A rendering of the new garden building planned for the Oakhurst Garden in Decatur. (Courtesy Wylde Center)

Wylde Center is celebrating its first quarter-century by launching the public phase of its 25th anniversary capital campaign. 

The campaign’s goal is $2.89 million, which will be used to enhance existing infrastructure and create new spaces to expand its community and school programming at four of its five greenspaces: Oakhurst Garden, Edgewood Community Learning Garden, Hawk Hollow and Mulberry Fields. 

“Our capital improvements have been carefully planned to support current educational offerings and provide space and facilities for new ones,” said Stephanie Van Parys, executive director of The Wylde Center.  “We serve youth, families, individuals and seniors both onsite and in schools and senior centers.  The need for and interest in our educational programs far exceed our current facilities.  Thanks to our Board of Directors, under the leadership of Board Chairman Jill Wasserman, we have undertaken this very exciting and much-needed fundraising effort.  The early response from local government, foundations, corporations, our Board members, Wylde Center members and the general community has been extremely gratifying and exciting.”

Specific planned enhancements throughout the four greenspaces include:

  • Site improvement plans including a new pavilion and outdoor classrooms
  • Expanded restrooms and onsite amenities
  • Additional indoor classrooms, a teaching kitchen, chicken coop and play spaces
  • Enhanced entry points, sidewalks, walking trails and boardwalks
  • Water mitigation features, including bioswales and rain gardens
  • Future expansion at two lots recently purchased adjacent to Hawk Hollow in Atlanta

“Wylde Center was born when two Decatur neighbors, Sally Wylde and Louise Jackson, solved the problem of young school children walking through Ms. Jackson’s garden by inviting the children to become the garden’s caretakers,” said Van Parys.  “Through their kindness and encouragement, Sally and Louise lit a spark in these children and, unknowingly at the time, planted the seeds for what would become Wylde Center.  This is a true grass-roots organization that is nourished and supported at every level by the people we strive to serve.”

Van Parys said the campaign has already received “major gifts” from organizations, as well as more modest gifts from individuals and families. 

“We are grateful and honored by the support, and invite everyone to be a part of this exciting campaign as we usher in the next quarter-century and beyond of the Wylde Center,” she said.

To make a donation or find out more about Wylde Center, visit this link.

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.