Gear Closet Extends Hours; Supports Clean Water Initiatives, Locally And Globally

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Gear Closet, in North Chattanooga, is extending its hours. It will be open six days a week, from Tuesday through Sunday from 12-6 p.m. each day. Earth Day gear drive can encourage the public to do some spring cleaning and donate or consign your old gear and clothing. There will also be a drop off available at Recycle Signal on Signal Mountain as part of the Recycle Challenge between Nolan and Thrasher Elementary Schools on April 26. Also on April 26, they will be at the Outdoor Expo and Gear Swap in conjunction with Outdoor Chattanooga in Coolidge Park. If needed, you can call to arrange large items to be picked up. 

The Gear Closet inventory is made up entirely of donated and consigned items which is relied upon to keep shelves stocked with outdoor gear which will in turn provide funding for the non-profit CaribbeanSEA & TenneSEA (Student Environmental Alliance) which encourages young people to lead the way to clean water. Officials said, "We will also be offering our Kids 4 Clean Water camps this summer, at four locations around the city.  Start digging through your closets and garages because your extra gear can help clean up our community’s water!"

Environmental scientist and educator Mary Beth Sutton founded Caribbean SEA 10 years ago in an effort to empower young people in the Caribbean countries such as St. Lucia, Dominica, Belize, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Curacao and Jamaica to care about and take action to protect their water.

“Tourism masks the extreme poverty in the Caribbean,” said Ms. Sutton. “That area of the world is often neglected because people only think about it in terms of tourism; however, the countries there are developing countries.”

More than 80 percent of the coral reefs in the Caribbean are dead or dying due to water pollution and climate change, Sutton explains. Caribbean SEA aims to reduce the stress on the reefs by reducing the land-based sources of pollution: sediment and sewage coming out the rivers.

“Many places in the Caribbean don’t have sewage treatment or controls for erosion or sewage,” said Ms. Sutton. “We work within the communities to help them deal with these problems. If our work is going to be sustainable, it has to start from within the community.

"Water pollution is not only a concern in the third-world countries of the Caribbean. Here in the Tennessee Valley, our rivers and streams are also contaminated due to faulty sanitation systems and pollution from industry. The Southeast is a hotspot for aquatic biological diversity, and yet our waterways have become some of the most imperiled ecosystems in the United States. That’s why 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, water monitoring activities for schools and communities, and Kids 4 Clean Water camp programs each summer."

  • Some recent Caribbean and Tennessee projects include:
  • Installing biogas digesters on farms in St. Lucia
  • Developing constructed wetland projects at resorts and communities in Curacao and Dominica
  • Installing green infrastructure for stormwater clean up with Red Bank High School and Thrasher Elementary School.
  • Teaching students at Kids 4 Clean Water Camps throughout the Caribbean

For more information, contact Mary Beth Sutton at 423 413-0471 or email

Tellico Hatchery Announces Winter Hours

Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency announced winter hours for the Tellico Hatchery in Tellico Plains. Holidays along with hours of daylight and alterations in operations are the primary reasons for changes. Fish eat less during colder months. This reason, along with a reduction of seasonal responsibilities such as mowing grass and hatchery upkeep, means fewer people on staff. ... (click for more)

Wildlife Officer Pete Geesling Honored In Veterans Day Observance Ceremony

Brandon “Pete” Geesling, a wildlife officer for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Warren County, was one of five veteran state employees recognized during a Veterans Day observance event held at the Tennessee Tower Plaza.     Previously, Mr. Geesling served as a sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was a combat engineer which included a deployment ... (click for more)

Christina Strickland, 35, Shot On Thursday

Christina Strickland, 35, was shot on Thursday.  Chattanooga Police were informed that a shooting victim had arrived by personal vehicle at a local hospital. A Violent Crimes investigator responded and interviewed her. She  suffered a single non-life threatening injury to the ankle. She  was unable to provide any information about her location when she was injured ... (click for more)

Family Escapes Early Morning House Fire

A home was damaged by fire early Thursday morning.  The Chattanooga Fire Department received a fire call at  3:48  a.m.  and responded to 1825 Dixon Street with four fire companies. The family inside the home was awakened by a passerby knocking at the door. All of them quickly made their way outside the home to safety.  Once firefighters ... (click for more)

An Extra Helping Of Gratitude

After being thankful for the grace of God, my family and good health, this year I have an extra helping of gratitude to live in a special place called Chattanooga.   We endured the trauma of terrorism on July 16 and emerged more united and stronger than ever before.  We claim our heritage and celebrate our diversity like no other city in America.  We honor our ... (click for more)

Why I Am Thankful, 2015

I can’t really remember when I first started this – sometime in the 1970s – but my favorite column every year comes during Thanksgiving when I literally pause and use my fingers to thank God for all His richest blessings. The year 2015 has been bountiful so here are just a few of the things I will carry in my heart as I take my place at today’s table: I AM THANKFUL that tomorrow, ... (click for more)