They have fallen—or, more accurately, flowed—underfoot
of perhaps every person on campus, yet many people probably don’t
even know they exist. They are the natural streams, about a dozen
of them, that meander through all corners of Emory’s land,
though several are virtually invisible since they have long since
been covered by concrete and asphalt.
In the early 20th century when Emory moved to its Atlanta campus,
the streams flowed openly and pleasantly through the ravines that
separated the system of ridges on which the University’s first
buildings were raised. But as Emory grew and more buildings went
up, larger and larger portions of the streams disappeared until
some seemed to vanish entirely.
But they are still there, even if progress has relegated them to
the aesthetic background, and a group of individuals is launching
a campaign to bring Emory’s streams back to the forefront
of the University’s consciousness, if not its scenery. The
sensibly named Stream Naming Committee, a joint project launched
by members of the Ad Hoc Committee on Environmental Stewardship
and the Friends of Emory Forest, believes the best way to begin
doing this is by giving the streams names, since none carries any
“It very much surprised me that none of them have names nor
did they appear on campus maps,” said Tim Bryson, librarian
for South Asian and religious studies and chair of the Stream Naming
Committee. “These streams are the lifeblood of the ecological
systems on campus.”
Launched last spring, the group’s members began by donning
their hiking boots and tromping through campus to locate and differentiate
between the various streams, which they then incorporated into an
existing campus map. With the dozen streams clearly delineated,
the committee decided to start with the four most visible ones,
• through Baker Woodland.
• under the Cox Hall bridge.
• under Peavine Creek Drive at Asbury House.
• into Candler Lake from Starvine Way via the Lullwater driveway.
The committee is soliciting suggestions for stream names from the
entire Emory community. Bryson addressed the University Senate’s
October meeting on the committee’s plans, and committee members
have spread the word through word of mouth and the “campus
environmental stewardship” listserv. Suggested names should
either carry some cultural or historical significance for Emory
or indicate something about the stream’s physical nature.
For example, Bryson said, one possibility for the Baker Woodland
stream is “Antoinette’s Creek,” in honor of Bishop
and former Emory Chancellor Warren Candler’s wife. Indeed,
Baker Woodland itself used to be an open greenspace called “Antoinette
Gardens” before it was renamed in 1961.
As far as procedure goes, University Secretary Gary Hauk examined
Emory’s bylaws and found that, while the final say for naming
the streams belongs to the Board of Trustees, the process by which
names could be suggested to the board is entirely up to the community.
Hence, the Stream Naming Committee will winnow down the suggestions
it receives into a list of finalists, which will be submitted first
to the University Senate’s Campus Development Committee, then
to the Senate itself, then to the President’s Cabinet and
finally to the trustees.
“The closest precedent to this in recent memory was the naming
of Starvine Way,” Hauk said, referring to the 3-year-old shuttle
road that skirts the edge of Lullwater. “This is a way of
engaging the whole campus in conversation and making sure that everyone
who wants to have a say about it does have a say about it.”
It’s also a way of raising visibility of Emory’s streams
in a more positive way than what happened in September, when a glut
of trash in the South Fork Peachtree Creek (which runs through Lullwater)
made the pages of both Emory Report and The Wheel.
Perhaps, the committee believes, if the streams have names, people
will think enough about them to make sure litter and pollution never
become a problem in the first place.
“Periodically the stream that runs under Woodruff Library
issues forth in a variety of colors: sometimes blue, sometimes white,
sometimes green,” said Gerry Lowrey, senior director of campus
relations 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.”
The Stream Naming Committee has posted a campus map identifying
the streams, naming conventions from the U.S. Board on Domestic
Geographic Names and guidelines for submitting name suggestions
Suggestions for the first four streams should be sent by Jan. 6.
For more information, contact Bryson at 404-727-1277 or email@example.com.