Photo by Dan Andrews.
Roy A. Arthur, Knox County Watershed Coordinator of Knox County Stormwater Management was on hand last Tuesday to dedicate Halls High School’s new cistern.

By Tasha Mahurin

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and Dr. Jim McIntyre, Superintendent of Knox County Schools, joined members of the Halls Outdoor Classroom Committee to dedicate a new greenhouse cistern at Halls High School last week.

“The new greenhouse cistern is an exciting project for agriculture students at Halls High School,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.

As the final project funded by a TN Department of Agriculture grant, the Beaver Creek Task Force installed the 1,500 gallon state-of-the-art cistern in the greenhouse located on the campus of Halls High School.  Formed in 1998, the Beaver Creek Task Force was founded to address the impacts of urbanization on the Beaver Creek Watershed- which includes the Gibbs and Karns communities. Halls High, which also lies along the watershed, has long advocated support for conservation and public education as it pertains to the endangered area.

“It will be used as a learning tool for the outdoor classroom, and would not have been possible without the hard work of the Beaver Creek Task Force and Adopt-A-Watershed program, a partnership between Knox County Stormwater Management and Knox County Schools,” Burchett added.

Developed by Rainwater Resources of Knoxville, the cistern will capture 34,000 gallons of rainwater a year for greenhouse irrigation and will be used as a learning tool at the school’s 3.3 acre outdoor classroom. Designed to capture and use rainwater from a greenhouse roof, the system supports scientific horticultural investigations by the schools agricultural studies program. Among other things, students will get to study plant growth using rain water versus treated municipal water. Students are currently using the water to help grow sweet banana peppers and habanero peppers.

The Adopt-a-Watershed program is a Knox County Schools program funded by Knox County Stormwater Management.  It is in its 18th year, and has served 125,000 students in various Knox County middle and high schools.