town view: Ralph McGill

Situated at the corner of North Campbell Station Road and the west Farragut High School entrance, the Farragut Outdoor Classroom has provided valuable, hands-on learning experiences for dozens of youth and adults since it opened in late 2014. The fruits of the labor done at the site also have benefited those less fortunate in our community.

This Capital Invest-ment Program project features native plants true to East Tennessee and a variety of water quality demonstrations including rainwater harvesting via a cistern, permeable pavers and a rain garden. The site also has a covered pavilion — with wood picnic tables built by local Eagle Scout candidates — that provides a location for students to enjoy outdoor classes.

Thousands drive by the Outdoor Classroom on a daily basis, and some may wonder exactly how this space is being used. Following are some of the current projects it’s hosting:

• One Year Down the Drain: Turkey Creek

Started September 2015, this year-long stream cleanup program encourages informal conversations regarding stormwater and water quality. Trash collected from Turkey Creek is stored at the Outdoor Classroom as a public demonstration of the volume and variety of waste that litters our local waterways. Volunteers include Pellissippi State Com-munity College, The University of Tennessee, Boy/Girl Scout troops, local schools and the CAC AmeriCorps program. At the end of the year, the waste will be used to create art with any excess waste properly disposed of or recycled.

• Edible Gardening

This effort is a collaboration between the Town’s stormwater and sustainability programs and originated with a grant from the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association. Girl Scout Cadette Troop 20369, Girl Scout Brownie Troop 20896 and Cub Scout Troop 444 manage and maintain several planter beds growing Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, broccoli and lettuce. Approximately 17 pounds of vegetables have been harvested and delivered to the Shepherd of Hope Food Pantry at Faith Lutheran Church.

• Farragut High School Senior Research Project

Farragut High School senior Caroline Stephens is working with Dr. Joanne Logan (UT Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science) to complete a senior research project using the Outdoor Classroom. With direction from Logan, Stephens captures data via GPS to measure and map various site features. She also collects soil samples and tests infiltration rates to estimate the volume of water the site can capture during a rain event.

Are you intrigued and interested in being involved? Visit for more information.

The town of Farragut: Live Closer. Go Further.