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Tennessee State Parks have received the President’s Award from the National Association of State Park Directors  recognizing the parks for their work in sustainability with their Go Green With Us initiative

Nashville, TN – According to the state officials, this award is given to an individual or organization that has made an extraordinary contribution, innovation and/or best practice at a state, regional or national level, furthering the goal of a state parks system.

Go Green With Us was created in 2015 as a partnership between Tennessee State Parks and citizens to help protect and preserve the parks through conservation, sustainable operations, and recycling. The program not only implements sustainable practices throughout park operations, but also provides sustainable options for park guests such as recycling, water bottle filling stations, earth-friendly merchandise, and environmentally friendly lodging and recreational opportunities.

The program uses nine metrics for evaluation of the 56 state parks. Through this evaluation process, the parks can earn Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum recognition levels.

In the first year the program, no park reached Platinum and only three parks reached Gold. Only five years later, 22 parks reached Gold and 28 reached Platinum.

Each of the state parks has a designated Go Green representative who works to incorporate Go Green initiatives such education and outreach, water conservation, and waste reduction. Other sustainable initiatives include energy efficiency, recycling upgrades, food recovery, recycled tires, solar panels, and electric vehicle charging stations. 

The Go Green With Us Program has a feature article in each issue of The Tennessee Conservationist where you can stay up-to-date on the latest Go Green initiatives in the parks.

Robin Peeler, East Tennessee park area manager, and Kelsey Davis, environmental consultant for the Office of Sustainable Practices at TDEC, are co-managers of the Go Green With Us program.