By Martha Michael
On the banks of hidden creeks which wind through the University of Georgia’s campus, UGA’s first mascot still reigns. Many students may remember that tidbit of trivia told to them by a tour guide on North Campus’s Herty Field, the original football field. Our beloved mascot has not always been a mighty English bulldog.
“Can anyone guess what animal it was?” the tour guide asks. “A bear? Lion? Mustang?” timid prospective students offer.
“A goat,” the tour guide says. Yes, really, a goat.
So it is fitting that since 2012 goats have yet again been making a name for themselves in Athens. But this time, the goats are doing more than serving as the rallying cry for UGA football. A herd of over 10 goats live in small patches of rare urban forest and streams that run through campus, eating invasive plant species and managing overgrowth as a sustainable alternative to herbicides and large mowing equipment.
This team of hardworking and insatiably hungry goats, aptly named the Chew Crew, were brought to campus with the help of a grant from the UGA Office of Sustainability. Zach Richardson, then a senior, was awarded the grant for his prescribed grazing proposal. Livestock like goats would remove exotic invasive plants and restore native forest adjacent to Tanyard Creek, which runs near the Hull Street parking deck.
Every spring and fall since 2012, the goats have been managing the landscape by eating plants such as the infamous kudzu, privet and English ivy. Before the Chew Crew arrives volunteers prep the area and clean up trash that would also be consumed by goats, who are known to eat anything, to prevent the garbage from being washed into the stream and polluting the water. This stream later empties into the North Oconee River – one of the main sources of drinking water for Athens – so the goats are doing their part to prevent endangering of a precious watershed, according to a story on the Crew by USA Today.
Furthermore, it is often hazardous for UGA to cut back plant growth and mow grass alongside stream banks – not to mention costly and less environmentally friendly due to fumes from equipment. With the assistance of the Chew Crew, UGA continues to make strides towards its 2020 Strategic Plan to “actively conserve resources, educate the campus community [and] influence positive action for people and the environment,” according to the Office of Sustainability.
This fall, the herd will be eating their way through the Driftmier Woods, a new Crew location near the Driftmier College of Engineering, and Tanyard Creek. "We hope to see our furry friends around early October," says Mary Howard, Office of Sustainability intern. "We were able to expand the scope of the Crew to Driftmier after being awarded the 2014 Ford C3 grant last year." This will be the third year the Crew will be placed at the Tanyard Creek site.
Richardson has since graduated, but the Crew is now herded up by Dr. Eric MacDonald, the faculty representative from the College of Environment and Design, as well as a team of Office of Sustainability interns. UGA students and interns Mary Howard and Devon Bullock work mainly with the Crew. Dave Hasslinger works with materials reuse to acquire construction materials to build fences, paddocks and exclosures. Corey Klawunder, the Complete Streets intern, helps survey site areas for the herd, and Emily Bilcik leads a new after school program for kids to work with the goats.
"The Chew Crew is a large project. We have our hands full for this semester," Howard says. "We actually have a pretty big team of people working to accomplish our goals. And of course, all the amazing volunteers and staff contacts who help us out all the time."
Anyone familiar with the Chew Crew knows the goats are friendly and have always shared a cheerful bleating with passersby during their time at Tanyard Creek. And because the Chew Crew was originally a student’s idea, the Office of Sustainability, Warnell School of Forestry and others involved with the herd, welcome any and all interest from UGA students.
Many Athens community members have been love-struck by the Crew as well. "We are always looking for more volunteers, and with two sites needing to get prepped before the goats come later this fall, we need all the help we can get!" Howard says.
This year, the Office of Sustainability approved another Ford C3 grant that helps fund an after school program for students from Barrow Elementary to work with the Chew Crew. This way young students can learn about eco-friendly restoration methods while enjoying the company of the most fun over-eaters.
Of all the green spaces on UGA’s campus, often the most important ones are those not easily seen. With another year of the Chew Crew’s help, UGA will not only continue to offer an entertaining stop for students on their way to class, but forge ahead in its “green” mission. Even by members of the UGA or Athens community simply noticing the presence of the goats, the Chew Crew raises awareness of environmentally responsible, alternative and fun measures to protect the hidden gems of forest and stream passed by every day.
By Precious Davis
Located right at the entrance to the Lamar Dodd School of Art is a beautiful grassland, which looks like a tree garden. However, its purpose is unknown to many students. This park is known as Lily Branch, named after the creek flowing through it. But this area has a shady secret hiding in plain sight; the secret is its extensive quantity of Ulmus Parvifolio, more commonly known as Chinese Elm.
Chinese Elm is a species of tree native to Asian countries such as China, Korea and Japan. Chinese Elm can reach 50 to 82 feet high and has a cinnamon colored bark. Although these trees are stunning to look at, they are potentially dangerous. It is thought that these trees may be an invasive species, however, this has not been scientifically proven.
An invasive species is a plant, animal or pathogen that is non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes, or is likely to cause, harm. Benjamin Liverman, project manager for the Office of University Architects and space management coordinator for the Office of Space Management, addresses this growing concern. He believes Lily Branch could be “ground zero” for studying the trees.
Initially, the Lamar Dodd School of Art was a parking lot, and the area that is now Lily Branch was essentially wilderness. It was full of the identified invasive species Ligustrum Sinense, or Chinese Privet, which is known for being a “problem” plant in other areas on UGA’s campus. Chinese Elm and Chinese Privet are two different species of the same origin but not in competition. This means they can grow together without one disturbing the other, just as native trees to southeast would do. At Lily Branch today, the Chinese Privet is no longer an issue. It was all cleared out during the building’s construction in order to bring attention to the creek that was hidden beneath it.
This leaves the Chinese Elm. They are fully grown trees that have been there for years. Aside from the few native trees there such as the water oaks, pecan tree, box elder and locust, the vast majority of trees are Chinese Elm. “Certain symbiotic relationships that can occur in an ecosystem…all disappear when you get rid of every species but one,” Liverman says. Chinese Elm trees aren’t contributing food sources for native animals, and therefore minimize the diversity or animal life in Lily Branch.
The probability of them being an invasive species comes from the way they reproduce. The seeds are dispersed by the wind and animals and carried downstream through the water. Invasive plants tend to grow where there is not much competition and lots of light. If you were to take a walk around the Lamar Dodd building and look at any low growing grassy area, you may see a small plant sprouting from the ground that looks different from the rest. It is highly likely that plant is Chinese Elm sapling. They tend to have spiky looking leaves and a dark reddish stem. They are vigorously rooted and compete aggressively for water, therefore hard to weed, and can take over an area easily. Some preventative measures were put into place to keep this from happening.
Athens-Clarke County recently noted on its tree species list that Chinese Elm are “showing signs of possible invasiveness,” and urges planters to limit planting until further notice. Lily Branch is not the most familiar part of UGA or even East Campus for that matter, so it is important to bring attention to this. There aren’t currently any provisions in place to combat the issue at Lily Branch. Liverman believes, “The more people like this area, and the more people use this area, the more people will want to improve it.”
When asked about what she would want to see Lily Branch used as, junior art major Iris Andres from Athens says, “The area will benefit from site specific work like things that can withstand the weather would be an interesting element.” One idea is to make that location a demonstration area for sculptures and other art works. Emily Brown, a senior photography major from Richmond Hill, thinks Lily Branch should be made into a recreational area. “Putting benches out there and clearing it out a bit would get people over there,” Brown says.
Lily Branch is admired because it is a beautiful and peaceful place. However, the Chinese Elms that dwell inside may pose a threat to the surrounding area. Student involvement is the primary resource for conserving the native plants that are there and bring recognition to this issue. There are many ideas for making use of the area but there are students who like it just the way it is. What the future holds for Lily Branch is uncertain, but if you have any ideas or plans for using the space you are strongly encouraged and welcome to do it. If not, just take a walk through whenever you’re on east campus; it’s a nice place to hang out.
By Carrie Mauldin
As you walk to class this fall, you may notice how well maintained and conditioned the University of Georgia’s roughly 600-acre campus is. Who or what is to thank for this work? The answer is the UGA Grounds Department, a subdivision of the Facilities Management Division.
The Grounds Department, which consists of about 100 employees and is directed by W. Brett Ganas, is in charge of many of the projects and day-to-day tasks that help keep the UGA campus looking its best. A normal day for the department consists of checking and regulating drainage systems, irrigation (which is run by a computer based system), general landscape and overall manicuring of trees, shrubs and flower gardens, as well as maintenance of the various bike lanes around campus.
“We have a really clean campus, and I was really surprised with it being considered a party school, especially since I’d never visited the campus before I came here. I think our groundskeeping does a really good job keeping the campus tidy,” says Marcaz Smith, a freshman biology and psychology major from Valdosta.
With football season in full swing, one of the main priorities is taking care of the trash left behind by tailgaters on Saturdays. Highly visible areas of the campus, such as parking lots and areas with high traffic, need to be heavily cleaned to ensure that no litter is present for the following week.
“The people throwing the trash down are here for the UGA football games, so they should be the ones who respect this campus. It’s amazing that almost all of the trash is cleaned up the next day. I don’t think we give the UGA groundskeepers the credit and respect they deserve,” says Jane Yandel, a freshman japanese studies major from Roswell, Georgia.
Another concern for the grounds department during football season is the constant monitoring for safety of visitors. This includes providing clear visibility for cars and pedestrians through warranting that there are no low-hanging branches or safety hazards on campus.
The UGA Grounds Department is heavily involved in a number of restoration and sustainability projects on campus and in the local Athens area, specifically the Tree Campus USA Program. This program provides $1 million worth of trees to UGA to plant so that they can properly maintain and expand the tree canopy on campus.
The Tree Campus USA Program has recognized UGA several years in a row for being good stewards of the tree population on campus. Other current projects include renovation of the UGA Visitor’s Center, the law school, and the Aderhold College of Education. Anyone who visited UGA this past summer may have noticed the department’s Arch Restoration program, a project designed to restore the historical and highly identifiable UGA Arch, located near the downtown area.
Other sustainability projects occurring within the department include involvement with Watershed UGA, a program focused on cleaning the local streams in Athens both effectively and efficiently. Involvement with Watershed UGA includes the installation of rain gardens throughout campus. A rain garden allows for water from rain and runoff to be filtered by numerous plants before it is allowed to re-enter the reservoir. It essentially provides a natural and low maintenance filtration system for all the runoff water from storms. The use of solar panels on campus is being put into use as well. Examples of this implementation include the solar tables located near Herty Field, where students can charge their phones or laptops on a sunny day.
Another primary responsibility of the grounds department is to oversee and approve newly proposed campus projects and assist various on-campus groups. The focus of approving new projects is to design and review them, as well as ensure that they will be maintainable. In regards to assisting on-campus groups, the Grounds Department collaborated with the UGA College of Environmental Design to help turn several parking spots downtown into small gardens to promote more green space and sustainability.
So the next time you’re at Herty Field, the Arch or casually walking about campus, take a moment to appreciate what the grounds department does to keep UGA looking beautiful.
By Sarah Dupuy
If the University of Georgia is the head of Athens, downtown is certainly its heart. Whether it’s to celebrate a big win between the hedges or stop for a coffee break between classes, most UGA students will spend some time downtown during their college career. Still, there is one part of downtown Athens that is often overlooked: the people who run the show. Ted’s Most Best, despite only being around for the past four years, is an Athens landmark with its strung-up light bulbs and bamboo forest right in the middle of Washington Street.
The story behind the restaurant’s name is heartbreaking, but it shows how much love went into the restaurant’s opening and its continued success. Jessica Green, who owns another Athens staple, The Grit, opened Ted’s Most Best with her friend Jay Totty. Ted was the name of Green’s husband who had passed away. When Green and Totty started tossing around the idea of opening a pizza joint, the name seemed like a perfect fit. Pedro De Paz has been working at Ted’s since its opening four years ago, and it’s the people that have kept him here for so long.
“My favorite thing about working at Ted’s?” De Paz says. “Definitely the people: the customers, the different kinds of people and their families. And just my bosses in general. They are some of the best people I’ve ever worked for in a restaurant. Employees that work here then leave, they always come back. But people leaving this place? Never really happens.”
In addition to pizza, which is made fresh starting with the dough, Ted’s has plenty of options for Italian-style comfort food. There are panini sandwiches, pasta, calzones and homemade cheesecake. And with over 40 possible toppings to choose from - pancetta to provolone - you’re sure to find something you love. Allie Parker is another long-time employee, and she can’t recommend their salads enough. “Our salads are very fresh. We use locally sourced arugula. They’re super filling for being salads, and they’re all really tasty and healthy.”
Ted’s Most Best does more than just churn out delicious Italian food. They give back to the community in both big and small ways. On Tuesdays, Ted’s Most Best hosts a bingo night, and every Sunday a band plays on their outdoor stage. During the fall, there’s pumpkin carving for the kids and space for local artists to display their crafts. Creature Comforts, a local brewery, is just around the corner from Ted’s. They offer local discounts to be used after a visiting the brewery. Finishing off a night of beer-tasting with pizza and friends is the perfect way to spend an evening in downtown Athens, all thanks to the wonderful people who work behind the scenes to ensure Ted’s is the best it can be.
By Carolynn Wall
We all have a love/hate relationship with Georgia weather, but one thing we can all agree on is when it gets hot, it’s hot. On the rare weekend without football, a concert or a trip back home, students seek ways to cool off and relax after a stressful week of classes.
UGA is just a few miles from the Broad River, the 60-mile tributary of the Savannah River. The Broad River Outpost, or “BRO,” is located just 23 miles from downtown Athens. They have been the original outfitter on the Broad since 1980. They offer kayak and canoe rentals, a five- or 10-mile scenic float for a more tranquil ride and a six-mile white water section for the adrenaline junkies.
Want to make a weekend out of it? The BRO even offers camping sites to make your stay last as long as desired with access to fire pits, picnic tables and hot showers. Plus, you won’t even have to worry about cooking, as the BRO houses the Wildcat Grill. There you can grab a BROburger, a SKINNYDIP salad, a KAYAKdog and more.
Junior finance major Aidan Rogers from Dunwoody has kayaked down the Broad on two occasions and says, “They were both pretty fun and great team bonding activities. There are a lot of cool places to stop and check out along the river. My favorite was Hippo Rock, which was this huge rock that we could all put our kayaks up on to. Towards the edge of the rock there’s a hole on the top of it where you can get in, go underwater, and swim out from the side.”
Looking for something a little closer to home? Don’t worry, the Big Dog’s On the River are right in your backyard. Founded in 2010 and located on the Middle Oconee River, the Big Dog’s On the River are approximately four miles away from downtown Athens, so basically you can roll out of bed and be on the river in about 10 minutes. From there, you grab your kayak and hop into the river for a three and a half mile long ride. “One of the things that makes us so desirable is our location,” owner Terry Stephens says. “You can be out in the water and back to downtown Athens in just 10 minutes.” You might want to consider this close-to-home destination for when it warms back up though because their season runs from May through the beginning of football season.
When you get back, you are greeted with a cabana that offers grills, restrooms, picnic tables, satellite TV, volleyball, yard games and even live music on some weekends. “We have lots of groups come through for team bonding from UGA Mens Tennis, UGA Track and Field and some of the football team,” Stephens says.
We’re lucky to be in a city that has the urban vibes to party on Friday nights and the natural scenes to kayak down a river on Saturday afternoon. Both the BRO and the Big Dog’s On the River offer affordable and fun ways for team bonding, social events or even just a lazy day with your best friends. So stop fearing the heat, grab a paddle and get on the river.
By Samantha Nagy
Fall is finally here, which means goodbye to stifling heat and physical exhaustion, and hello to cooler weather and crunchy leaves. With this delightful season back in full force, I can’t think of a better way to take advantage of it than by joining one of UGA’s diverse sports teams.
UGA has more sports than you can count on both hands, so sure enough there is something for everyone. Even if you’re not qualified to play on the varsity level, club sports and intramural sports can still feed your athletic appetite, as they offer a wide range of outdoor activities.
Spikeball, an ever increasing popular sport at the national level, is a fairly new addition to campus. The game is more or less a mixture of volleyball and foursquare, according to the official spikeball website.
UGA Spikeball Club creator, sophomore Connor Gibbs, says spikeball has not only become a competitive athletic match, but also a great way to bring students together. “My roommate and I got close from playing spikeball,” Gibbs says. “We got other people to play who had never played before and since then, we’ve always had a good time.” The spikeball club meets for matches every Sunday at 4 p.m. on Myers Quad. All students are welcome to join.
Rowing is another crowd-drawing sport on campus that students may not find everywhere. Rowing will most likely spark an interest to any of those who love the water, even if no prior experience is applicable.
Julie Johns, a junior cognitive science major from Leesburg, says her favorite part of rowing is spending time with her teammates. “My favorite part about the rowing team is its sense of camaraderie and how everyone just clicks,” Johns says. “The reward of a physical workout isn’t too bad either.”
The rowing team has four exciting events this fall, as its members have been traveling between Augusta and Chattanooga, and most recently, all the way up north to Boston, Massachusetts. Those interested in joining rowing need to come prepared with strength and determination. Tryouts take place during fall semester each year.
One of the most exclusive sports on campus is delegated to UGA’s Army ROTC members. Known as the Ranger Challenge team, this sport allows cadets to grow mentally and physically in extreme situations, such as grenade assault and creating a one-rope bridge, according to their official website, armyrotc.uga.edu.
Steven Holden, a junior engineering major from Leesburg, is an Army Ranger Challenger team member. He says nothing about the Ranger Challenge team is easy, but it is more than worth it. “I love everyone’s dedication and additional training,” Holden says. “It’s very difficult to get 20 guys up at five in the morning, so seeing that makes the team worth it.”
The Ranger Challenge team is the varsity sport of Army ROTC and acquires cadets who are capable of accepting intense challenges.
So while the weather is cool and people’s spirits are lifted, go out and join some kind of outdoor activity. You’ll meet new people, develop new skills, and most importantly, get involved.
By Kyla Brinkley
Many students prefer not to brave Athens’ capricious weather to study outdoors, especially after a long day of trudging to class. Maybe it’s too windy, too blisteringly hot, too wet or freezing cold outside. On a nice day, however, the perfect outdoor study spot can be a great way to get through some reading or simply relax and enjoy nature.
Mary Kahrs Warnell Memorial Garden
Just outside the Warnell Forestry building and the Ecology building is Warnell Gardens, complete with a stone walkway and a turtle pond. Many students can be found studying here even on hot days because the trees keep the area shady and cool, and the sound of the water is relaxing after a hectic day. On most Wednesdays, UGA’s Campus Bike Co-Op provides bike repairs and even bike safety classes in the garden. Maddie Green, a custodian from nearby Hardman Hall, passes through the garden every day. She is confident that “students come from south campus just to view the fish in the pond.”
Davison Life Sciences Complex/R.C. Wilson Pharmacy
The lawn in front of the Life Sciences building is often utilized as a spacious, secluded tailgating spot. However, it is also a prime study area for many science majors. Jessie Kim, a junior biology major from Lawrenceville, admitts that she doesn’t study at Life Sciences much because of the heat. She points out that “if you go towards Pharmacy, people are always lying down, reading a book or something.” The field at Pharmacy is a more popular study locale in general, but Kim emphasizes that “if you don’t have classes there, you probably don’t know about it.” She says that even if these buildings aren’t in your “neighborhood,” they are worth exploring before graduation.
Special Collections Library/Correll Hall
What is “New Terry?” Many students have found themselves lost in this area, unsure of its purpose but awed by the quad. The Terry College of Business is building a new learning community on the corners of Lumpkin Street and Baxter Street, and so far it has already created a prime study spot in the heart of campus. The well-manicured quad is surrounded by benches located right outside the stately, towering buildings that have been finished: Correll Hall and the Special Collections Library. Emily Kandzierski, a junior English major from Atlanta, enjoys fresh air and sunshine while studying. Kandzierski believes that students should spend more time at the New Terry green space, exclaiming, “Winter is coming! You have to get as much sun as you can.”
The green area in front of the Geography-Geology building is shady and cool and full of benches for students to catch up on reading or with each other. There are also nearby picnic tables that are perfect for getting a quick assignment done. Gian Cella, a sophomore geology major from Roswell, finds the area useful for “people who have classes in the area,” including geology, geography, chemistry and physics students. He finds the lawn useful to connect with fellow geology majors and other students, too, because they “learn to love the area.”
Lamar Dodd School of Art
There are countless green spaces both in and around the art school at East Campus. That’s right: even inside. Precious Davis, a junior journalism major from Mabelton, enjoys painting behind Lamar Dodd on the sidewalk, on the benches and on the lawn with other students. Many students sit on the large sculpture in the middle of the lawn. In the center of the modern, industrial building lies a courtyard with benches where students can wait for their next class or more often, work on projects. Lily Branch, a large wooded area next to the art building complete with a small stream is less popular, however. Davis feels that “the area is not utilized enough.” Because of the nearby bus stops, accessible parking, and dorms nearby, countless students can be found around Lamar Dodd throughout the day. “I don’t think enough people know about this area,” Davis says.
It is important to take advantage of our beautiful campus. Taking the time to explore may allow us to find the perfect study spot.
By Brittany Bowes
Within the 72 acres that make up Memorial Park in Athens, lies Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail. Anything but ordinary, Bear Hollow is a non-profit organization with free admission for all visitors. It is complete with several unique species of animals ranging from bears and beavers beavers to owls. Not only is there a unique variety of animals, but the animals are also all native to Georgia. Several of the animals have been injured or are unable to be taken care of by previous owners.
“We exhibit native Georgia wildlife that is non-releasable to the wild,” says Clint Murphy, the park coordinator at Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail. “We get our collection from some surrendered pets, mostly illegally held by the former owner, UGA wildlife vets and a few other organizations.”
An additional unique characteristic of Bear Hollow is that the staff consists completely of unpaid volunteers and interns who have a love for animals. With that said, the foundation of Bear Hollow Zoo is built upon a passion for protecting and conserving wildlife.
“I’ve always been passionate about animals, especially my pets, and it feels great being able to make a difference by caring for the animals here,” says Brooke Wallace, a junior mass media arts major and volunteer at Bear Hollow. Wallace has worked with a variety of animals including black bears, deer, opossums, bobcats and birds of prey. “I’ve experienced a lot of awesome things here, especially the time when I got to feed medicine to the new fawn” Wallace says.
Bear Hollow offers more than just viewing of the animals. They offer education to children about the wildlife. Christina Burts, a junior marine biology major and an animal education intern at Bear Hollow, shares some of her experiences and duties.
“I conduct live performances of some of the animals to the school groups that visit and teach the students about them,” Burts says. “We use the auditorium, and I bring a combination of three different animals at a time. For example, I’ll bring in an animal with scales, one with fur and one with feathers and teach the kids about the significance of each covering.”
Burts works with the smaller animals and reptiles as well, such as mallard ducks, snakes and smaller birds. "A large portion of our birds have been hit by cars and are severely injured,” Burts says. “Some animals have missing eyes or have been injured during castration. It makes me feel important to be able to care for animals that have been pained.”
Wallace and Burts, along with the rest of the volunteers are dedicated to helping wildlife in need. To all the animal lovers who haven’t yet experienced all that Bear Hollow Wildlife Trail has to offer, it’s definitely an experience that shouldn’t be passed up.
To learn more about Bear Hollow, visit www.athensclarkecounty.com/~bearhollow/ or check out their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/BearHollowZoo