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

Sunday Farmers Market

Looking for produce grown without synthetic fertilizer and treatments? Look no further! SNC will be hosting a weekly farmers market starting in May 2024. Local farmers will offer produce, honey, frozen beef and chicken, eggs, mushrooms, and herb plants. For more information, contact Johnna Tuttle at jtuttle@snca.org.

Sundays 10am–2pm, May through October

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 environmental@snca.org for more information.

Saturday, Jan 6, 10am – noon
Saturday, Feb 3, 10am – noon
Saturday, Mar 2, 10am – noon

Saturday, Apr 6, 9am – noon
Thursday, May 9, 9am – noon

Thursday, June 13, 9am – 11am
Thursday, July 11, 9am – 11am
Thursday, August 8, 9am – 11am

Thursday, Sept 12, 9am – noon
Saturday, Oct 5, 9am – noon
Saturday, Nov 9, 9am – noon
Thursday, Dec 19, 9am – 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, April 26, 5:30-7pm
Friday, May 24, 5:30-7pm
Friday, June 14, 5:30-7pm
Friday, Sept 13, 5:30-7pm
Friday, Oct 18, 5:30-7pm

Preservation Discussions

If you have a passion for protecting the environment, views, historic sites and areas, join us! Learn about current issues and discuss how to impact our community in northeast Georgia. We meet in the Conference Room the 3rd Thursday every month, 5:30pm-7pm. For more information, contact Johnna Tuttle at jtuttle@snca.org.

Preservation Presentation Series

Streambank Restoration
Thursday, May 2, 10am–noon

How do we protect our steambanks from eroding? Heavy rainfall, agricultural practices, and development can sometimes lead to eroded streambanks. Learn about restoration and enhancement techniques that can reduce erosion, improve water quality and protect fish and other aquatic wildlife. Please register online.
Presenter: Joe Kirsch, Wildlife Biologist, Fish and Wildlife Service

Environmental Film Series

Learn, socialize, and discuss environmental issues. $10 donation includes a serving of popcorn and wine, beer or soft drink. Bring your own comfy camp chair or sit in one of our cushioned dining chairs in the Historic Gym.
Organizer: Johnna Tuttle, (706)878-3300, jtuttle@snca.org

"Roots So Deep"
Sunday, April 21, 2pm–4:30pm

"Roots So Deep (you can see the devil down there)" is a 4-part documentary series about inventive cattle farmers, their animals and land, and a group of maverick scientists, researching whether a type of cattle grazing that mimics the way bison once roamed the land, can be a tool for environmental health and climate change mitigation. Register Now

Fall Native Plant Sale

Saturday, September 28, 9am - noon
Fall is the best time to plant perennials! Give your plants time to root in and be ready to offer their benefits in the new year to come. Choose from seeds, wildflowers, grasses, vines, shrubs and trees native to northeast Georgia.

Contact Johnna Tuttle at environmental@snca.org for more information.
Plant List Native Seeds Growing information -->

Bring on the Pollinators!
August 24, 2024, 9am – noon

How can we invite pollinators to our gardens? Learn about plants that support specific pollinators, techniques to maximize pollinator habitat, and fascinating examples of pollinators in our area. Herbal tea will be served and guests can complete the annual "Pollinator Census" at the Native Peace Garden. $10 covers materials, resources and nectar (refreshing herbal beverages). In the Native Peace Garden, weather permitting.

Contact Johnna Tuttle at environmental@snca.org for more information.

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.