Many of us Chattanoogans appreciate our water, hanging out on the river, playing in creeks, kayaking, fishing, and paddle boarding. We should all also help take care of our water.
One way you can help is to come drink wine with us! The TenneSEA seventh annual Save Water, Drink Wine event is coming up on February 9 inside the lovely greenhouses of the Barn Nursery! This festive event will showcase six wine tables paired with yummy tapas, as well as a silent auction featuring local artisans. New this year is a BEER table, thanks to Hutton and Smith Brewery, as well as a blind wine tasting contest featuring a grand wine prize!
Guests will enjoy wine and food pairings while discussing local watershed issues and restoration efforts with partner organizations that include the Tennessee Aquarium, the Tennessee River Gorge Trust, Reflection Riding and the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway Alliance. You may purchase tickets in advance for $45 at www.caribbean-sea.org/ event/save-water-drink-wine-2019/ or for $50 the day of the event. All proceeds support clean water projects by Tennessee Student Environmental Alliance (TenneSEA).
TenneSEA (Student Environmental Alliance) is the local branch of Caribbean SEA, a non-profit, educational and environmental organization with a mission to empower students to lead their communities to protect and restore their local environment and take care of the water. This organization, founded and directed by Mary Beth Sutton, works both in the Caribbean and in Tennessee through collaborative watershed projects.
TenneSEA has worked for a long time to teach area kids to care for water through its Kids for Clean Water Camps and Stream Teams and has empowered students to do some great things! Some are participating in efforts to reduce litter, both through cleaning it up and encouraging folks to stop using single-use plastic. Students at Thrasher Elementary designed and helped construct a rain garden several years ago and are always ready to help recycle and pick up trash. Wauhatchie School and Ivy Academy students are tracking their water quality and macroinvertebrate diversity. They also received a major stormwater education during the massive flooding early this fall.
At Red Bank Elementary, students not only built a rain garden but also helped the engineers design the stream bank stabilization behind their school. At Red Bank High School, students installed live stakes and fascines to shore up stream banks. These students at Red Bank schools are learning how the diversity of life in the creek means a healthy creek … so much so that otters have moved back in to Mountain Creek! We LOVE that they have been seen in the creek, but we want them to stay!
So what can you do to help, besides drinking wine on February 9? Every person can take care of the water where they live. If each one of us were to infiltrate the rainwater that reached our homes and yards, it would make an incredible difference in the quality of water reaching our creeks.
Utilizing native plants will not only help our pollinators, it will reduce the chemicals reaching our water. Native plants also have deeper roots and will help reduce runoff better than a grassy lawn, so buffer your lawn with native plants. Add a bioswale or a rain garden. Make sure your driveways and downspouts don’t send water to the sewer or storm drains; rainwater should be infiltrated in your yard. Use rain barrels. For our creeks to be clean again, it will take us all working together.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Mary Beth Sutton