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Friends of GA State Parks needs you – and your camera – on September 24!

Friends of GA State Parks needs you – and your camera – on September 24!

By: Jenny Burdette.

Saturday, September 24, 2022, is National Public Lands Day. As part of commemorating this day, Friends of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites (Friends) hosts Your State Parks Day, a day when volunteers arrive at Parks throughout the state to participate in park projects and give back to the places that offer us a wonderful setting in which to enjoy nature. Friends is a Conservation Partner with GNPA and would love to have a photographer on hand at each park to record the efforts of the volunteers.

This year, Friends will launch a state-wide project, Project Blaze a Trail, where volunteers will remap all of the trails in Georgia’s State Parks to update the trail maps. Volunteers will track the mileage, log the terrain and difficulty of each trail, and re-blaze trails to make them easier to follow. Additionally, volunteers will perform trail maintenance and collect trash along the trails.

Along with Blaze a Trail, Friends chapters at many parks will also have other projects. Volunteers will help beautify areas around park offices and entrances, restore picnic tables, plant pollinator gardens, and a perform a variety of other tasks depending on individual Park needs.

Times may vary from park to park, but most participate from 9 AM to 2 PM. No problem if you have an afternoon commitment and need to leave a bit early. At some parks drinks and lunch will be provided and work usually stops between 12 and 1 when everyone gathers to eat. Entry into the Parks will be free for anyone volunteering, and there is usually a free t-shirt involved.

Friends is asking for photographers to take photos of the volunteers at work. Photos will be used on social media, in Friends publications and mailings, and may be archived to promote Your State Parks Day in future years. Our partners at Friends provide full photo credit to both the photographer and to GNPA whenever an image is used.

GNPA members are mostly nature photographers, not event or portrait photographers. However, Your State Parks Day is an easy event to shoot. Volunteers are glad to be there and love being photographed while they work. No special equipment is needed, just a camera. If you’re not there, someone will be taking photos with a cell phone – great for social media, but not so great for print purposes. Photographing this event is much like taking candid photos of your own family, including the group shots where someone is invariably looking in the wrong direction!

It’s a no-stress event.

Interested?? Please email Jenny Burdette at to get more information and/or sign up. She can provide more details on how to shoot the event, which park is near you, answer any questions, etc. Mark September 24 on your calendar and bring your camera to a state park for a fun morning!



Dahlonega Butterfly Farm

Dahlonega Butterfly Farm

Join host Jenny Burdette and the GNPA Gwinnett Chapter on FRI, AUG 26 · 9:30 AM EDT at the Dahlonega Butterfly Farm!

After watching the webinar with Kathy Adams Clark on photographing butterflies, let’s put those new skills to use at the Dahlonega Butterfly Farm (

You must be a paid GNPA member to attend this event. Not a member? Go to our website at to learn more about us and join. We’d love to have you! Members can register at Group size limited to 20.

Photograph butterflies in the 760 square foot conservatory at the Dahlonega Butterfly Farm. Visit the “containment room” where the butterflies are born and see the caterpillar habitat. We will also visit the outdoor gardens to photograph the flowers and, hopefully, the hummingbirds and butterflies that visit them. The Butterfly Farm also offers educational opportunities to learn more about the life cycle of butterflies and their role as pollinators.

IMPORTANT: We have the conservatory reserved for GNPA for the first half hour and the option to stay longer. The general public will be allowed to enter after 10:00 am.

It is VERY hot and VERY humid in the conservatory. We will enter in groups of 6-10 and then swap after 15 minutes. There is as much to shoot outside as there is inside the conservatory.

Equipment: Standard lens, short telephoto, and/or Macro. A long telephoto is useful for shooting in the garden outside. Tripods are awkward in the confined space, but maybe bring a Monopod, if you have one. Tripods will work in the outdoor areas.

Rates: Adult (Ages 13+): $9 | Senior (62+) and Military – $7
With 8 or more, we will get the group rate of $6 per person.

Bring water, sunscreen, hat, and insect repellent.

For more details click here!

State Botanical Garden of Georgia at UGA

State Botanical Garden of Georgia at UGA

On Sat, Aug 20th at 7:45 AM EDT join the Gwinnett Chapter on a hummingbird search at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens. Also on the morning’s agenda will be butterflies, anoles, frogs, bees, songbirds, dragonflies, and, of course, flowers.

We will also have an opportunity to participate in the Great GA Pollinator Census, if you would like. For more info on this event, go to

You must be a dues-paying member of GNPA to attend this event. Not a member? Go to to learn more about our organization and to join. Current members can learn more and register by clicking here. We look forward to meeting you!

State Botanical Garden of Georgia
2450 S. Milledge Ave., Athens, GA 30605
(706) 542-1244

We will meet in the Day Chapel Parking area, across for the Garden Club of Georgia building. As you drive in, just keep going until you dead-end at a small cul-de-sac type circle, and the parking area is on your left.

Photography equipment that may be useful – for the hummingbirds, butterflies, and other animals you will want your longest telephoto lens. For flowers, bring a short telephoto, macro, or Lensbaby. A tripod or monopod is helpful for holding a long telephoto lens as we wait for hummingbirds or for focus stacking on flowers.

There is no charge for admission to the gardens or for parking. However, I recommend making a small donation in the box inside the Visitor’s Center. There’s also some pretty awesome merchandise in the Gift Shop there!

Accessibility: All of the facilities and most display and theme gardens are accessible by wheelchair or motorized scooter. Exceptions include the Flower Garden, which includes changes in elevation, and the Native Flora Garden, which has natural mulch pathways.

Restroom availability: Restrooms are available in the Visitor Center (open at 9) and near the Children’s Garden. The Children’s Garden is a good distance from where we will park. To stop on the way in, I recommend the Quiktrip on the Oconee Connector, just off Hwy 316, and about 10-15 minutes from the gardens. (1240 Oconee Connector, Athens, GA 30606)

The Snack Shop is located in the Visitor Center and open from 10 – 3 on Saturday.

Other things to bring – water, sunscreen, hat, insect repellent, comfortable shoes for walking, rain gear if the weather looks iffy.

Group size: 20

To learn more visit:



Two Dates: 

July 29 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 am (Bonus opportunity – a little Lensbaby tutelage)

August 3 @ 7:00 am – 10:00 am

Summer is for sunflowers, so let’s meet at the sunflower field at Henderson’s Lakeside Farms in Cumming and photograph sunflowers. On the July 29th trip bring your Lensbaby if you have one, and we will have a few to borrow (Nikon and Canon mounts) if you just want to try one out under the tutelage of Anna Destefano. Anna will be available to help you get started and/or to answer any Lensbaby questions.

You must be a dues-paying member of GNPA to attend this event. Not a member? Go to to learn more about our organization and to join. We look forward to meeting you! Current member may click here to register.

Henderson’s Lakeside Farms
3055 Pilgrim Mill Road
Cumming, GA 30041 (Forsyth County)
Website –

Note: Apple maps may initially show this address as Suwanee.
Directions from metro Atlanta area: SR-400 North to Exit 16, Pilgrim Mill Road. Turn right on Pilgrim Mill Road (toward Lake Lanier). The sunflower field is on your left in just under 2 miles.

We will meet in the parking area at 7:00AM. At least some areas remain shaded until around 10AM, so we should have at least 3 hours to shoot.

Bring a short zoom lens, maybe a longer telephoto, a macro, a lensbaby … You can probably find a use for just about any lens here. A tripod will be useful if you plan to do any focus stacking.

Admission is $25 per car. Photographer pricing listed online and on social media refers to photographers bringing in clients to photograph with the flowers.

Group size: 25

Accessibility: The ground is soft, grassy, and very wet in the early morning.

Restroom availability: porta-potties on site

Bring water, sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat. If rain is forecast, bring rain gear for you and your equipment, although you will not be far from your car. The ground is very wet early in the morning, so waterproof footwear is recommended.

To learn more and to register visit