Monday, February 02, 2009

Hang On, Shoupi. Shoupi, Hang On.

Passing along a PSA from Camp Cookie:

Dear Friends,

How many times have you washed your car in the driveway and thought nothing of it? Too many, if you're like us, never considering where all those bubbles and chemicals went or their impact on the local landscape.

We mention the car-washing example as a simple introduction to a project we're involved with that has the potential for tremendous local impact. This project encompasses everything from educating people on environmental awareness to helping save the habitat of a creature on the brink of extinction.

Meet Orconectes shoupi, better known as the Nashville Crayfish. Once a native of many of our city's creeks, stream and rivers, it's now found only in the waters of Mill Creek, a waterway that feeds directly into the Cumberland River.

This endangered crustacean is threatened in a number of ways, including a major marina project and the general degradation of water quality upstream.

The Nashville Crayfish project was created as an effort to educate folks about storm drains and sewers and why certain activities, like washing your car in your driveway, can send detergents directly into our waterways.

Simply put, this ambitious project plans to place 10,000 educational door-hangers in neighborhoods and spray paint the hundreds of storm drain inlets and covers in the Mill Creek area. Specifically, it targets the drains that lead directly into Mill Creek, where water is not treated before entering the creeks and streams.

We learned about this project from our friend John Robbins, an aquarist at the Nashville Zoo, who is spearheading this effort. John can mobilize dozens of volunteers through the zoo, but he needs help raising money to buy materials. That's why we wanted to help.

What we like about this project is the immediate effect it can have in thwarting an imminent danger. The Nashville Crayfish is on the Federal Endangered Species list, and is part of the biodiversity that makes our state and waterways unique. Tennessee boasts more endemic species of fish than all of Europe combined. Moreover, Tennessee's waterways are home to more endemic mussel, fish, and crayfish species than anywhere else in North America.

Thank you in advance for your consideration. Any help you can offer would be so helpful and appreciated.


Suzanne and Jim Myers

For more information, please contact John Robbins at 615-833-1534 x161 or

Tax deductible donations may be sent directly to the Nashville Zoo and earmarked for the Nashville Crayfish Project:

John Robbins
The Nashville Zoo
3777 Nolensville Road
Nashville, TN 37211
Attn: Nashville Crayfish Project

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