From left, Blue Heron Executive Director Melody Harclerode talks with Allison Barnett of Park Pride. (Phil Mosier)

Blue Heron Nature Preserve has named a new executive director shortly after completing its internal Blueway trail system.

The group walks the trail in the Emma Wetlands. (Phil Mosier)

Melody Harclerode is the new director, replacing Kevin McCauley, who retired at year’s end. Harclerode previously served nearly three years as executive director of the Sandy Springs Conservancy. She is a past president of the Atlanta chapter of the American Institute of Architects and former director of programs at the Arabia Mountain Heritage Area Alliance in DeKalb County. She also writes an architecture column for Atlanta INtown, a sister publication of Reporter Newspapers.

Kevin McCauley, the former executive director, explains the plan to connect the Blueway to PATH400 and Chastain Park. (Phil Mosier)

Harclerode joined Blue Heron members for a tour of the Blueway trail on Jan. 26. Blue Heron recently completed work on the 3-mile internal section of the trail, following the installation of bridges in the Land O Lakes area, and it is now fully open to the public. The project took three years and $750,000 to complete.

The group pauses on a trail bridge. (Phil Mosier)

A second phase of the project, which would link the trail to Chastain Park and the PATH400 multiuse trail, is still in the works and has no current timeline, according to Blue Heron.

Lauren Reynolds, Blue Heron’s education coordinator, stands on a boardwalk section of the trail. (Phil Mosier)

Blue Heron consists of three distinct parcels of land totaling 30 acres. Its main entrance is at 4055 Roswell Road. It shares facilities with the Atlanta Audubon Society and the Amphibian Foundation. For more information, see