Tennessee American Water and the City of Chattanooga announced Friday an environmental project at the Warner Park Bioretention Gardens. With funding from Tennessee American Water environmental grant for $3,500, the City has installed photo monitoring brackets and educational signs at the Gardens. The equipment allows the City to measure public engagement about stormwater and green infrastructure. The goal is to achieve a reduction in vandalism incidents, hours spent mitigating damage and trash accumulation.
"A core tenet of our Parks and Outdoors Plan is the idea that great cities are defined by great parks, and that starts with ensuring existing parks are well cared for," said Mayor Tim Kelly.
"We appreciate Tennessee American Water's support of this creative plan from our Department of Parks and Outdoors to enhance the Warner Park Bioretention Gardens and ensure it can continue to be enjoyed now and in the future."
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Zoo are also supporting the project.
UTC’s Dr. DeAnna Beasley has been engaging students to conduct science in the gardens with her ecology lab for three years. Through their education and outreach programs, the Zoo has provided input on the signage for the gardens to help further explain the function and benefits of green infrastructure.
“The purpose of our environmental grant program is to support projects like this that demonstrate collaboration between groups to find innovative solutions for watershed environmental sustainability,” said Tennessee American Water President Grant Evitts. “We are glad to partner with Chattanooga on this endeavor at the Gardens and increase engagement with the public on how we all play a part in protecting our water sources.”
Tennessee American Water’s annual Environmental Grant Program offers funding for environmental projects that improve, restore or protect the watersheds, surface water and groundwater supplies in local communities. The complete list of 2023 Tennessee American Water Environmental Grant recipients are:
• Camp Wildernest Wildlife Center, Inc - $1,500 to support essential needs of increased population of wildlife patients;
• City of Red Bank - $1,000 for community clean-up event of Stringer's Branch;
• Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center - $1,000 for a volunteer-driven clean-up of Lookout and Black Creeks;
• City of East Ridge - $1,000 for community clean-up event of Spring and South Chickamauga Creeks; and
• WaterWays - $3,500 for expansion of the Green Team program at Hixson High School.
In addition to the Tennessee American Water Environmental Grant recipients, the following organizations received funding for environmental projects from the American Water Charitable Foundation through their invitation-only Strategic Impact Grant:
• Lookout Mountain Conservancy - $3,500 to restore Calvin Donaldson Elementary School’s outdoor classroom that has been impacted by flooding; and
• Chattanooga Zoo - $2,400 to expand its collection of juvenile and hatchling hellbenders to continue its research of the hellbender population in the local waterways.