Halls Outdoor Classroom Planting
Water Quality Forum partners have continued to combine efforts to develop the Halls Outdoor Classroom. One of the latest projects involved nearly 250 students from Mike Horner and Cindy Zachary’s 6th grade physical science classes at Halls Middle School. These students have been participating in the Knox County Adopt-A-Watershed (AAW) program since December, and after conducting visual, chemical, and bacteriological monitoring at the stream that runs through the outdoor classroom, the students concluded that the water quality of this Beaver Creek tributary could best be improved by expanding and enriching the riparian zone vegetation with native plant species. As a result, the students planted over 250 native plants from the TVA seedling distribution including river birch, witch hazel, hazel alder, buttonbush, indigobush, hackberry, and red maple in the floodplain of the Halls Outdoor Classroom.
While the 6th graders have focused primarily on the riparian zone vegetation of the outdoor classroom, Mike Blankenship’s Forestry class at Halls High School/ North Knox Vocational focused on a major feature of the outdoor classroom, the rain garden. Additionally, Kerri Coley’s life science classes will work this spring to improve wildlife habitat by installing bird boxes donated by TVA.
The CAC AmeriCorps Water Quality Team would like to especially thank the following Water Quality Forum partners. Melinda Watson of TVA selected several species suited for riparian zones and donated the seedlings for the planting. Daniel Horne and Colin Loring of Knox County Soil Conservation District prepared the students for the planting by discussing the numerous benefits of healthy riparian zones and a pertinent issue in Beaver Creek Watershed: flooding. Daniel Horne also purchased snacks for students during the work days. From Hallsdale-Powell Utility District, Stephanie Farrell loaned planting tools. Ruth Anne Hanahan and Tim Gangaware from UT Water Resources Research Center provided guidance and logistical support for AmeriCorps volunteers to conduct a successful planting project.