by Beth Stokes Clinton, member North West Unitarian Universalist Congregation (NWUUC)

On Saturday, Oct. 29, seventeen members of  NWUUC carpooled down to West Atlanta to enjoy a 26-acre “urban forest” outing with other Atlanta environmentalists and neighborhood volunteers at the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) Fall Festival. WAWA is a nonprofit organization promoting environmental and social justice in historically marginalized Atlanta neighborhoods. As part of its mission WAWA oversees a 26-acre nature preserve near the tributaries of the Chattahoochee River, and has an active “green” education program for adults and children. WAWA is one of NWUUC’s Green Sanctuary collaborative partners, sponsored by the Earth Ministry.

NWUUC members preparing the winter demonstration garden bed - at the top of WAWA's 26-acre forest.

The lively group from NWUUC helped till the ground for WAWA’s winter demonstration garden, lifting shovels, hefting hoes, pushing wheelbarrows, and raking the soil to prepare the garden plot, which is located near Oakland Avenue. They also hiked through the forest to the historic 1863 “Grandfather Beech Tree;”  learned the seven principles of responsible backpacking from a REI representative; and toured the Outdoor Activity Center’s bioponic farming demonstration, which uses fish waste in a closed system to produce vegetables.

Dave Zenner, Earth Ministry Team Leader, reported on the day’s events: “The great turnout from Northwest clearly demonstrated the depth of our commitment to partnering with WAWA in its important mission.  And we benefited from learning more about the ongoing needs of the nature preserve, as well as useful lessons in sustainable lifestyles.  We also began a discussion about the possibility of Northwest volunteers “adopting” a section of trail between the nature center and the Grandfather Beech. It was a fun, interesting and mutually beneficial outing.”

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