First Conservation Project: A Walk Through Time

We woke up to clouds and a forecast that called for rain. Our planned hike and cleanup at Center Hill looked and sounded less and less appealing. After a quick vote, our crew decided to look into other options for the day. We spent the morning cleaning, preparing, and sorting through the required equipment for surveys that would begin the following day. Because it had not yet rained, we decided to gamble against the odds and spend the day at Bicentennial Capital Mall Park and local farmers market in downtown Nashville.

The Farmer’s Market has had a place in downtown Nashville since the 1800’s. To give you an idea as to the extent of it, the Market is said to cover about 16 acres of urban land. It is open year-round and is divided into 3 major sections. The Farm Side consists of two large covered sheds and a middle market area home to anywhere from five to one hundred farmers and other artisans and local merchants. Over the weekend, there is also a flea market with all sorts of independent craft persons and entrepreneurs. The third section is a Market House that offers nine restaurants and other merchants selling goods.

After exploring a bit, we strolled across the street with our freshly bought peaches to the Bicentennial Park. We started at the beginning of what is called the Pathway of History on the west side of the park. We took our time walking alongside a 1,400-foot detailing the history of Tennessee. It is engraved with geologic and historic events that have shaped Tennessee, beginning on 10,000 BC and extending to Tennessee’s 1996 Bicentennial. The wall ‘breaks’ around the time of the Civil War, in order to represent how much the state and nation was divided during that time period. Walking the Pathway of History put us in a unique physical relationship with the perspective of time where everything seems to be happening so quickly and so slowly.

About halfway through, we stopped and ate our lunches underneath a tree in the park. We had all walked the Wall at different paces and it was nice to reconvene and share with each other our thoughts and emotions toward the things we had read. It was clear, even at that point, that we all had a new appreciation for the state in which we are now living.

The next exhibit of the park we explored was the World War II Memorial. There is an 18,000 lb. granite globe floating on ⅛ inch of water! Displayed on the globe are the countries as they were during the war. You can actually turn the globe with your hands, which is pretty neat. On large slabs of granite around the globe are events such as the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the Battle of the Bulge. A short distance away from this is what’s known as the Carillon and Court of 3 Stars. The carillon, a collection of bells, contains 95 bells in 50 columns and represents the musical heritage of Tennessee. Every quarter of an hour the carillon plays a section of the song ‘Tennessee Waltz’. At the top of each hour the carillon plays the entire ‘Tennessee Waltz’, the strokes the hour, and then plays three more Tennessee related songs.

Unfortunately the Capital building was under construction as well as other parts of the park that had been damaged by a flood in 2010. But everyone enjoyed the first Conservation Project downtown and we are looking forward to next week!

Written by Stephanie Deckman, Lindsey McKinght, and Sam Cox