On any given day, passersby will see the park scattered with visitors. They walk their dog through the old growth forest we know as Deepdene, exercise enthusiasts run and walk along the paved pathways, cyclists make their way to work or to the Atlanta Beltline and children play endlessly in the oval grassy mead. 

Visitors to the Olmsted Linear Park get more than just being in the outdoors, they get to experience the grandeur of nature and wildlife in an urban setting. This linear park fosters healthier lifestyles, stronger communities and opportunities to create lifelong memories. And, that was precisely what Frederick Law Olmsted intended in his landscape designs— for people to enjoy open green spaces, to play among the trees and find tranquility in nature.

Since 1997, the Olmsted Linear Park Alliance’s (OLPA) mission has been to preserve and protect this treasure for everyone to enjoy today, and for future generations. Today, OLPA’s focus has turned to enhancing the historic park’s landscape features and nurturing its maturing trees. 

The 45-acres of Olmsted Linear Park are home to many iconic champion trees. These historic trees provide a beautiful green canopy in warmer months and offer sanctuary to many wildlife species throughout the year. One of the most well-known trees lives in front of Paideia School and is called “The Story Tree.” This majestic tree holds great fascination for children as they lounge around its gigantic trunk. 

On Friday, March 15, some 250 guests attended the Green & Gold Gala at Fernbank Museum of Natural History to celebrate the awe and grandeur of Olmsted Linear Park. OLPA’s 18th Annual Benefit Gala was a spectacular evening filled with delectable bites curated by Bold Catering, festive music and of course, dancing. Guests mingled with friends and neighbors as they competed to bid on international trips, vacation homes, fine wines and other delights in the live and online auctions. And, attendees raised over $65,000 to support the preservation of our park and the sustainability program to care for our magnificent trees. 

In the opening remarks, OLPA President Amy Howell and Vice-President Justin Critz presented the Frederick Law Olmsted Legacy Award to former OLPA President Jenny Fletcher in honor of her significant contributions to preserving this historic linear park. This year’s legacy award is a White Oak, donated by Boutte Tree, Inc., and will be planted in Dellwood Park. Special thanks and appreciation go out to OLPA Board Member and Gala Chair, Sydney Thompson, the Gala Committee and all our volunteers for their talent, time and resources to ensure guests had a fabulous experience.

OLPA thanks Fernbank Museum of Natural History as its Visionary Sponsor and many other sponsors and supporters including: Bold Catering, Keller Knapp Realty, Tunnell & Tunnell Landscape Architecture, Dorsey Alston Realty, Downing Park, GA ASLA, Paris & Associates, Boutte Tree, Inc., Decatur Package Store and SprintPrint. 

The Gala committee for 2024 includes Gala Chair, Sydney Thompson, Lynn Alexander, Jenny Fletcher, Beth Grashof, Miriam Gutman, Richard Henneman, Michelle Morris, Jennie Richardson, Carol Sleeth, Kate Seville, Kevin Steward, Sarah Catherine Tunkle and Danette Van Trump.

All gala photos by Randy McDow.