“Save Water, Drink Wine” Supports Clean Water Initiatives In The Caribbean And Tennessee Valley

Thursday, January 9, 2014

“Save Water, Drink Wine,” will be held at the Barn Nursery on Feb. 8 as a fundraiser to support clean water initiatives in the Caribbean and Tennessee Valley.

This will be the ten year anniversary with Cindy and Jim Webster hosting at the Barn Nursery. Mary Beth Sutton founded Caribbean SEA in 2004 and works with kids and their communities across the Caribbean to help protect and conserve their watersheds, their water resources. 

Last year Caribbean SEA was honored by La Mer cosmetics with a donation to initiate the Kids 4 Coral program in St. Lucia.  St Lucia native and model, Shala Monroque, spent many days with the kids and then featured the Kids 4 Coral program in Vogue Magazine.  Early on they realized most Caribbean kids don’t swim and many fewer ever get to see the reefs which provide their food and protect their islands, so they started teaching snorkeling and oftentimes swimming, to the local children.  

More than 80 percent of the coral reefs in the Caribbean are dead or dying due to water pollution and climate change. Caribbean SEA trys to help communities reduce the stress on the reefs by reducing the land-based sources of pollution: sediment and sewage coming from the communities to the rivers.  Many places in the Caribbean don’t have sewage treatment or any controls for erosion.  Caribbean SEA works within the communities to help them deal with these problems. Caribbean SEA and many partners have worked together to install biogas digesters on farms in St. Lucia; develop constructed wetlands for sewage treatment at resorts and communities in Curacao, Dominica and St. Lucia; install toilets in villages in the Haitian mountains; and teach students at Kids 4 Clean Water Camps throughout the Caribbean.   

Several of her friends asked Ms. Sutton to bring her programs back to Tennessee as well, because water pollution is not only a Caribbean problem.  Here in the Tennessee Valley, the rivers and streams are also contaminated due to faulty sanitation systems, litter, erosion, and storm water runoff, said officials. The Southeast is a hotspot for aquatic biological diversity, and yet some of our waterways have become imperiled.  

That’s why Ms. Sutton expanded clean water programs to her hometown of Chattanooga five years ago through the creation of the Tennessee Student Environmental Alliance (TenneSEA). TenneSEA provides stormwater education programs, Clean Streams volunteer water monitoring, and summertime Kids 4 Clean Water camps as well as Green Infrastructure installations.  Thanks to local efforts, Red Bank High School students designed and constructed a rain garden last year and this year the kids at Skyuka Hall (formerly Scenic Land School) will have a stormwater wetland built behind their school to use as their own outdoor classroom.

Tickets to “Save Water, Drink Wine” are $40 per person and can be purchased online at www.caribbean-sea.org or at The Barn Nursery or The Gear Closet. For more information, call 413-0471 or email info@caribbean-sea.org. 

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