2019-2020 CAC AmeriCorps members serving at Knox County Stormwater.
From clockwise from top left: Adam Weinzapfel, Briana Gladhill, Connal Boyd, and Ali Goodman.
The primary duty of the Knox County Stormwater CAC AmeriCorps members is to provide assistance to county staff in carrying out Knox County’s mission to provide our citizens with essential services, while exercising professionalism, enthusiasm, and creativity in the workplace. Here is a brief look at the Team's accomplishments, current projects and what they are looking forward to in the second half of their term.
Hey all! My name is Adam Weinzapfel. One accomplishment of mine that I am particularly proud of is developing a method of surveying the Knox County Engineering and Public Works Campus. This survey allows us to inspect areas on the campus that are prone to pollution and record whether action is required. This inspection helps us keep pollution from reaching neighboring Second Creek, and creates a means of tracking our progress towards making our workplace even more environmentally friendly.
At this time, I am assisting East Knox Elementary in their revitalization of the outdoor learning area by producing marketing materials to encourage the community to get involved. My goal is to produce a quick and informative video that explains the outdoor learning space at the school, and the many benefits that this opportunity offers to East Knox’s students. We believe that by bringing nature into the learning environments of these children, then we can help them be healthier, both physically and mentally, while fostering an appreciation for our natural environment.
I am currently involved in the planning of this year’s Waterfest, whose theme is ‘From Mountain to Fountain’ (A theme that I came up with). This yearly event helps give our youth the opportunity to get out of the classroom and into nature, while teaching environmental principles in an active and entertaining way. This festival, along with the art and poetry contest that accompanies it, not only acts as a welcome means of education, but as an opportunity for creative expression and fun. Learn more about Waterfest in the article printed in this newsletter.
Hello! My name is Briana Gladhill. One of my and Ali Goodman’s big accomplishment’s this year was developing an educational framework to go along with the children’s books that last year’s AmeriCorps Team created. We researched different methods of presenting on the water quality materials that were covered in the books, which include activities from Project WET, DIY craft activities to reduce plastic, and the BEETLES method (which gets children outside and out of the classroom). We hope to bring these lesson plans to classrooms throughout the county and also have developed curriculum for teachers to convey the material themselves.
Currently, I am working on updating Knox County’s Flood Insurance Brochure. The goal of this update is to make sure that our resident’s know that anyone in the county, regardless of if they’re in the floodplain, can have flood insurance. This is incredibly important in this area due to the increasing number of flood events and the fact that more than 20% of flood claims come from properties outside of the flood zone.
I have had the great pleasure of helping to plan Knox County’s Earth Day event this year. In partnership with Pellissippi Community College, we will be having a series of screenings of the film Hidden Rivers. I can’t wait to see all the hard work pay off and to bring this incredible film to the community! Find out more information here
Hello! My name is Connal Boyd. My biggest accomplishment so far has been my involvement with Knox County Stormwater Management’s dry weather screening program. This program seeks to locate and prevent illicit discharge such as dumping of used oil into catchbasins from entering county waterways. I have inspected 104 pipe outfalls so far this year, and I have planned several hundred additional inspections across 11 watersheds in Knox County.
I am currently assisting with the creation of a computer model that will allow Knox County Stormwater staff to better assess the health of watersheds around our county. When completed this model will be a great resource for prioritizing areas in need of restoration or protection!
I am looking forward to seeing the completion of the East Knox County Elementary school outdoor classroom project! I have been working with Knox County Stormwater Management and School staff to re-vamp the outdoor classroom behind the school and I’m excited to see the progress we will make in the coming months!
Hey everybody, Ali Goodman here. In December, we helped with rain garden construction in front of the North Knox Branch of the library. The entire construction of the rain garden happened in only two days. It was incredibly rewarding to be a part of the progress and to see how much can get done with a group of dedicated volunteers.
A main focus of mine is coordinating the routes and parking for each crew’s weekly stream survey. Visual stream assessments is a great way to get outside and get some hands on experience in the streams across the county.
This winter has been pretty mild so far, but I cannot overstate my excitement for spring and all off the fun outreach events we have planned. The next couple months are gearing up to be filled with stream cleanups, education events, and water quality festivities. I can’t wait to enjoy the warm weather by being out and about with the lovely people of Knox County. Specifically, the events on my mind, are Waterfest, Families in the Creek, the East Knox Elementary Natural Learning Area Celebration, and Cheers Clean Water Paddle-Off.