The Sylva Herald recently featured coverage of LTLT partnering with Smoky Mountain High School on a hands-on learning stream restoration project.
Below is an excerpt from the article. Read the full piece here.
At first glance, the “stream” looks more like a ditch.
Trickling beside the Smoky Mountain High School baseball field, Bumgarner Branch doesn’t get much attention. But to Amanda Clapp’s ninth-grade science classes, it’s worth taking notice.
“When I began the water quality curriculum section with my students, they expected there was nothing living in that stream. But when I took them down there, they discovered a diverse community of fish, insects, snails and crayfish. In the fall, they said ‘if we can make the creek better, then maybe we’ll find more biodiversity,’ so we pursued it.”
Clapp spoke with the Land Trust for the Little Tennessee’s Citizen Science Program Manager Jason Meador, who offered to help teach the students how to improve the stream through “livestaking.” This practice of using poles created from branches of live native trees helps stabilize the soil near stream banks. As the poles grow into trees, they create shade and reduce sediment and pollutants in the water by holding the soil together, which makes the water cleaner. Meador says the trees help fish and birds too.