Accomplishments

Recent Accomplishments

 

Tennessee Environmental Council was founded in 1970, and we are just as enthusiastic today about taking care of the landscape we call home as we were upon our founding.  We are richly blessed to live, work and play in such a beautiful, ecologically diverse state, and it is an honor to work to make it even better.
Thank you for your contributions that supported our successes through the past 46 years!  Please scroll down to review our most recent milestones and our highlights since our founding in 1970.

2017

Tennessee Tree Project
  • 100K Tree Day: Riding on the success of the last two years, we decided to double the amount of trees planted in one day and we did it! On February 25th, 20,000 volunteers in all 95 counties planted 100,000 trees!
  • Project Implementation Days at Henry Horton State Park:  We have engaged with a number of schools including Chapel Hill, and Cornersville Elementary to plant nearly 1000 trees, and continue Duck River water health education with 5th graders.
  • We also partnered with Christiana Middle School on tree education and planting of 20 trees on school property.
Sustainable Tennessee
  • Urban Gardening Event: We partnered with AKA Sorority Inc. by planting vegetables and herbs for residents of Mission Haven Retirement Home in Nashville as part of our Sustainable Tennessee Program.
  • 11th Annual Policy & Practice Forum: The Council convened a gathering of sustainability leaders statewide and identified the top 5 priorities for a more Sustainable Tennessee.  These priorities as voted on by our constituents will be shared with the General Assembly in 2018.
Watershed Support 
  • Lytle Creek: We hosted a Rain Garden Workshop, planting 30 trees and shrubs; and co-hosted a Community Day with MTEC, planting 200 trees along Lytle Creek.

 

2016

Tennessee Tree Project
  • 50K Tree Day: One of our favorite 2016 highlights was engaging more than 6,000 volunteers in planting 50,000 trees in 92 counties during 50K Tree Day. This was our second annual 50K-tree-planting event, earning us the 2016 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award –our third in the past 10 years!
  • Veterans Day/Arbor Day: The Council organized our second annual event on 11/11/2016, giving away 1,500 native tree seedlings across Tennessee to honor the dedication of our nation’s veterans and public servants.  More than 250 veterans were named as honorees from these trees.
Sustainable Tennessee
  • 10th Annual Policy & Practice Forum: The Council convened a gathering of sustainability leaders statewide and identified the top 5 priorities for a more Sustainable Tennessee.  These priorities as voted on by our constituents will be shared with the General Assembly in 2017.
  • Dozens of State-Wide Education Events: The Council delivered presentations to hundreds of individuals at schools, community groups and the General Assembly on water quality, rain gardens, recycling, riverbank restoration, sustainability, and of course, the value of trees.
Watershed Support
  • Nashville GreenField Restoration Project: (a 120-acre ecological-restoration project in West Nashville): The Council team, volunteers and community partners made significant progress, including establishing a certified Level 1 Arboretum; identifying 46 species of birds, and removing 10 acres of invasive plant species, making way for a living, thriving example of Tennessee’s biodiversity.

 

2015

Tennessee Tree Project
  • 50K Tree Dayresulted in 52,000 trees distributed statewide to more than 3,000 volunteer planters in hundreds of planting events scheduled for this day.  All trees were provided at no cost to participants.
  • Arbor Day:  Statewide, dozens of volunteers planted trees provided at no cost by the Council to plant in honor of US Military Veterans.  We celebrate Arbor Day in November by paying tribute to those who serve our nation.
Sustainable Tennessee
  • Conservation Education Day: members of the Tennessee Environmental Council and other environmental activists, leaders and concerned citizens from across Tennessee gathered to meet with members of the Tennessee General Assembly.  We delivered tree seedlings to key Leadership, like Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, Senator Steve Southerland, Speaker Beth Harwell and others.  We also shared our Natural Resource Priorities for a Sustainable Tennessee with these and other members.
  • 9th Annual Policy & Practice Forum: More than 40 stakeholders from across Tennessee gathered at our annual Policy & Practice workshop for a Sustainable Tennessee 
  • Regional Sustainability Forum: at Tennessee Wesleyan College in Athens Tennessee attracts more than 40 students and members of the local community to discuss the topic of Sustainability in their community, on campus and throughout Tennessee.  Results from this and all Regional Sustainability Forums are used to update our Priorities for a Sustainable Tennessee — a working document we update year after year.
Watershed Support
  • Watershed Support takes students into the creek near Cleveland to learn ways to improve the Duck River Watershed and its tributaries.

Council hosts Wild and Scenic Film Festival — our first — at UT Chattanooga.  The event features inspiring and spectacular documentary films about our local, regional and global environment, and how people are taking care of it.

2014 

  • Council honors the legacy of our co-founder Cecil Branstetter who passes away at age 93.  In 1970, Mr. Brandstetter was one of a small group of environmentalists that convened to create an organization that would tie together many different organizations with diverse, but common priorities into focused advocacy in the state legislature on behalf of Tennessee’s environment.
  • Long-time Council board member and former Chairman Don Safer is invited by Nuclear Regulatory Committee to testify in DC about benefits of investing in alternatives to nuclear power, as well as present a community-activist perspective on negative consequences of nuclear power in Tennessee.
  • Council plants its 100,000th tree in Athens TN!
  • A total of 1,553 volunteers participate in Council events, contributing 5700 volunteer hours valued at $109,497.00. A Council record!

Tennessee Tree Project

  • 10K Tree Day in March makes national news from San Fran to DC
  • Council staff, volunteers, friends and partners plant more than 30,000 native trees in Tennessee, including our 100,000th tree since 2007
  • Council proposal to attempt world record tree planting within next three years is approved by Guinness World Records.
  • Council is awarded “Friends of Forestry” Award by TN Division of Forestry
Sustainable Tennessee
  • Conservation Education Day on Tennessee Capitol Hill draws organizations and activists from across Tennessee to meet their legislators and advocate for sustainability policies.
  • Council honors Mark Deutschmann with the 2014 Sustainable Tennessee Award.  Thank you for your great work Mark!
  • Council coordinates regional sustainability forums in Nashville, Knoxville and Chattanooga — gathering the best ideas of a Sustainable Tennessee, and updating our Sustainable Tennessee Agenda for 2015.
Watershed Support
  • Partnership with Friends of Henry Horton State Park takes over 500 students into Duck River to learn, study, collect data, and splash!
  • New collaboration with Tennessee Stormwater Association promises to reach all 95 counties with watershed restoration plans and projects.
  • Council publishes “Citizen Action Guide to Watershed Restoration”
  • Council-led settlement with industry cleans up stormwater runoff in Nashville
  • Council’s newly acquired Gar Barge plucks 16 bags of trash from the Tennessee River in the Tennessee River Rescue

Other Highlights:

  • Council honors the legacy of our co-founder Cecil Branstetter who passes away at age 93.  In 1970, Mr. Brandstetter was one of a small group of environmentalists that convened to create an organization that would tie together many different organizations with diverse, but common priorities into focused advocacy in the state legislature on behalf of Tennessee’s environment.
  • Long-time Council board member and former Chairman Don Safer is invited by Nuclear Regulatory Committee to testify in DC about benefits of investing in alternatives to nuclear power, as well as present a community-activist perspective on negative consequences of nuclear power in Tennessee.
  • Council plants its 100,000th tree in Athens TN!
  • A total of 1,553 volunteers participate in Council events, contributing 5700 volunteer hours valued at $109,497.00. A Council record!

2013 


Tennessee Tree Project 
  • Planted and/or gave away nearly 25,000 trees statewide along with sponsors, local businesses and organizations including Mars Petcare, Schneider Electric, Bridgestone Firestone, Whole Foods, LP Environmental, ABB, TN Agricultural Enhancement Program, Community Foundation of Middle TN, Fontanel, Adventureworks, and many others.
  • Hosted our first (and second) TREE-mendous 10K Tree Day with 600 volunteers including businesses and school groups.  The event was featured on News Channel 5 in Nashville!
    10K tree day is a “race” to plant 10,000 trees in one day.  These trees will clean our air, land and water for generations to come!
  • Gave away 3,000 tree seeds at the 2013 CMA Music Fest and launched our “Puttin’ the Tree in Country” initiative with support from TN Wildlife Resources Agency.  After all there is no country music without country and there is no country without trees!

Sustainable Tennessee 

  • 2013 Sustainable Tennessee Summit Nearly 75 participants including Volkswagen, TVA, TDEC, Sierra Club, BEST/MATRR and EPB joined us for the – held for the first time in Chattanooga.
  • Sustainable TN Task Force met in August to establish priorities for 2014, launching new programs and infrastructure to enhance collaboration including online networking tools and quarterly meetings with TN Dept. of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).
  • We maintained a strong presence at the state legislature.  The 2013 Sustainable TN Agenda was distributed to Tennessee legislators and media.  Approximately 500 people showed “Green Means Business” at our third annual Conservation Education Day at the Legislative Plaza.  Participants met with their legislators, attended committee meetings, and discussed the economic and job-creating value of sustainability.
  • Educated Tennessee citizens about radioactive waste issues with the support of a grant from Community Foundation of New Mexico.  We distributed surveys in an effort to inform the Department of Energy (DOE) about public opinion concerning radioactive waste disposal decisions.  Visit the Radioactive Waste Education Project page to learn more.  
  • Participated with Sierra Club and other group in a “People’s Public Hearing” encouraging TN Valley Authority (TVA) to consider energy efficiency measures and close the Gallatin Steam Plant instead of spending over $1 billion on required upgrades.  Put legal pressure on TVA to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
  • Partnered with other groups to successfully negotiate with TVA to secure a new location for the Cumberland River Aquatic Center, a facility utilized by TWRA to propagate several species of endangered mussels.  The facility was located adjacent to the Gallatin Steam plant.
  • Continued to educate and advocate for a bill that would limit Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining in TN.
  • Collaborated with several organizations and citizens across the state to advocate on regulatory and/or legislative matters impacting Tennessee’s air, land, water and energy from the local to the federal level.

 

Watershed Support

  • Continued work on the Fish Habitat Restoration Initiative with support from the Dan and Margaret Maddox Charitable Fund and the Urban Small Streams program supported by grants from the US EPA and the TN Dept. of Agriculture Division of Forestry Riparian Buffer Program.  These projects allow us to protect drinking water quality by promoting and restoring the economic and health value of wet weather conveyances, small streams and wetlands.
  • With the Environmental Law Institute and Center for Watershed Protection, we will roll out our “Citizen Action Guide for Watershed Assessment and Restoration” in January 2014 to help citizens better assess and restore polluted streams.
  • Expanded our award-winning Protecting our Watershed youth education curriculum, partnering with the GM Global Rivers Education Network in Columbia, Friends of Henry Horton State Park & Chapel Hill Elementary, Mt. Juliet Middle School, and Byars Dowdy & Winfree Bryant schools in Lebanon.
  • Assisted with two rain garden projects totaling 4,500 square feet.  These rain gardens will help reduce erosion and stormwater pollution and add beauty to the landscape.
  • Helped Mars Petcare improve, restore and maintain the Trails at Fontanel and planted 175 trees along Whites Creek with the support of over 100 volunteers!

And So Much More…  

  • Engaged nearly 2,000 volunteers, including 746 students, for over 5,000 total volunteer hours valued at nearly $100,000!
  • Hosted the 22st annual Green Tie Affair in April.  We had about 150 in attendance and presented the 2012 Sustainability Award to Karen Grubbs and Dan Eager, both recently retired from TDEC.  This spectacular event was held at University Club in Nashville.
  • Recognized several Council members through our Featured Member program including Operation Stand Down, General Motors, Tamika Parker, and Bruce Wood-BURNT.
  • Enjoyed a “wildflower walk” with State Naturalist, Randy Hedgepath in Mt. Juliet.
  • Southeast TN Project and Chattanooga Office  
    • On August 28 we officially launched our Southeast Tennessee Project in Chattanooga.   We have hosted and participated in several great events in Chattanooga including our 2013 Summit for a Sustainable TN.

 

  • The Sustainable Tennessee Summit brought over 150 individuals and 90 organizations together to develop Tennessee’s Sustainability Agenda and the top three conservation and environmental priorities for 2010.
  • Testified at the legislature on issues ranging from stopping nuclear dumping in Tennessee, the bottle bill, and the school bus bill which was modified to help avoid negative health effects on school children.
  • Duck River Opportunities Project received the 2009 Tennessee Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Aquatic Resource Preservation in part for planting thousands of trees and repairing about 1500 feet of eroding creek bank.
  • Installed our first rain garden in the Duck River Watershed with help from the City of Spring Hill.
  • Successfully advocated the naming of a physician to the Air Pollution Control Board.
  • Advocated and made significant gains to protect our drinking water collection system, perhaps the most vital component of Tennessee’s sustainability.

Partnered with REI to coordinate hundreds of volunteers in the Urban Community Forestry Initiative and Recreational Greenway Enhancement Project in the Duck River and Old Hickory watersheds.