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

Series: Art in the Garden
with Art Therapist Alexandra Cosper, MS

All four of the classes in this series will take place in the Native Peace Garden, weather permitting.

1. Flower Pounding
June 17th, 10am - noon

To register Participants will receive one tea towel and one tote bag to decorate using flower pounding techniques. We will arrange various colorful flowers and leaves onto your "canvas" and pound them with hammers to transfer the color onto the fabric, creating beautiful designs. Options will be provided to embellish your designs, including embroidery thread & ink stamps.

  • Cost: $55 includes materials
  • Age appropriate: 12 years and older

2. Solar Prints
July 15th, 10am - noon

To register Join us as we use the power of the sun to create beautiful photographic prints. Participants will arrange various natural materials to create silhouettes of form on solar print paper. We will then use sunlight and water to develop these images, creating one of a kind art inspired by nature.

  • Cost: $55 includes materials
  • Age appropriate: 12 years and older

3. Prayer Flags for the Garden
August 5th, 10am - noon

To register Prayer flags, used by Buddhists and other cultures, are said to carry prayers and intentions via the wind, to be heard and answered. Join us as we create our own prayer flags for the garden, using natural fabrics, mixed media, paints, and other natural materials.

  • Cost: $55 includes materials
  • Age appropriate: 12 years and older

  • Cost: $55 includes materials
  • Age appropriate: 12 years and older

4. Watercolor & Pressed Flower Collage
September 9th, 10am - noon

To register Participants will be led in a watercolor painting tutorial and will be invited to try both naturally sourced and traditional watercolor paints. They will then use these paints and techniques, combined with pressed flowers and stamps to create a collage on a watercolor canvas or card.

  • Cost: $55 includes materials
  • Age appropriate: 12 years and older

Questions? Contact Garden Manager Johnna Tuttle at

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, July 8, 2023, 8:30am - 11am
Thursday, Aug 3, 2023, 8:30am - 11am
Thursday, Sept 7, 2023, 8:30am - 11am

Preservation Discussions

If you have a passion for protecting the environment, viewsheds, historic sites and areas, join us! Discuss and plan how to educate and impact our community in northeast Georgia.

Saturday, July 15, 2023, 5:30pm - 7pm
Thursday, Aug 17, 2023, 5:30pm - 7pm
Thursday, Sept 21, 2023, 5:30pm - 7pm

Community Yard Sale
July 15, 8am – 1pm

Recycle, re-use, re-think that velvet collage from 1975. One person's ready-to-be-released items may be the other's treasure waiting to be found! How it works: sign up online for a space, bring your stuff pre-priced with a way to display them, and watch those treasures find their next best home. A limited number of tables will be available for $10 rental. All sale items must be moved from the campus by 2pm. Consider donating some of your proceeds to your favorite local non-profit!

Contact Johnna Tuttle at for more information.

Upcoming Plant Sale

Fall Native Plant Sale

Saturday, September 30, 10am - 2pm
Purchase plants native to northeast Georgia. Native plants support local pollinators and wildlife and are adapted to the local climate. The sale will include a selection of trees, shrubs, perennial wildflowers and vines. A plant list will be available by September 1.

Contact Johnna Tuttle at for more information. Native Seeds Growing information

Bring on the Pollinators!
August 19, 2023, 9am – noon

Celebrate pollinators as we participate in the annual Pollinator Census and learn how to support them. Educational sessions will feature "Pollinator Bingo" where plants that support specific pollinators are discussed, and "Design with Pollinators in Mind." $10 covers materials, resources and nectar (refreshing herbal beverages). In the Native Peace Garden, weather permitting.

Holiday Stroll

Evenings from December 15 - January 6, 2024 5:30 - 8:00pm
Enjoy the Native Peace Garden gently decorated for the holidays.

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.