Storm Sewers “Waste” Water?

Rainbarrels capture rainfall via any downspout

This evening Chesnut Ecology Club Parent Sponsors Elizabeth Davis and Angela Renals attended a rainbarrel workshop given by the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper (UCR), an organization that protects the Chattahoochee. Far beyond presenting a simple “how-to” on rainbarrel construction (it really is so easy), UCR’s Bonny Putney opened our eyes to Atlanta’s watershed issues and how we can help conserve water. Did you know?

  • The Chattahoochee River watershed (which captures water from many creeks, streams, Lake Lanier, rainfall, etc. to supply all our water) is the smallest in the country serving a metropolitan (densely populated) area.
  • All of the lakes in Georgia are man-made to contain water for our consumption because otherwise it just flows downriver to the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Ideally rainwater is absorbed into the earth, soaking into a natural underground reservoir, and then seeps back into the river as water levels go down.
  • In our developed areas, rainwater rolls off concrete, pavement and bare earth, eventually finding its way to storm sewers that lead to the Chattahoochee. Rather than being naturally captured and stored underground for times of drought, this water empties into the Gulf before it can be absorbed into the earth (ultimately to supply our watershed).
  • Power plants use a lot of water (so energy efficiency = water conservation). For example, it takes two bathtubs of water to run your fridge for one day.
  • One sprinkler running for one hour uses 360 gallons of water!

UCR’s Bonny Putney did such a good job teaching us about our watershed, we had to invite her to our April 10th after-school ecology club meeting about the water cycle. She’ll be there!


  1. Watch “Tapped Out: The Drying Up of Atlanta” to learn about North Georgia’s water crisis and what you can do at home to help (
  2. Visit the Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper website ( for tips about water and energy conservation
  3. Get a rebate from Dekalb County when you replace your old toilet with a water-conserving toilet (

Georgia Organics’ Farm to School (F2S) Workshops for Teachers and Parents

If you are a teacher or parent interested in school gardens, how to cook with students in the classroom, and fresh healthy food as a valuable teaching tool, you may be interested in Georgia Organics’ upcoming Farm to School workshops:

The parents’ workshop is this Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.  The cost is $25 for Georgia Organics members and $30 for non-members.
The elementary school teachers’ workshop is Tuesday, Oct. 4 at Mary Lin Elementary School from 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.  This workshop is $50 for members and $55 for non-members.
Highlights include:
. Experiential lessons in the garden tied to Georgia Performance Standards
. Hands-on food activity and best practices for working with kids and food
. Background of Farm to School and ideas for building interest and support in your community
. A light, tasty breakfast and delicious, local lunch
. For the elementary teacher workshop, 1 PLU

Chesnut’s Radishes Have Sprouted!

Ms. Malone reports that the Kindergarteners’ radishes are coming up quickly and thickly!  She thinned them to give the hardiest seedlings room to grow by snipping crowded sprouts at the base, and slightly shifting others. By cutting away the extra sprouts instead of pulling them out, Ms. Malone avoided disturbing the fledgling roots of the radish seedlings she kept.
Chesnut Gardens Radishes sprout 2011

BEFORE: One week after planting, the Kindergarteners' radishes have sprouted

AFTER: Every other sprout is snipped away to give the remaining seedlings room to grow

Radish sprouts for lunch, from Chesnut Gardens 2011

Radish sprouts make a great sandwich topping

Those snipped sprouts certainly won’t go to waste! They make a tasty, healthy sandwich or pizza topping. Ms. Malone may offer a radish sprout tasting to the Kindergarten classes soon.

These lettuce varieties will thrive through the cool fall and into the winter

Also this week, third grade teacher and master gardener Ms. Ramo took two classes out to plant seven different kinds of lettuce: Batavian Endive (Escarole), Arugula, Red Romaine, Rouge d’Hiver, Buttercrunch, Black Seeded Simpson, and Freckles (Romaine).
Visitors to the gardens will notice that time-to-harvest information is posted by each row planted. Some vegetables, like radishes, are ready to eat within one month, while others, like cabbage or kale, require a bit more patience. But all will be fun to taste!

Fall Plantings at Chesnut

This gallery contains 7 photos.

As August turned to September, Chesnut parent Carissa Malone knew that, if Chesnut were to have a fall harvest, seeds needed to be sown. So she drew up a planting plan for five of Chesnut’s raised garden beds, gathered seeds and transplants, coordinated with Chesnut parent Andrew Hirst (who himself hauled in a truck bed […]