow native plant enthusiasts and learn about native plants! Contact Garden Manager Johnna Tuttle at if you plan to attend.

Saturday, Oct 7, 9:00 – noon
Saturday, Nov 4, 2023, 9:00 – noon
Saturday, Dec 2, 2023, 9:00 – noon

Wine and Wildflowers

Come sit by the fire with neighbors at the Native Peace Garden. Enjoy a glass of wine or non-alcoholic beverage while sharing stories of appreciation of all things wild and wonderful in North Georgia. The evening will begin with plant lore about a plant native to North Georgia. Park at the Sautee Post office or the ball field, bring a camp chair and come enjoy!

Friday, November 10, 5:30 – 7pm
  Learn about “Winter Sowing,” a way of growing seeds in simple containers kept outdoors. See a demonstration and make your own starter jug. All materials provided.
Friday, December 8, 5:30 – 7pm

Winter Solstice

Thursday, December 21, 4-6pm
Bring in winter with warm drinks by the fire at the Native Peace Garden. Make a decoration from natural materials, hear a winter tale and solstice lore. Please bring a camp chair.

Holiday Stroll

Evenings from December 2 - January 6, 2024, dusk - 9pm
See our Native Peace Garden decorated for the holidays. Enjoy twinkling lights from dusk until 9:00 each night.

SNCA Gardens

Open from dawn until dusk, classes, tours and events are scheduled year round. Everyone is welcome!

Adaptive Garden
Adaptive Garden Adaptive Garden

Located next to the Cultural Center, this garden presents examples of adaptive gardening: a bench planter, a stacked block planter and a trug.

Heritage Garden
Native Peace Garden

This example of a slave garden presents the kind of garden that masters may have let slaves plant and tend near their dwellings. It provided supplemental food as well as materials for use and to trade.

Native Peace Garden
Native Peace Garden

The Native Peace Garden is a woodland garden behind the Sautee Post Office. The focal point is a White Oak tree estimated to be 200 years old. A local family donated the land it sits on in atonement to the native peoples of the valleys. The garden features plants native to north Georgia. It is a place for quiet reflection and learning. Staying on pathways (people and pets!) is appreciated.

Old Schoolhouse Gardens
Old Schoolhouse Gardens

Surrounding the 1928 Nacoochee Primary and High School building, these gardens are "teaching" gardens planted by the Soque Garden Club. As an ongoing project, Club members donate their time, expertise, and knowledge for the upkeep of the gardens, creating a learning environment for both members and the general public. Feel free to stop and chat. Members are always happy to talk about plants.

Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail Garden

This pollinator garden is part of a state-wide network of gardens providing habitat for Monarch and other butterflies.

SNCA Bluebird Trail

In 2021, SNCA started a bluebird trail (of four nesting boxes) along the central campus path near the Native Peace Garden. These natural wood boxes are mounted on poles six feet high. Two of them feature a clear plastic partition inside a box door marked “View,” so chicks can be viewed in their nest without disruption. But, of all the songbirds in the area why help bluebirds?

One factor is that the Eastern Bluebird is native to the Sautee and Nacoochee Valleys. As with the cultivation of native plants in our Native Peace Garden, the Center strives to preserve and encourage the area's natural environment. Providing bluebird boxes is consistent with that mission.

Across the Eastern U.S. the bluebird population fell drastically during the 20th century as its habitat shrank and competition from aggressive invasive species, especially the English sparrow, rose for cavity nesting sites. However, man-made nesting boxes are helping the bluebird population recover nicely.

Also, bluebirds are with us all year: males begin checking out potential nesting sites in mid-February. This species may fledge two or three broods through mid-August. Then, as the weather turns colder males seek winter berries in small flocks, and crowd into nest boxes to roost.


Finally, the male wears a brilliant blue feather coat year-round, complemented by his bright orange vest. If these native avians nest in our present boxes the SNCA bluebird trail may lengthen, and - even in bleakest winter - streaks of brilliant blue will increase across our campus.