From left are Robin Peeler, area manager; Kim Moore, area manager; Kenny Gragg, area manager; Mike Robertson, parks director; Kelsey Davis, environmental scientist for TDEC, Anne Marshall, acting deputy commissioner; Chris Padgett, area manager; Ryan Forbess, area manager; and Mike Dobis, area manager.
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) recognized all 56 state parks for their efforts in environmental sustainability practices as part of the state’s Go Green With Us program.
Burgess Falls State Park in White County led the way with platinum status performance. Nine parks achieved gold level status, with 24 parks at silver level and 22 at bronze.
“Our state parks are leading by example in preserving our natural resources and making it easy for visitors to participate in these behaviors too,” said Anne Marshall, acting deputy commissioner of TDEC.
“Parks are engaging in environmental practices that match the mission of our department overall and we hope this encourages all Tennesseans to act in environmentally responsible ways in their daily life.”
Eligible sustainability practices are divided into nine categories including: education and outreach; energy efficiency; green offices; habitat and species protection; guest services; maintenance procedures; recycling and waste; transportation; and water conservation.
The nine state parks recognized for reaching gold level in the program in 2018 are Bicentennial Capitol Mall, Cumberland Trail, Cummins Falls, Dunbar Cave, Johnsonville, Montgomery Bell, Radnor Lake, Roan Mountain and Standing Stone.
Since 2015 when the Go Green With Us Program began, Tennessee State Parks have increased their environmental stewardship while reducing their carbon footprint. Many campgrounds are now trash-can-free and are served by conveniently located dumpsters and recycling bins. Some restaurants are reducing food waste through diversion, donation, and composting techniques, and some have kitchen gardens, providing fresh seasonal herbs and vegetables. April 2018 marked the first Go Green With Us Recognition awards ceremony. As of 2019, every Tennessee State Park has been recognized for taking positive steps to preserve and enhance wildlife habitat, protect land and water resources, and reduce waste.
A complete list of recognition levels for all state parks can be found at https://tnstateparks.com/about/go-green-with-us.