About a dozen natural streams whisper and gurgle through Emory’s campus, just as they have done since long before the University existed. Many of those who hurry past these softly trickling rivulets each day don’t even notice they’re there.

Yet the streams–several now all but hidden by construction–remain a vital part of the campus ecosystem, and some in the community are concerned that they are not getting the attention they deserve. So members of two Emory groups, the Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Stewardship and the Friends of Emory Forest, have formed a committee to put these streams on the map.

First, however, the streams need names. And what better way to raise awareness of these important resources than by asking the community to christen them?

“Our concern was that the streams were being neglected in campus planning and in our environmental consciousness,” says Tim Bryson (above), librarian for South Asian and religious studies and chair of the Stream Naming Committee. “The focus has been on saving trees, but the streams are just as important. With no names, it was not easy for people to recognize them or know they existed.”

Last spring, Bryson and other members of the committee set out on a campus-wide expedition to locate the various brooks, discovering about twelve separate bodies of water. Once they had identified them, they began soliciting suggestions from the entire University community, including alumni, to name the four most visible ones: those which flow through Baker Woodland, under the Cox Hall bridge, under Peavine Creek Drive at Asbury House, and into Candler Lake by way of the Lullwater driveway.

The committee has received about a dozen submissions, each accompanied by an explanation of its relevance to Emory and to the stream, Bryson says. These will be whittled down to a few finalists, which will be presented to the University Board of Trustees for the ultimate selection, hopefully by the end of the spring semester. After the first four are named, the committee will be open to suggestions for the others as well.

“We have a lot of suggestions that are very interesting, because the people who submitted them gave some historical background,” Bryson says. “It has been a delight for us on the committee to read these.”

College senior Kevin Goldberg, for instance, suggested the Baker Woodland stream be named Paden Creek, in honor of Judge James Paden, a DeKalb County pioneer who came to the area from South Carolina in the 1820s. According to Goldberg, Paden has been all but forgotten, although he once owned much of the land that is now Emory, Emory Village, and the Druid Hills Country Club.

John Ingersoll, associate vice president of arts and sciences development, suggested that the Asbury House brook be named Cooper Creek after Coach George Cooper ’41C-’52G, who taught camping, hiking, and other outdoor sports.

Steven Horne ’86C offered the name Dooley’s Grotto for the Cox Hall stream, to honor the old Dooley’s Den and “because it resembles a grotto.”

Bryson and the committee hope that naming the streams will boost their visibility and their value to the University campus, preventing the kind of carelessness and pollution that have occasionally raised concern in the past. “Periodically, the stream that runs under Woodruff Library issues forth in a variety of colors: sometimes blue, sometimes white, sometimes green,” says Gerald B. Lowrey ’81PhD, senior director for the Association of Emory Alumni and a committee member. “If a stream actually has a name, there’s more of a connection that allows people to understand that we need to do a better job of protecting it.”

And the need for that is crystal clear.–P.P.P.

For more information about the stream naming project, visit www.environment.emory.edu/who/streams.shtml.



© 2003 Emory University