Bonnaroo, USN, Friends of Warner Park win green awards
The Tennesseean
June 3, 2010

Bonnaroo, University School of Nashville and the Friends of Warner Park’s Save Our Ancient Forest campaign won statewide awards for voluntarily working to improve or protect the environment.

In the Parks and Recreation category, the winner was "a sustainable Bonnaroo,'' in Coffee County, for efforts to keep the music festival green.

The 2010 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards, announced by Gov. Phil Bredesen and Environment and Conservation Commissioner Jim Fyke, include additional winners to be honored for their positive impact on the state’s natural resources in an awards ceremony in Nashville on June 24.

“Tennesseans continue to make tremendous strides to protect and preserve our environment,” said Bredesen, in a news statement. “This year’s roster of honorees is exemplary.

Their efforts are raising the bar while demonstrating environmental stewardship can come from every facet of our communities – from dairy farms and educational institutions to the hospitality and music industries.”

The 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 24th year for the awards program.

Thirty-nine professionals from various public and private organizations judged more than 100 nominations to determine the award recipients.

One additional honor, the Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, will be announced at the awards ceremony in June.

USN won in the K-12 green school category.

The judges wrote:
“Illustrating their growing environmental commitment, University School of Nashville involves students of all ages in ‘greening’ its campus, studying environmental issues and conducting community environmental outreach. Beginning in kindergarten with the award-winning Young Naturalists Program, students become grounded in nature and develop an environmental stewardship ethic.“Sixth graders studied deforestation and global warming and examined the concept of the ‘carbon footprint,’ making a difference in offsetting their own carbon by planting 178 trees in the community. The Middle School photography class used their skills and love of nature to publish a field guide to the trees on the Edgehill campus.

“The school’s previous field guide for the H.G. Hill property was used as a fundraising tool by the West Meade Conservancy and Friends of Warner Parks to raise $10.4 million for acquisition of the old-growth forest property. This 324 acres will eventually become part of Warner Parks.

The students also researched the annual quantities of plastic foam plates and cups, and plastic cutlery that were costing the school $11,200 and ending up in a Middle Tennessee landfill. Changing over to non-disposables and budgeting for a bigger, more energy efficient dishwasher – the school was able to reduce their waste.’’

Friends of Warner Park’s Save Our Ancient Forest won in the natural heritage category.

The judges wrote:
“Made possible by the Friends of Warner Parks, the ‘Save Our Ancient Forest’ project includes the acquisition and preservation of a 324-acre natural area with approximately 225 acres of old-growth forest in Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County.

The Metropolitan Nashville Board of Parks and Recreation approved the acquisition as an addition to the 2,684-acre Warner Parks system. This project will have a significant positive impact on Nashville’s environmental, educational, recreational and economic goals.

“Another innovative component of the project is the partnership with area high schools and universities, in addition to the opportunities for a living laboratory in the old-growth forest. Inventories of the flora and fauna and other research projects will reveal information and help influence resource management priorities.

An initial birding survey of the property identified three bird species of High Conservation Concern to this region. The “Save Our Ancient Forest” project preserves and protects Tennessee’s natural landscape through the acquisition of one of the largest remaining stands of old-growth forest in the United States – ensuring its gentle use and enjoyment today and for future generations.’’