Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Bob Martineau announced the winners of the 2012 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards.  The 11 winners were recognized for their achievements and positive impact on the state’s natural resources in an awards ceremony in Nashville on August 24th.   Tennessee Environmental Council and Friends of Henry Horton State Park were awarded for “Excellence in Environmental Education and Outreach”. 

“From implementing innovative new technology to environmentally friendly building practices to community members simply supporting one another, the honorees announced today once again demonstrate that Tennessee businesses, local governments, schools and everyday citizens are committed to healthier and more sustainable communities,” 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.  In its 26th year, this year’s awards program covered nine categories: Building Green; Energy and Renewable Resources; Environmental Education and Outreach; Environmental Education and Outreach (school category); Land Use; Materials Management; Natural Heritage; Sustainable Performance; and Lifetime Achievement. 

Additions to the award roster this year include two Pursuit of Excellence Awards, recognizing past award winners who continue to demonstrate a high regard for environmental stewardship practices.  The winner of one additional honor, the Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced at the awards ceremony in August. 

 A panel of 36 professionals representing agricultural, conservation, forestry, environmental and academic professionals judged more than 100 nominations and selected this year’s award recipients based on criteria including on-the-ground achievement, innovation and public education. 

“The ongoing protection of our land, water and air are essential components to our quality of life,” added Martineau.  “This year’s award winners have put forth an extraordinary amount of effort, and we are pleased to be in position to honor their commitment to environmental stewardship and for leaving a positive legacy for all Tennesseans.” 

Here is more information about the award for “Excellence in Environmental Education and Outreach”: 

Category:  Excellence in Environmental Education and Outreach

Duck River Watershed Education and Action Project (Marshall County) The Duck River Watershed Education and Action Project is an experiential curriculum designed to educate and engage students and citizens about watershed issues, the value of parks and recreation, and how today’s youth can positively impact communities. A collaborative effort between the Friends of Henry Horton State Park and the Tennessee Environmental Council, the project involved hands-on biodiversity training, as well as opportunities to better understand our role as active citizens to better the environment, economy and quality of life.

Over 130 Marshall County fifth grade students participated in the project in 2011. Tasks included stream-bank observation and collection of samples from the Duck River.  The students then analyzed the data, formed conclusions, and proposed and implemented actions to enhance streamside habitat such as planting trees to increase the riparian buffer. The project’s innovative design bridges the gap between classroom studies and applicable field work and engages students and leaders through observation, identifying opportunities for enhancement and proposing solutions.

Click here to learn more about the Duck River Watershed Education & Action Project

Click here to learn more about the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards