Students from the Howard School and staff and volunteers from the Lookout Mountain Conservancy (LMC) on Friday will begin “Environmental Connections,” described as "an environmental education and outdoor classroom project that will benefit the entire community."
Thanks to a grant from Tennessee American Water Company, LMC and Howard will focus on restoration of half an acre of land that is a steep kudzu- and trash-covered ravine draining to Chattanooga Creek and the Tennessee River.
Last year, LMC acquired a 7.1-acre tract on Cummings Highway and Old Wauhatchie Pike at the base of Lookout Mountain. The property, formerly owned by the Williams-Sexton family, adjoins the 3.5 acre John C. Wilson Park owned by Lookout Mountain Conservancy and maintained for public use.
“We are so thrilled to have an opportunity to work with students from the Howard School, one of several schools right in the neighborhood with close access to our park and trails,” said Mary Anne Williams, LMC board president. “One of our goals is to encourage a love of nature from an early age. Plus, it’s fun to get out of the classroom and see science in action.”
Ninth through twelfth graders from Howard will come to the area three times this fall to remove trash, and plant trees, shrubs, and water tolerant plants. Other dates for the outdoor classroom excursion are Friday, Nov. 2, and Friday, Nov. 16.
Robyn Carlton, CEO of the Lookout Mountain Conservancy and project coordinator, said, “Another exciting component of this project is our collaboration with the local Center for Mindful Living, non-sectarian educational organization, open to everyone, that offers affordable daily programs, courses, outreach, and retreats that nurture the innate wisdom and health in individuals and the community.
“An exciting part of this collaboration is the chance for the students from Howard to have an opportunity to continue thinking about their recent visit with Dr. Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson.”
The mission of Lookout Mountain Conservancy is to protect Lookout Mountain’s scenic, historic and ecological resources, through conservation, advocacy, recreation and education for current and future generations.
Callie Branham, Howard curriculum and instruction coordinator, said, “Through projects such as this, young people make important environmental connections between their lifestyle choices and the world around them.
“By taking Howard students into the field and showing them how water quality will be improved through harmful trash removal from the water source, how kudzu prevents trees, shrubs, and other plants from growing, and by planting appropriate vegetation, water quality improves, from soil stability to pollutant uptake by root systems, they see the real impact of how we all can make a difference taking care of our environment.”
Lookout Mountain Conservancy was founded in 1991, and its focus area covers the full 93 miles of Lookout Mountain, from Hamilton County, Tennessee to Etowah County, Alabama. It provides environmental education and information to landowners and other interested parties about land conservation options. And Lookout Mountain Conservancy promotes greenway development and conservation planning.
For more information about LMC and the “Environmental Connections” project, contact Robyn Carlton at 423-322-8053 or visit the website www.lookoutmountainconservancy.org.