The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation recently recognized two individuals and four entities at the Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Awards held at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs hotel. The annual ceremony also honored nine entities announced in May for their environmental achievements.
“These awards highlight what’s being done in Tennessee to preserve our natural resources, protect public health and the environment, and enhance our quality of life,” said Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam. “I applaud all of the 2018 winners for their continued work to make their respective industries and passions more sustainable.”
Mary Priestley, a volunteer at South Cumberland State Park, and Dr. Larry W. Moore, of the University of Memphis, were both presented with the Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement Award.
Four organizations received the Pursuit of Excellence Award: Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, Warren Plant; the Electric Power Board of Chattanooga; Memphis Light, Gas and Water; and Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. The Pursuit of Excellence category is reserved for past award winners who have continued to take exemplary environmental actions.
Mary Priestley — Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Priestley has spent the majority of her life in the mountains near South Cumberland State Park. For more than 20 years, Priestley has supported the park as a volunteer and most recently, as director of the Friends group and chair of the Education and Outreach Committee. She recently worked to obtain funds to expand the park’s resources for outdoor youth education, including the transformation of the park’s visitors center into a hands-on museum.
She currently serves as an Associate Curator of the Sewanee Herbarium at the University of the South, where she has been for more than 20 years.
Dr. Larry W. Moore — Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
In collaboration with TDEC, EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy, Moore has spent nearly the past decade of his career researching efforts to reduce energy consumption and improve water quality at municipal wastewater treatment plants throughout the southeast. Moore recently retired from the University of Memphis after more than 35 years.
His research has resulted in the creation of the Bio-Tiger Model, which simulates the activated sludge process and is used by wastewater operators throughout the U.S. The verified, combined operational savings for wastewater treatment plants that have implemented Moore’s findings are over $1 million annually and have resulted in a reduction of 800,000 pounds per year of nitrogen discharged to U.S. streams.
Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, LLC, Warren Plant — Pursuit of Excellence Winner
Established in 1990, the Morrison, TN plant employs more than 1,000 people and gives back to the community through the Bridgestone Environmental Education Classroom & Habitat (BEECH) program. The BEECH program provides a hands-on classroom for students in pre-K through fifth grade on the Plant’s 680-acre native landscape. Since 2008, nearly 20,000 students have visited the grounds from Warren and neighboring counties.
Electric Power Board of Chattanooga — Pursuit of Excellence Winner
In 2017, EPB began piloting an environmental stewardship dashboard that shows how much energy and water is being consumed by each building by month. The company also tracks its own performance of recycling field metals, fiber equipment, and vegetation waste, as well as smart grid efficiency savings and employee transportation methods. Since 2016, EPB has reduced emissions by 3,340 tons through SmartGrid efficiencies, 1,797 tons by recycling field metals, and 2,869 tons of vegetation repurposing by grinding up wood chips and making it available to customers for free.
Memphis Light, Gas and Water — Pursuit of Excellence Winner
In addition to facilitating the development of a Natural Gas Fueling Infrastructure to reduce diesel emissions in Memphis and on Tennessee highways, MLGW has made the decision to go 100 percent renewable. All fuel used in MLGW’s fleet of more than 100 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) vehicles and all of the CNG sold to the public at MLGW’s two public CNG stations has been, and will continue to be, only 100 percent renewable natural gas. MLGW operates the first and only public CNG station and LNG production facility in Memphis.
Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. — Pursuit of Excellence Winner
Since its start in 1982, the goal of Sevier Solid Waste, Inc. (SSWI) has been to decrease the amount of material going to the landfill through recycling and composting. SSWI constructed the largest mixed municipal solid waste composting plant in the United States. Unlike other facilities, SSWI takes all incoming waste and processes it in its entirety through the compost facility. The compost is used by farmers as a soil amendment and for erosion controls. The compost was also a vital component to revitalizing soils after the devastating 2016 wildfires in Sevier County.
See a full list of the 2018 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award winners here.