April 17, 2012


Love the Earth?  Love whimsy? 
Or do you just love me?  
Whatever you answer, come out to EarthFest this Saturday from 10am-5pm to meet all of the fantastical creations above!  Check the link for more information!

April 13, 2012

Scavenger Spotlight - Latch the Tick

Kelly Crayfish was a hero.  Latch the Tick?  Well she's a hero too if you look up to those who look up to you for a particularly unsavory form of sustenance.  Nonetheless Latch has some interesting things to say to both two-legged and eight-legged folks at this year's EarthFest.

Name: Latch the Tick
HometownHemoglobin Heights
Occupation: Advice Columnist
Advocacy: Green Pest Management

Letters to Latch – An Advice Column

An Excerpt from the Hematophagy Herald, April 13th 2009

Hi Latch,
Long time fan, first time write in.  I have been reading your columns for years.  There’s simply no better advocate for the parasitic lifestyle than you.  Your piece on dorsal shield itch was uncompromising.  This brings me to my big question – with all of your great bloodsucking advice over the years why does it seem you are advocating for humans at this year’s EarthFest?  Don’t tell your loyal fans you have a taste for the mammalian way of life now.  Say it ain’t so Latch.

-         AB Negative Feelings in Arkansas

AB Negative,
Silly humans.  Have no fear AB, this tick would never advocate a non-parasitic, bi-pedal lifestyle.  It’s unnatural.  Besides, how silly would a tick look in 4 pairs of Crocs and a sun visor?
When it comes down to it AB, it’s all about keeping my hunger in check and protecting the humans from their own doing.  Like it or not we must share our lives with the humans one way or another – lurking in their gardens, joyriding on the backs of their pets, and quietly mocking them from our scenic woodland homes – waiting for the moment to dine.  As any good parasite will tell you – humans are our hosts.  We certainly don’t want to attend dinner parties with bad hosts do we?  That’s why I am teaming up with several other misunderstood creatures this year at EarthFest to speak about pest control that doesn’t pollute ours and their waterways, harm natural habitats, and create problems for our less civilized warm-blooded hosts. Don’t worry though, I will also be keeping a tally to rate this year’s level of juicyness among  humans to report back to the community.

Dear Latch,
After a close call with a human a couple of months ago I am afraid of commitment.  Since then I’ve just gone from dog to dog taking what I need then moving on whenever things start to get serious.  Maybe I’m scared or maybe I’m just waiting on the right human to come into my life.  There’s this girl who visits my local community garden to weed and spray around the vegetable plants.  I heard she’s a heartbreaker though.  I just don’t know if I’m ready to get attached so soon.  Any advice?
-Heartbeets in Tulsa

You have nothing to be ashamed of.  I’ve spent my fair share of outings with undesirables.  I once settled for-get this-a lizard.  Granted it was just a one-time thing but I’ll never sink so low again.  Count yourself and those dogs of yours lucky.  This is a hard world in which to find Mrs. Right  Ventricle.  Normally I’d encourage a reader to go for it but I don’t want to encourage leeching.  Get it?  Leeching? Parasites?  Groundwater?  I thought it was funny…
I’d wait for a girl who’s first inclination isn’t to grab the pesticide bottle.  Pesticide can be romanticide my friend.
Keep hungry,

April 12, 2012

Our Treeless Future Art Show

If you visited the Town Hall this week then you got a chance to see a few dozen interpretations of what trees mean to area 2nd-5th graders.  The 'Our Treeless Future' art project, facilitated by Lauren of our Parks and Leisure department and aided by our intern Jessica and myself, allowed these kids to dream up what a future without trees might look like.

We had a lot of great entries and working with the kids has been a highlight of my time working through the Town.  All of the children we worked with really understood the message.  I think the community can expect some young tree planters in the near future!

The display are in the rotunda.
Best in Show.
Impressive work considering how little time they had to create these.

All the kids did a fantastic job.
My personal favorite.  Check out that sense of perspective!

April 10, 2012

Scavenger Spotlight - Kelly Crayfish

Did Manic Marigold make you smile?  Did Despondent Daffodil bring you back down to earth?  Either way take a moment to let the heroic tale of Kelly Crayfish another whimsical character at this year's EarthFest.

Kelly Crayfish

HometownSediment Shoals
Occupation: Part-Time Legend
Advocacy: Water Quality

On a beautiful day she came our way, yes Kelly Crayfish came out to play. 
A life underwater was not for her,  so many things to see, the pine, the fir. 
As she crawled to shore much to her surprise, no friendly faces to greet, just the buzzing of flies.
No big trees loomed over, no shrubs on the ground, just brown open land, the green all cut down.
No roots to hold soil, no leaves to clean air, just loose plots of earth left open, left bare.
A few candy wrappers were all she could see, a couple of bottles, old cans, debris.
The flies buzzed so loud she turned her tail, but there it was, a sight, a smell.

The rain came down carrying with it the dirt, strange things it was bringing, loose papers, a shirt.
When the dirt washed down she saw what was at stake, a big mud puddle out of her beautiful lake.
She rushed underwater to warn all her folks, something bad was coming, no joshing, no hoax.
When they all stepped out to see the commotion, Kelly got an idea, it was put into motion.

Crayfish swam to the shore not empty handed, carrying seeds in their claws as Kelly commanded
Quickly they worked as the water did drain, but not once a complaint, not one groan of pain
The water got muddy as one might expect, but Kelly kept hoping they’d keep it in check
The weeks went by not able to see, but their hopes remained strong with the promise of trees

One by one the seeds started to sprout, and one by one the crayfish came out
An from the tribe came laughter and cheer, no more bad feelings when the sky was not clear
The trees held the soil with big heavy veins, no clouds of brown water the next time it rains
And Kelly had found the adventure she lacked,  known as  hero with her home still intact
The crayfish went back to just as they were, and Kelly had seen them, the pine, the fir.

April 9, 2012

First Friday

I'd like to extend a big thanks to everyone who came out to see me at the Emporium on Friday as part of the outreach promoting EarthFest. Not only did we get the chance to inform people about EarthFest, local environmental artwork was displayed, the recycled wetland sculptures were featured,  I got a chance to show off my recycling posters, and Francis the Judgement Unicorn made his big debut as a whimsical EarthFest character.

Though we didn't set out to raise money for Keep Knoxville Beautiful, people wanted to donate in order to take pictures with Francis.  Sure, why not?

Francis being fed a carrot from his whimsical counterpart Mother Earth.

My recycling posters + recycled wetland sculptures = win!
Unicorn Poster, EarthFest Poster, AND Dinosaur poster?!
Grace, the AmeriCorps Member for Keep Knoxville Beautiful, sports her First Friday wear.
Francis will be at the Kid's Area during EarthFest :)
Who is more excited about having their picture taken?  Tough call.

It was a unicorn kind of day.

Of Trash and Trees

River Rescue in Farragut this year was all about getting your hands dirty.  Not only did volunteers remove over 70 pounds of trash from Turkey Creek, over fifty native species of oak were planted along the riparian zone within Campbell Station Park thanks to a grant I won for the Town through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

I can't think of a better way to spend my birthday than getting my hands muddy planting trees, getting a helping hand from my parents, and spending my time near one of my true loves - Turkey Creek.

In the newspaper - three weeks in a row!

Helping to remove over 70lbs of trash from Turkey Creek is worth the price of having to wear  rubber waders.

These trees and I will share the same birthday!

Dad and Mom came out all the way from North Carolina to help plant some trees and wish me a happy birthday!

April 5, 2012

Scavenger Spotlight - Manic Marigold & Despondent Daffodil

On the heels of Lil' Cents comes Manic Marigold and his alter-ego Despondent Daffodil!  With a tender heart, MM & DD give us some insight into green gardening practices and the benefits of rain gardens.

Be sure to visit our flowery friend at EarthFest this year as he is a critical part of the whimsical scavenger hunt!

Manic Marigold/Despondent Daffodil
HometownOptimist Falls
Occupation: Life Coach
Advocacy: Green Gardening

Of Anther
Of Calyx
Of Petals
Of Leaves

Of chemical cocktails
And nutrient schemes

As water falls down
Infiltrate as we will
Beautiful rain gardens
Make a happy Daffodil

It’s a joyful thing
Despite being a shallow depression
Of native flowers and shrubs
For your backyard progression

Does as it will
Clogging up drainage
Rainwater to swill

Nutrient enrichment
does what you expect
leaving thick trails of algae
when left unchecked

Best management practices
Put into place
Leave big, goofy grins
On Marigold’s face

Invasives, erosion
And those un-green things
Leave Daffodil frowning
Even in Spring

Do what you can
All it takes to start
A couple of flowers
In your shopping cart

Come this spring
A rainwater troop
Infiltrating pollution
In one fell swoop