- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - Stephen Lyn Bales, editor

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Ijams installs new rainwater harvesting system

Collected rainwater is stored in a 1,550 gallon tank and used to water gardens in summer

Sustainability Report #7: Rainwater harvesting system

Capturing rainwater is not a new idea.  It is, in fact, a very ancient practice.  South Asia has practiced continuous rainwater collection for 8,000 years*. In many parts of the world ancient tanks, cisterns and other methods of collecting rainfall have been documented for centuries.  Changes in rainfall patterns, climate changes, and growing population contribute significantly to our need to better utilize fresh water sources.

In arid parts of the world, the reasons for collecting rainwater are obvious.  Extreme droughts like those in the 1930’s that contributed to the dust bowl are a great lesson and reminder of the dire implications of rain. My grandparents’ farm in west Texas has two tanks that are the pivot point of all discussions on the health of the farm.  These tanks, one for our cattle and one for the house, have been dry or almost dry for the past two decades.  Conserving water was never far from our minds.

Here, in East Tennessee however, as I sit inside on yet another rainy day, it is hard to imagine a shortage of water.  So, why collect rainwater?  Well sometimes too much of a good thing is not a good thing.  Surface runoff can contribute to erosion and pollution. One way to prevent this runoff is collect rainwater from our roofs.  

Ijams Nature Center has just installed its first rainwater harvesting system with the help of a local company called Rainwater Resources.  The system collects rain from approximately 1,125 sq. ft. of roof (or 4 of 6 downspouts) and holds it in a 1,550 gallon tank at the corner of the building.  This water will be used to irrigate our terrace gardens and any overflow will be routed into a water feature currently under construction. 

If you would like to know more about ways to harvest this valuable resource, visit www.rainwaterresources.com . Systems can be retrofitted or planned into new development and can qualify for LEED points.

- Story by Ben Nanny. Photo: Stephen Lyn Bales

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Ijams: things that go bump in the night bumped to Feb. 2

The icy cold fingers of winter 
have forced us to move our 
Ghost Hunting 101 and Paranormal activities to 
Saturday, February 2.

Call for more information: (865) 577-4717, x. 110. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Bruce McCarty, designer of Ijams Visitor Center, passes away

Ijams Visitor Center designed by Bruce McCarty

Ijams is saddened to learn of the passing of local architect Bruce McCarty. He was 92 and a good friend of the nature center.

"Bruce McCarty, Knoxville’s gentleman modernist, died, a few days after his 92nd birthday. Designer or co-designer of several of Knoxville’s largest, iconically modernistic buildings, McCarty also designed houses early in his career. Among them was a 1955 model home in West Hills, one astonishing at the time—its roof cantilevered from a core structure—that begat dozens of copies across the nation. McCarty had an extraordinary distinction for an architect: He lived to see one of his own creations, that peculiar house on West Hills Road, listed on the National Register of Historic Places," writes Metro Pulse writer Jack Neely.

In the mid-1990s, McCarty designed the Visitor Center at Ijams.

For more information go to Knox News.