Do-It-Yourself Flood Prevention

Do-It-Yourself Flood Prevention

With all the snow and ice we had last week across the southeast, it seemed like everyone was talking again about the possibility of flooding here in Middle Tennessee. Anyone who has lived here five years or longer certainly has vivid memories of the May 2010 flood, which saw much of Nashville and the surrounding area under several feet of water. While the threat of something similar happening again anytime soon is pretty low (the 2010 flood was a 1000-year flood, meaning water levels that high are only likely to be seen once every thousand years, or that it has a 0.1% chance of happening in any given year), even the threat of high water prompts a worried reaction from most Nashvillians. Just this week, the Mayor’s Office released its long-term plan for protecting downtown from flooding, with the installation of additional flood walls and a pumping station set to happen in coming years. With all that in mind, here are a few things you can do at home to help ease flooding issues, no matter where you live!

1. Plant Trees

In the event of heavy rain, the banks of local creeks and rivers are often the most vulnerable places to flood damage, as they are the first places to bear the brunt of high water levels. Planting trees with strong root systems along waterways helps to prevent erosion and keep rivers and streams from widening during heavy rains. Though erosion is usually gradual, banks can erode very quickly in the event of severe flooding, causing significant damage to nearby property and creating a major threat for adjacent homes and businesses. Even if you don’t live near a waterway, planting a few trees still helps to mitigate flooding risks, as a thick tree canopy works to absorb rainfall and slow the flow of rain water into rivers and streams. Basically, you can’t go wrong planting a tree, so get out there and do it!

River Swale bank erosion
Planting trees can help prevent erosion like this along river banks. (via soil-net.com)

2. Install Rain Barrels

You may not know it, but Nashville is actually one of the rainiest cities in the United States, seeing more than 47 inches of rainfall in an average year, good for 10th on the list. If you’ve got a rain barrel (or two, or three, or…), then you don’t have to let all this perfectly good water go to waste! An inch of rainfall on 1000 square feet of rooftop produces roughly 600 gallons of water, and if you have a way to collect some of this water, you can use it around the house as you need it. Rain barrels most commonly come in 55-gallon sizes and can be placed below any gutter to collect runoff from your home. They’re pretty easy to install, and once you’ve got one set up, all you need to do is attach a garden hose to your barrel at any time to utilize the water you’ve collected to water your plants, wash your car, and more. Barrels can often be found on Craigslist, and can also be bought from our friends at the Cumberland River Compact, allowing you to support a good cause while you save some money on your water bill as well! If you’re the creative type, you can get crafty with your rain barrel and decorate it to make it double as nice piece of art for your yard. With spring rains just around the corner, there’s no better time to invest in a rain barrel!

GE DIGITAL CAMERA
A decorated rain barrel featuring some flamingos! Note the spout at the bottom left where you can attach a garden hose. (via galleryhip.com)

3. Create a Rain Garden

If you’ve got a real green thumb, then planting your own rain garden is a great way to prevent excess water runoff while also beautifying your yard. According to the Rain Garden Network, a rain garden is a “shallow depression that is planted with deep-rooted native plants and grasses.” These gardens can vary in size, shape and plant life, but should be placed near runoff sources like downspouts or large paved areas to have the greatest overall impact. Because rain gardens are sunk into the ground, they act as natural collection places for water during heavy rains, preventing that water from flowing into storm drains and local waterways, which can occasionally be overwhelmed during especially large downpours. By limiting the amount of runoff flowing down roadways and into storm drains, rain gardens also keep rain water cleaner, as this runoff often comes into contact with gasoline, oil, and other contaminants as it flows over paved surfaces. These gardens can be great landscaping features for your yard and are great educational tools as well!

How-Rain-Garden-works4
(via watershedcouncil.org)

Lucky for you, we’ve got a handful of opportunities coming up for you to learn more about rainwater and to do your part to protect Nashville from future flood damage! On Wednesday, March 4th, we’re partnering with Urban Green Lab and the Cumberland River Compact to host a rain barrel workshop, and we’ve also got local tree plantings coming up with both the Harpeth River Watershed Association (on March 14th) and Hands On Nashville (on March 21st). See y’all there!

– Matt (Team Green’s Event Coordinator)

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Our Feelings About Winter, Summed Up in 12 Pictures

Our Feelings About Winter, Summed Up in 12 Pictures

Now that the holidays are upon us, there’s no denying that winter is here to stay, at least for the next few months. To help keep you out of the cold, we’ve got several indoor events coming up while the weather is less than ideal, like our glassblowing workshop on December 12th, our free boot camp class on December 14th, and our holiday social on December 21st (there’s nothing like a few beers to keep you warm!). Need some extra convincing to join us indoors this winter? Maybe the emotional rollercoaster that is winter in Tennessee will do the trick:

1. We all know the initial excitement about winter, especially that first snow or hearing Christmas tunes on the radio.

snow elf
Via underachievingdomesticgoddess.blogspot.com

2. But unfortunately, this enthusiasm is always short-lived once you realize you you’re stuck inside for three months, unless you love the cold, wet weather.

gaffigan
Via myhectichome.com

3. Sure, there are some things to look forward to when camping in the winter.

s'more
Via arizonacamping.org

4. But it’ll never outweigh the misery you know you’ll probably encounter.

snow day fun
Via underachievingdomesticgoddess.blogspot.com

5. It seems like you’re never as prepared as you want to be for the cold.

fat-guy-who-wears-shorts-in-winter-meme-generator-20-degrees-better-put-on-my-winter-shorts-ce88db
Via car-memes.com

6. The weather is always unpredictable (especially in Nashville).

office space meme (1)
Via owned.com

7. And it always looks way more fun in magazines…

snow tent
Via panoramio.com

8. …than it does in real life.

snow tent buried
Via tarptent.com

9. So during a season when even inanimate objects look upset with the weather.

ANGRY-BBQ_o_95852
Via memecenter.com.

10. And you may feel like winter will never end.

winter-i-hate
Via blog.showpo.com

11. Just remember that winter in Tennessee…

hobbs
Stream crossing on our Hobb’s Cabin backpacking trip early last February.

12. Is still way better than winter in Buffalo.

buffalo
Via gizmodo.com

Still feeling extra hardy this winter? We’ve still got some outdoor events for you to try your hand at, including our Resolution Day Hike on New Year’s Day, and another great day hike to the BFCW on January 11th. Layer up, and we’ll see you there!

Stay warm and dry, and happy holidays y’all!

– Matt (Team Green’s Events Coordinator)

Don’t Leave Home Without These Essential Adventure Apps!

Don’t Leave Home Without These Essential Adventure Apps!

Life requires us to constantly be on the go. While many times our phones can distract us and waste our time, mobile apps can act as useful tools that make it easier to save time and access the outdoors from wherever we’re located. It’s our passion to connect you with the best trails, waterways and natural areas in Middle Tennessee and beyond, but when we can’t be there to do the trip with you, these mobile apps provide everything you need to work on getting outside on your own!

Local Outdoors

Record a walk, run or bike ride with NashVitality (free) to track your time, distance, pace and calories burned. NashVitality will guide you to all of Nashville’s greenways, trails and waterways. With the “Explore Near Me” and “News & Events” buttons, you can always be plugged in to the active outdoors community in Nashville.

Metro Parks (free) is a complete mobile guide to Percy and Edwin Warner Parks. Find immediate access to the natural history of the parks, an interactive map, news and events, and a photo gallery. Next time you head to Warner Parks, download this app to look out for specific plant species or find the perfect picnic table mid-hike.

With the B-Cycle (free) app, you will have no trouble finding the nearest B-Cycle station. Plan your bike ride ahead of time by checking the map for all of Nashville’s stations. The biggest advantage to having this app is that you will always know exactly how many available bikes and docks are at each B-Cycle station, meaning you’ll never end up bikeless or without a place to dock the bike you’re already riding!

National Adventure

All Trails (free) is like Yelp for hiking. All Trails has information on more than 50,000 trails across the country, so you will always be able to find the perfect route near you. Each trail has personal recommendations, reviews and photos. This app helps you create a wish list of trails and keep track of trails you have completed. All Trails also keeps you up to date on local hiking events.

Take part in protecting our wildlife with Project Noah (free), which helps you create a “mission” that others nearby can join. Each mission documents spotted wildlife and plant species. Discover innumerable organisms around the world and be on the lookout for endangered species in your area to photograph as part of this citizen-scientist project.

MotionX GPS ($1.99) will identify your location anywhere in the world on topographic and road maps. With a choice of nine maps, you are sure to find the graphic that matches your terrain. This app is worth the money because you can record your tracks for whatever sport, such as mountain biking or skiing, and replay your track in real-time. Check altitude, ascent, and descent. Mark waypoints and snap a photo to keep on your map. Some other impressive features include a compass, social media tools, and a personal tour guide via Wikipedia.

Map My Hike (free), which is much like the popular “Map My Run,” will track the pace, highest speed, split times, distance and calories burned on all of your hikes. A graph shows your pace at each elevation as well. The app features a nutrition calculator to count your calories consumed and burned, and how much water you need to stay hydrated through the end of your hike.

Chimani National Parks (free) is your mobile passport to the National Parks. This app will keep you from missing important monuments, memorials and historical sites. With a map and current news, this app is everything you need for traveling to these wonders of the world!

Feeling spontaneous? Reserve America Camping (free) is a helpful tool for finding camping grounds whether you need one in a month or tonight. Search sites in state, federal and private grounds across the U.S. and find photos and details on each site using this mobile app.

Eddie Bauer Adventure (free) is a well-rounded app every outdoors enthusiast needs. Choose the activity you want to do and the level of difficulty you desire, and then narrow your options down by time of day, distance from you, and whether you are bringing kids or a dog. The app will give you detailed guides with clear photos of the places that fit your description to help you discover your next adventure.

Outdoor Utilities

Coleman’s Camping Cookbook (free) has you covered for meal planning in the woods. With everything from breakfast burritos to s’mores, this cookbook makes it easy to amplify your camping meals so you won’t go hungry!

Sky View (free) is a simple app that allows you to point your phone at the sky to point out stars, constellations, satellites, and planets. We all know identifying celestial objects can be tough, so downloading this app means you’ll never be left stargazing again unsure of what exactly you’re looking at!

SAS Survival ($5.99) has been the go-to book for survival, but now the full text can be found in mobile form. This helpful app provides videos, photos of animal tracks, knots, poisonous and edible plants, a Morse Code signaling device, checklists, and a First Aid guide. While we still advise preparing for any extreme trek thoroughly beforehand, this app can be trusted to help protect you on your next excursion.

There is an overwhelming amount of weather apps out there, but Accu Weather (free) is a reliable source for minute-by-minute forecasts, animated radar, and more details than you could possibly need on the conditions in your location. Never get caught in the rain again!

You never know when you may need First Aid skills. If you are not First Aid certified, American Red Cross First Aid (free) will help you in case of an emergency. Videos, quizzes, and step-by-step guides will help give you a basic understanding of how to handle those backwoods medical emergencies.

Connect with Others

We know people who love the outdoors are the best kind of people. Yonder (free) connects you with people worldwide who share the same passion for an active outdoor lifestyle. Yonder is basically a fusion of Instagram with Google Maps that allows you to share your adventurous pics, get feedback, and look at other explorers’ photos before you head off to a new destination.

Suited to Your Activity

Bike Maps ($0.99) provides trails for city commuting or mountain biking. Never ride down a bad path again!

iTrail Map (free) keeps all of your mountain trail maps in one convenient place. Even better, now you can read trail maps paper-free.

Anyone who loves skiing needs Ski Tracks ($0.99). This app tells you everything about your runs, such as max speed, distance skied, your ascent and descent, max altitude, number of runs, temperatures and duration. Ski Tracks places these stats on a graph, as well as on a ski map so you can see how much of the mountain you covered.

Ski & Snow Report (free) is a clear guide to prepare you each morning before you hit the slopes. Check the number of lifts open, runs groomed, and amount of snowfall overnight to make the most of your time on the slopes.

Stay safe and catch the best waves with Surfline (free), which provides the latest conditions and forecasts across the globe.

Download the apps that fit your lifestyle and let us know how they worked out for you! If you need a little inspiration or a place to upload some fantastic pics to your new Yonder profile, join Team Green this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. for a moderate hike at Radnor Lake. For more details, see our event page.

– Kate (Team Green’s Summer Intern)