NASHVILLE – SC&A Land Planning is among 14 individuals and corporations statewide to be recognized for their achievements and positive impact on the state’s natural resources. An awards ceremony is scheduled in Nashville for August 12.
“This year’s roster of honorees demonstrates that environmental stewardship is thriving in our local communities – from universities to golf courses to the hospitality industry. I am pleased to support a program that recognizes leadership that positively impacts the environment,” Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam said.
The Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program recognizes exceptional voluntary actions that improve or protect our environment and natural resources with projects or initiatives not required by law or regulation. This marks the 25th year for the awards program. Thirty-six professionals from various public and private organizations judged more than 100 nominations to determine the award recipients.
“The quality of our environment is so important in our daily lives and citizens continue raising the bar to ensure that Tennessee’s communities are healthy places to live, work and play,” said Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau. “Covering each region of the state, this year’s award winners have worked very hard and we are pleased to recognize their innovation and dedication.”
The 2011 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award winners are:
Category: Natural Heritage – 100,000 Trees in Tennessee, Statewide
Chris Clark sought to provide solutions to many environmental issues by enabling Tennessee residents to plant native trees across the state. These trees were planted in shopping malls, neighborhoods and corporate properties, in addition to municipalities, public schools and even state parks. Donating 100,000 native trees to Tennessee, Clark inspired these tree “adoptions” while educating citizens about the benefits of native trees across the state. Planting these trees benefited communities by addressing issues such as storm water runoff, following two consecutive years of record flooding; increases in the carbon canopy; reduction of water levels in our region’s aquifers, streams and lakes; persistent erosion of natural resources and wooded areas; sediment in fresh water supplies, caused by bank erosion and runoff; and an emerging concern about the loss of water worldwide. Within five months of the program’s inception, 100,000 Trees in Tennessee penetrated the entire state with ambitious partnerships developed in 93 of the state’s counties. Should all of Clark’s adopted trees survive even after 20 years, they will have absorbed a combined 41 tons of carbon each year – almost equivalent to what a 350-acre forest would absorb annually.
Category: Agriculture / Forestry – Tennessee Farmland Legacy, Statewide
The Tennessee Farmland Legacy Partnership was formally launched in 2010 with a memorandum of agreement between 12 public agencies and organizations throughout the state. The Farmland Legacy group works on the preservation of working farms and farmland. The Farmland Legacy Partnership has produced two statewide conferences, 26 regional and local workshops, and continues through website resources and ongoing planning of events and activities this year and beyond. More than 15,000 working acres of farmland – which included over 50 individual farmers in 28 counties – have been protected because of this partnership.
Category: Aquatic Resource Preservation – Cities of Millersville and Goodlettsville: Stream Watch Committee, Sumner County
This nine-member water quality committee was created to ensure the protection of Slaters and Mansker creeks in the cities of Millersville and Goodlettsville. Consisting entirely of volunteers, this non-profit committee has successfully cleaned the two streams through three separate events. Activities include removing over 5,000 pounds of metal, which was recycled and generated $500 in revenue; and collecting more than 500 bags of household trash, which was removed from the creeks and banks along with many larger items that would not fit into trash bags such as broken bikes, an above-ground swimming pool and tires. The committee successfully pursued the prosecution of one illegal dumping case in the city of Millersville, along with aiding in the correction of two illicit connections to Slates Creek.
Category: Building Green – Volkswagen of North America Assembly Complex, Hamilton County
Volkswagen of North America invested $1 billion over the last three years to build a U.S. production facility in Chattanooga – their first in 20 years – on a 1,350-acre Brownfields site. The facility will use rainwater harvesting in order to supplement 653,000 gallons of water per year used for greywater, reducing the overall water usage onsite. The facility also will incorporate the use of landfill gases from an existing local landfill site to generate electricity through a conversion process. A special roof was used throughout 1.8 million square feet of roof surface in an effort to minimize the heat island effect. Skylights are used generously throughout the building to provide natural lighting, which reduces the energy demand from light fixtures. There are dedicated carpool and vanpool parking spaces in the main parking lot, as well as preferred parking for low‐emitting and fuel‐efficient vehicles. An extensive stormwater conveyance system consisting of bioswales, vegetative ditches and culverts culminating at a constructed sluice gate acts as the primary stormwater management system. A large portion of the acreage has been set aside for native or adapted plants, which do not require permanent irrigation. Specific species have been planted in the ditches and swales for filtration of suspended solids.
Category: Energy Leadership – Solar Power at the Arts Center, Cannon County
The Arts Center serves as a cultural center for Cannon County and the five surrounding counties, providing both art and education as a not-for-profit organization. A private investor, Good Earth Energy, leased the center’s roof to prepare for a 29 kilowatt solar installation. After 15 years of operation, the system will be donated to the Arts Center. After the system has been in operation for 16 years, the Arts Center will obtain ownership of the solar array – benefiting directly from reduced energy bills. Good Earth funded an educational kiosk inside the Arts Center, featuring real-time output displayed on monitors for the viewing public. Also significant is the solar billboard, which is located on the roof and visible to the 13,000 people that pass the center daily.
Category: Environmental Education and Outreach – Burgess Falls State Park and Natural Area, White County
Burgess Falls State Park and Natural Area is the first Tennessee State Park to offer a full month of on-site, Junior Ranger summer day camps. These day camps educate and involve the local youth in protecting and preserving natural resources. Burgess Falls has implemented a two-part environmental education program. The first involves a Girl Scout Planting/Service Day, which teaches participants about planting and maintaining native plants as well as the value of community service. The second part is a Junior Ranger day camp program, which educates local youth about parks, protecting natural resources, wildlife and the specific duties of park rangers and other park staff. The combined goal of these two programs is to encourage our young citizens and future leaders to respect and protect the natural resources in their community and the importance of being good stewards of their environment.
Category: Green Schools K-12 – Stone Memorial High School, Cumberland County
Stone Memorial High School opened the doors of its beautiful new school on 65 acres in rural Cumberland County in the fall of 2006. The school was recognized as a Tennessee Pollution Prevention Partnership Green School Partner in September 2007, with the successful launch of its mixed paper and cardboard recycling program. Each year, Stone Memorial’s Ecology classes interact with their school and community by carrying out environmental projects on the campus and beyond. Through their research and initiatives, the Ecology students have garnered support of the school administration and raised awareness of environmental issues throughout the student body. This place-based approach to environmental education has been highly successful at Stone Memorial. The projects include expanding plastics collection and reducing energy usage at the school. This year, students identified significant issues to tackle including reducing plastics going to a landfill and reducing high utility bills. In addition to reducing energy costs, the school saved $2,970 in landfill tipping fees. The plastics recycling program prevented 2,100 pounds of plastic from going to the landfill and generated $294 for Cumberland County Recycling.
Category: Green Schools – Higher Education
The University of Tennessee at Martin Recycles – Weakley County
UTM Recycles is a rural-based recycling movement supported by the University of Tennessee at Martin and is the only comprehensive recycling program of its kind in the area. Along with providing support for recycling, the program provides education in the form of talks, disseminated literature and sponsored events. UTM Recycles is unique due to its location on the university campus and because it encourages the community and the school to use the program, free of charge. The program accepts an extensive array of products, including cardboard, paper, aluminum, scrap metal, glass, printer cartridges, plastics, books, clothes, shoes and electronics. Working with various community groups and organizations to set up and organize their sustainable efforts, the school expanded its educational programs to include service learning. Reporting over 1,100 volunteer hours last year from people of all ages at the facility, UTM recycled 40 ton of glass, 38 tons of scrap metal, 46 tons of plastic, 245 tons of cardboard, 63 tons of paper, 40 tons of compost and 10 tons of aluminum. This classroom experience also sparked more than 15 sustainable projects, bringing students and members of the community together.
Category: Greenways and Trails
Enterprise South Nature Park – Hamilton County
Designed to provide an outdoor learning experience for children, Enterprise South Nature Park serves as a classroom for the environmental sciences. This 2,800-acre passive park, formerly the site of a federal munitions storage facility, now serves as a facility whose staff is committed to providing quality recreation opportunities in a natural setting. Visitors can take a brisk hike or a relaxing stroll along woodland paths that traverse various terrains and footbridges, while marveling at the beauty of nature, and breathtaking views from scenic overlooks – including a magical “hidden lake.” The Enterprise South Nature Park features 5.3 miles of woodland walking and hiking trails, 10 miles of mountain bike trails, 6.9 miles of paved walking and bike roads, a seven-mile driving loop, a one-mile ADA-accessible woodland trail, three historical exhibits and four picnic areas.
Category: Hazardous Waste Reduction – ThyssenKrupp Elevator Manufacturing, Hardeman County
ThyssenKrupp Elevator Manufacturing in Middleton, added a $30 million state-of-the-art fabrication and powder coat paint line. This new addition resulted in an 81 percent reduction in hazardous waste, a 50 percent reduction in water usage and a 79 percent reduction in air emission volatile organic compounds. It also reduced the number of forklifts needed by operations, improved energy usage and improved safety at the facility.
Category: Parks and Recreation – Mirimichi, Shelby County
A focus on green, sustainable management has been a consistent priority, resulting in Mirimichi Golf Course being named the first golf course in the U.S. to be certified by the Audubon International Classic Sanctuary program. It also serves as the premier course in all of North, South or Central America to be certified by the Golf Environment Organization, which the course received in 2010. Mirimichi is the only golf course in the world to achieve both of these prestigious designations. Native grass areas, natural waste bunkers and enhanced water features reduce the manicured acreage on Mirimichi from more than 200 acres to under 90 acres – minimizing the need for fertilization and irrigation. State-of-the-art irrigation and underground drainage systems maximize the efficiency of water usage and reduce soil erosion, while re-circulating water throughout the course. Grassy buffer zones, wetlands areas and aquatic water plants all provide filtration to keep state waterways clean.
Category: Pollution Prevention – Doubletree Hotel Chattanooga, Hamilton County
Chattanooga’s Doubletree Hotel took on a 2 ½ year rebuild of its 35-year-old hotel. After spending more than $28 million on the rebuild, the hotel now saves an estimated $24,000 a year in lighting alone. Utility costs for the year – including gas, water, electrical and waste removal – totaled $342,000 in 2009 and they were able to reduce that amount down to $336,000 in 2010. What’s notable about this reduction is the fact that the hotel actually rented 50,001 total hotel rooms in 2010, compared to 45,993 rooms in 2009. While renting 4,008 more rooms, the hotel still managed to bring down utility costs. The hotel installed new energy efficient roofs and energy friendly air conditioning units in each guest room. In addition to ensuring the hotel was better insulated, other upgrades or efforts included recycle bins in all guest rooms; the installation of low-flow toilets and shower heads; energy efficient light bulbs; the use of double-paned and insulated windows; the installion of bathroom light fixtures that are controlled by motion sensors – among many other upgrades that will help in the overall “greening” of the hotel and reduce pollution.
Category: Solid Waste Reduction – Domtar Paper Company LLC / Kingsport Mill, Sullivan County
Located in Kingsport, Domtar Paper Company has demonstrated its commitment to the environment with an innovative program designed to reduce its solid waste and landfill usage and to help local farmers cut operating expenses by the application of nutrient-rich wood ash. Approved by state regulation and supplied to applicants at no-cost, wood ash is a by-product of the paper-making process. Kingsport Mill turned the wood ash into a soil amendment, and in one year since its inception saved local farmers an estimated $900,000. According to the First Tennessee Development District, an impressive 25 percent of recycling efforts in Sullivan County are those conducted by the Kingsport Mill. Helping 67 fields in a 35-mile radius of the mill, 9,000 acres have been enriched by 17,000 tons of wood ash that formerly would have been landfilled.
Category: Sustainable Transportation Solutions – Neyland Stadium Improvements, Knox County
The renovation and improvements to the stadium and its grounds embrace new green technologies, while accommodating everyday campus transit transfers and student life. The design incorporates innovative tree-planting technology, permeable pavement, durable furnishings and native plantings to help meet the university’s program of developing sustainable sites within the campus. Due to large amounts of paved surfaces, minimal green space and contaminates from vehicles and industries, stormwater runoff in urban areas has become a growing concern for municipalities across the country. To combat this issue, Neyland Stadium uses permeable pavers and large soil volume tree planters. The trees on site also help control another problem facing urban communities and their surrounding areas – invasive species. Only native, or non-invasive plant material was introduced at the stadium in an effort to demonstrate the beauty and vigor that these plants maintain throughout the seasons, as well as ensuring their presence stays only where it is wanted. Additionally, trees planted throughout the site serve as a cooling agent to mitigate the consequences of urban heat island effect.
For more information about the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards program, please visit www.tn.gov/environment/awards.