The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has presented TenneSEA with a check for $78,500 for their efforts to restore the Mountain Creek Watershed. The presentation took place at Red Bank Elementary School. The project includes developing an award program for watershed friendly homes and businesses, installing green infrastructure at a home and church, and working with partners to plan protection for the upper reaches of the Mountain Creek Watershed. 

TenneSEA is the local arm of Caribbean SEA, a Chattanooga-based environmental organization that collaborates with communities to teach children about their connection with nature and empower them to become environmental leaders who make changes from within. Their goal is to start with education and proceed to taking positive action for the watershed.

Caribbean SEA Executive Director Mary Beth Sutton loves working with the students at Red Bank. “After helping connect the teachers and students to the creek, the students now call it “their creek” and are passionate about taking care of it.”

The Red Bank Elementary School Stream Team is playing an integral role in the process. The fifth grade students had to apply for a position on the Stream when they were fourth graders. While they have spent part of their time learning more about Mountain Creek, part of their job is battling stream bank erosion. The Stream Team learned the engineering design process with TenneSEA educators and have been challenged to imagine solutions to the stream bank erosion next to the school.

Red Bank Elementary Principal Haley Brown said, "We strive to facilitate real-world learning for our students on a daily basis and to give them experiences that will allow them to find something in their life that they are passionate about. This project accomplishes both of these goals. Our STREAM Team students are committed to solving this real-world problem because it involves their creek and they are excited about the opportunity to present their solutions."

The project is slated for two years, with a program launch for the award system slated for late fall or winter.