The Lake Claire Community Land Trust, a 1.7-acre piece of land less than 10 minutes from campus, has been one of my favorite places in Atlanta since I discovered it in high school.

The Land Trust is a nonprofit that serves to preserve greenspace and foster community. The organization was created by community members in the 1970s and is still managed by community members today. The area features a playground, a pond, dozens of community garden beds, and more. There are tables and chairs scattered throughout the property to provide plenty of room for those in the neighborhood to enjoy the space. While it is a neighborhood-based organization, the Land Trust, also home to countless turtles, two ducks, and an emu named Big Lou, welcomes visitors from near and far alike. Before the pandemic, the community regularly hosted drum circles and community events at the Land Trust.

I have found the Land Trust to be a safe place I can go to clear my head, enjoy time outside, say hello to “Big Lou” the emu, and get work done before heading to class down the road. The Land Trust is a unique space because, with all the surrounding greenery and wildlife, it can almost feel like you’re in a forest somewhere until you look out at the skyline and see the skyscrapers standing just a few minutes away. This speaks to what is probably my favorite element of Atlanta, the “city in a forest.”

As a Geosciences (Urban Studies concentration) major with a special interest in sustainability and implementing greenspaces in cities, my “dream world” is one in which every neighborhood has a shared space such as the Land Trust dedicated to preserving wildlife, growing food, and promoting a sense of community.