Gardening for Wildlife means protecting the creek!

May is garden for wildlife month…..and that fits perfectly with our initiatives in Mountain Creek Watershed!  We are partnering with the Chattanooga Area Pollinator Partnership ( )and Red Bank Elementary with a nice grant from Tennessee American Water Company to create a pollinator flyway down the Mountain Creek valley to the Tennessee River.  It is our hope that our flyway will connect to the incredible area protected by the Tennessee River Gorge Trust to create an unimpeded connection to the River Gorge.  How? We are working to map and connect all of the parks and wetlands (thanks, Bill Raines!) and native plant gardens in everyone’s back yards (Check out the info from the national wildlife federation: ) along with the stream buffer zone corridor.  We need everyone’s help! Add native plants and reduce pesticide usage to encourage our pollinators! Let us know if you want to have your gardens as part of the flyway for birds and butterflies and other pollinators. You should also get your yard certified as a creek protecting yard (Check out! Let’s have MOUNTAIN CREEK be the first of many protected connectors for our pollinators! 

Sapelo Island Teacher’s Workshop has been funded by VW!

Thanks to VW Chattanooga, the Sapelo Island Teacher’s Workshop run by our wonderful Jim Watson is happening once again! Dates this year are June 8-12 and applications will be available soon. You must attend a meeting with Jim to be eligible to apply. We will let you know when the application meetings are as soon as we set them up!

2016 End of Year Appeal

It’s time to think about water. Our Southeastern streams dried up during this drought and many communities were on severe water restrictions. Our mountains burned. We are so thankful for these first rainy days in months, but our need to protect our water will never end. Will you help?

From elementary school students and cub scouts to Master’s Students, SEA invests much time, energy and enthusiasm to engage them to be better stewards of our water. Forest Kindergartners at Red Bank Elementary investigate “their” creek every day they are outside. When we first started working with this school, the students did not know the creek existed right in their own backyard. Now, they say it is “their” creek.   They were happy for the recent rain, but really wished the creek didn’t transform into a raging muddy river. As the kindergartners said, we need clean water so “more animals can live and drink water so they won’t die” and so we can “Save the crawdads!”

In San Mateo, Belize, there REALLY is NO away.  When they flush the toilet or sit in the outhouse, the waste drops directly under their home. The neighboring wealthy community of San Pedro uses San Mateo as their dump.  Want to guess what’s in their water?  We train San Mateo kids, like Myrna and her brother, Dixon, as citizen scientists at our Kids 4 Clean Water camp.  When we first met Myrna, she was a quiet 9 year old girl taking care of lots of siblings, particularly her youngest brother, whose body was covered with sores and ringworm. Now Myrna is 14 and one of our student leaders in San Mateo. This year, they got the attention of the Water Company and Red Cross when they presented their map of HOMES whose tap water was contaminated. Health concerns from dirty water are REAL in San Mateo, Belize.

From Belize to Chattanooga, water should be clean and available to all. That’s what our goal is and you can help us achieve it. Can you help Myrna and the Kindergarteners at Red Bank Elementary take care of our water? Please consider a donation this holiday season to help us provide clean water for others.

Thank you so much!
With best regards,
Mary Beth H. Sutton
Executive Director

Protect Mountain Creek Urban Wildlife Sanctuary and Outdoor Education Hot Spot

GREAT VW sponsored workshop on Sapelo Island!

Thanks to VW and our teacher leader, Jim Watson, we had a fantastic workshop on Sapelo Island. Check out the prezi and watch for more pictures. THANKS, VW!!

Prezi Link:

Thanks to USXPress and all our Bonnaroo Volunteers!

WHAT A WEEK!!  We started this week in the 95 degree sun working with Clean Vibes on our REcovery of reusable goods at Bonnaroo.  The rest of the week, we welcomed lots of new visitors to the shop and put together more tents than anyone thought possible!  Thanks so much to the volunteers who helped us in Manchester and at the shop, Manning, Mary Catherine, Rita, Mike H, Ginger, Michael, Rijn, Wenona, Heidi and Adeline, Corinne, Caleb, Vanessa (all the way from Bogota!!)  Bob, Cierra, Katie, Lizzie, Mary Taylor, India, Sean, and ESPECIALLY the amazing ladies, Mollie and Berry who always help coordinate this cleanup!!  MC, DJ, Manning, Caleb, Vanessa, and Natalie really helped out at the shop as well and Tyler coordinated volunteers.  Here’s the link from usxpress about our partnership: We couldn’t have done it without you all!


MesoAmerican Reef 2015

The 2015 report on MesoAmerican Reef Health shows some progress, but many sites are still in critical condition.  The MAR has more protected areas and more herbivorous fish, very important to control the algae that competes with the coral cover.  Get the info for yourself:

Mountain Creek Water Keepers at Skyuka Hall (formerly Scenic Land School)

About seven years ago, maybe even more, I had the honor of first bringing Kids for Clean Water activities to the then Scenic Land School.  I think I learned more than the kids during that first experience. This is an incredibly special place.  When we started working on further protecting Mountain Creek through stormwater green infrastructure, this was the school on which our model was based.  Nearly five years ago, we were awarded a non point source pollution abatement grant through the Tennessee Department of Agriculture.  With grant funds and matching, the grant totaled $153,000!!!  This week, we will celebrate the GRAND OPENING of a nearly one acre stormwater wetland partially designed by the Scenic Land School children with lots of help from Joe Sawyer, Leslie Jakobs, Mike Price, Matt Stovall and Matt Hamilton.  It all started with the kids.  And while the stated function is to treat stormwater running off the Four Squares parking lot and buildings, the wetland will really be the most amazing outdoor classroom for the now Skyuka Hall children as well as the greater community.  And everyone downstream will benefit.  The students even made a presentation to Bill Raines, owner of the property, about what they wanted to see in the wetland.  Their prime wish was for frogs and salamanders.  This spring we have seen thousands of tadpoles!!!  Congratulations to Mr. Raines for persevering through the ups and downs of this process to become a pioneer in our community for retro fitting with green infrastructure!!

Caribbean Beach Party this FRIDAY!!

Come join us for some Caribbean fun at the Bessie Smith Hall this Friday, May 1st.  Calypso band with steel drum music and good Caribbean food from Mrs. B’s Reggae Cafe, Dish T’ Pass, and Tom Kale’s amazing cooking skills!!  and yes, there will be rum.  and other libations, even a delicious and healthy fruit punch!

Wear your favorite tropical dress and come ready to have fun!