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GreenGrace Team Seeks to Build a Modern-Day Ark

Modern-day ark blueprint concept

GreenGrace Team Seeks to Build a Modern-Day Ark

Chattanooga’s GreenGrace Endeavours to Counter Climate Change and Biodiversity Collapse

In a chilly, Sunday afternoon in late 2021, in Chattanooga, right before the winter solstice, a small group of climate-conscious individuals walked on the Brainerd Levee, the eastern end of the South Chickamauga Creek Greenway. The strong wind swirling around them like a sign, signaling the arrival of the new season. Among that group, Lisa Lemza and Kristina Shaneyfelt spoke about their intention to take action, concentrating locally, against the global challenges of climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

Lisa and Kristina lead the GreenGrace team at Grace Episcopal Church, focused on environmental stewardship. Their ambitious plan, urban in every sense of the word, is nothing short of creating a modern-day Ark.

The Modern-Day Ark – A Blueprint for the Future

GreenGrace’s latest initiative seeks to establish an urban arboretum, an oasis amid the cityscape, relying on native flora. The intention is not just to beautify the surroundings but to create a sanctuary of local biodiversity, fostering the growth of indigenous plants and vertebrates.

The team’s long-term vision is to transplant some of these plant species to different parts of the city, contributing to the overall local ecosystem. In effect, they aim to provide a haven for local wildlife which otherwise might find survival in the concrete jungle challenging.

The Arboretum Project – A Community Effort

The urban arboretum project comes as a testament to the grassroots initiative of Chattanooga’s residents. The GreenGrace team has set up informational displays mapping each tree species within the planned arboretum, inviting community members to learn about the unique local flora surrounding them and how each contributes to the ecosystem.

Moreover, GreenGrace has developed a working relationship with local schools, facilitating field trips where students can interact with nature, further promoting the importance of biodiversity. This educational initiative embodies GreenGrace’s ethos of nurturing a climate-conscious future generation.

Challenges on the Horizon

Implementing a project of this magnitude isn’t without its challenges. The delicate nature of the local ecosystem, and planning restrictions, present hurdle after hurdle. Yet, Lisa Lemza and Kristina Shaneyfelt remain undeterred, displaying a belief that the city’s survival depends on it.

As they walked the levee that winter day, witnessing the increasing signs of biodiversity collapse, Lisa and Kristina pledged to lead a transformative mission in favor of local biodiversity. On these local twigs and in the whispers of the Choctaw legend blooms a glimmer of hope: Chattanooga’s modern-day Ark.

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