The Environmental Journal of Southern Appalachia

Action Alert Archive (96)

Monday, 13 May 2024 15:23

Celebrate National Trails Day with a work party in Oak Ridge

North Ridge Trail Trail Day 3

OAK RIDGE Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning and the North Ridge Trail maintenance volunteers invite everyone to our 2024 National Trails Day work project on the North Ridge Trail.

Work on the Orchard Lane access trail will begin at 9 a.m. June 1.

The access trail is located along a water drainage route. Erosion along the ditch has made the trail difficult to follow. We will work to relocate the first 130 feet of the access trail away from the water route.

Bring drinking water, sunscreen, insect repellent and good gloves. TCWP will provide some work tools, but feel free to bring any of your personal tools, including grubbing tools such as mattocks, Pulaskis, fire rakes, rogue hoes and/or McLeods fire tools. After the work is completed, a pizza lunch will be provided a short drive from the work location.

Last modified on Monday, 17 June 2024 15:10
Tuesday, 23 April 2024 00:25

Chattanooga Earth Day Week continues

Earth Week Poster Billboard Landscape

Last modified on Sunday, 28 April 2024 22:27
Thursday, 18 April 2024 06:35

Happy Earth Day to you

Written by

2017 Eclipse GIF dscovr epic 21 aug 2017 solar eclipse shadowThis image of Earth captures the 2017 eclipse shadow.  NASA

Get dirty. Get wet. Have fun. Love your mother.

Celebrate our planet’s beauty and bounty at one of many Earth Day events in the region this weekend and beyond. You can pick up trash, kayak a river and even get sustainable fashion tips and tricks. 

The official observation of Earth Day 2024 is Monday, April 22, but ways to give back and respect the Earth abound for days before and after. Here’s a sampling of observations and activities. And remember: Every day should be Earth Day.


— Little River Watershed Association plans its annual cleanup and paddle for 12-4 p.m. Saturday, April 20. Participants will put in at Peery’s Mill near Townsend and remove trash from the river for about three hours before taking out at Sevierville Bridge. Albright Grove Brewery will offer beer after the cleanup. A limited number of kayaks are available for use, and a shuttle is available. Get more information and sign up here.

— Keep Knoxville Beautiful will hold the South Knoxville Community Cleanup from 9 a.m. until noon Saturday, April 20 starting at Mary Vestal Park, 522 Maryville Pike, Knoxville. The group is removing litter from South Knoxville streams, roads and parks. All reserved spots are full, but Amanda Seale, director of programs for Keep Knoxville Beautiful said her group still welcomes help from anyone who shows up.

— The third annual Fleurish: A Sustainable Fashion Event (and Fundraiser) at Ijams Nature Center will bring eco-friendly and sustainable Punk vs. Funk designs to the runway Sunday, April 21. Tickets are $30 and are available at All proceeds support Ijams Nature Center. The cocktail hour from 6 until 7 p.m. will feature photo ops on the “green” carpet, education stations and information about conservation efforts in the fashion realm, as well as a cash bar featuring punk and funk signature cocktails, and food from Coffee & Chocolate, Cafe 4, and The Kennedy. The fashion show will feature clothing with sustainable, reused and recycled materials from 25 designers. Following the fashion show, attendees will be able to meet the artists, designers, and models on the nature center’s hillside. Brent Hyder and Duck Experience will provide live music. Ijams Visitor Services Director Sarah Brobst said there may be some surprise elements as well.

“Fleurish shows how the average consumer can make changes to their day-to-day lives while never losing sight of the beauty of nature and the human experience,” she said. She encouraged the audience to come dressed in their favorite punk or funk fashions.

— The University of Tennessee will host an Earth Day Festival from 11 until 2 p.m. April 22 at the Student Union Plaza.

“Come meet campus and community organizations, enter some giveaways, participate in sustainable activities, and more!,” according to organizers. Other Earth Week events will continue on and near the campus that week. A full list of them is online

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 April 2024 00:14

City Nature Challenge logo 

KNOXVILLE — People across 13 counties in East Tennessee are urged to record animals, plants and fungi they observe for four days in late April.

City Nature Challenge 2024 is international, but the Knoxville-area challenge includes anyone in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Grainger, Jefferson, Knox, Loudon, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier and Union counties. It will run April 26 through April 29 via the iNaturalist app, which is available on Google play or the App Store. While the focus is largely centered on urban areas, participants don’t have to live within a city or town to record their observations.

Participants can upload photos from a digital camera to the iNaturalist website even if they lack a smartphone. Zoo Knoxville, Tennessee Butterfly Monitoring Challenge, the city of Knoxville, Ijams Nature Center, Sierra Club, South Doyle Middle School and Discover Life in America are partnering to support the project. No experience is needed to participate. Results will be announced on May 6.

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 May 2024 11:04

It was supposed to be the second meeting of the Growth Policy Coordinating Committee

The meeting was not conducted according to its announcement — as the official meeting of the Knox County Growth Policy Coordinating Committee for the second reading of the plan — but downgraded to a public comment session!
A repeat of the same mistake made with the October meeting, which also was not publicly announced in a newspaper with the minimum 15 days due notice required by state law! Thus, that meeting was held as a “forum for public comments” only.

Knoxville — The Knox County Growth Policy Coordinating Committee (GPCC) will meet on Tuesday, December 19, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building, 400 Main Street.

The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the proposed amendment to the Growth Policy Plan and hear from members of the public.

Note: Anyone who wishes to sign up to speak, can do so by calling 865-215-2005 by Tuesday, December 19 at 12:00 p.m.

Advance Knox was promoted as a public-participation effort to come up with a 20-year plan for growth in Knox County

Hellbender Press reported regularly on Advance Knox progress. In the end, there remained little public enthusiasm for the plan that resulted after two years.

At the “public information” meeting on Oct. 24 and at the first official GPCC meeting Nov. 27, the vast majority of attending citizens were upset by the Knox County Proposed Future Land Use Map. It showed that 17.5 square miles of land would be moved from ‘Rural’ to ‘Planned Growth.’ It appeared that little, if any consideration has been given to best agricultural soils.

Last modified on Saturday, 23 March 2024 21:42

Knox County, TN proposed future land use map

KNOXVILLE — Members of the Knox County Growth Policy Coordinating Committee will hold their second (but first official) public meeting on Monday, Nov. 27 to hear from the public and consider amendments to the Growth Policy Plan that dates back to 2000. The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. in the Main Assembly Room of the City County Building. (This meeting was previously scheduled for Nov. 16.)

The committee’s first of two meetings required by Tennessee State Law to change a growth policy plan had initially been announced for Oct. 24. However, when it became known that the announcement had not been published with due notice in a local newspaper to met the letter of the law, the Oct. 24 gathering was relabeled as a public information meeting only, and its agenda limited to merely provide an introductory presentation about the Advance Knox process and its proposals, with an opportunity for brief citizen statements.

Last modified on Saturday, 23 March 2024 21:38

frozen_head.jpg Commemorative sign in Frozen Head State Park.   Creative Commons Mark BY-NC 4.0  Jim “Gravity” Smith — Hike with Gravity: North Bird Mountain Trail

Written comments will be accepted until Nov. 30, 2023

WARTBURG — Harvey Broome Group of the Sierra Club and Tennessee Citizens for Wilderness Planning want to encourage the public to weigh in on the proposed Tennessee State Management Plan for Frozen Head State Park & Natural Area in Morgan County.

Some of the proposed developments could drastically impact park natural resources and visitor experiences. Frozen Head hosted nearly 400,000 visitors in 2022. It is frequented by many East Tennessee residents and is an important destination tourist attraction. Importantly, it is an outstanding reservoir of biodiversity in the heart of the Cumberland Mountains.

The Management Plan states Frozen Head State Park and Natural Area mission is “to protect and preserve the unique examples of natural, cultural, and scenic resources and to save one of the last vestiges of undisturbed landscapes in the Cumberland Mountain region,” and park management is intended to “restore and maintain the diversity and integrity of the resource.”

Last modified on Wednesday, 01 May 2024 11:00

Tennessee developing a plan to reduce polution

Tennessee wants to prioritize a developing plan to reduce pollution causing climate warming and wants to hear from residents. A survey was created for residents to share what they wanted to see in a statewide climate pollution reduction plan. The survey closed on Nov. 15.

This planning process is being led by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and is part of the Tennessee Volunteer Emission Reduction Strategy (TVERS), an emission reduction plan currently being developed by TDEC with support from various partners. This plan is funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Pollution Reduction Grant (CPRG) program, which was established in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA).

Monday, 13 November 2023 13:08




America Recycles Day® (ARD), a Keep America Beautiful national initiative, is the only nationally-recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States.

When: Wed. Nov. 15, 2023 /  3 – 6 pm
Where: UT Surplus/Warehousing
2111 Stephenson Dr, Knoxville, TN

ONE DAY to educate.
ONE DAY to motivate.
ONE DAY to make recycling bigger & better.

America Recycles Day by the numbers

In the past year, our hard-working volunteers and affiliates have recycled:

2,335,135+ pounds of mixed paper
1,492,898+ pounds of electronics
535,918+ pounds of beverage containers
157,958+ pounds of clothing/textiles
1,899,869+ pounds of single-stream recycling
6,056,816+ pounds of other recycled materials
And more.

In total, we’ve recycled over 16.5 million pounds of recyclables and counting.

Find out more about sponsoring an event or finding one in your area by visiting

Last modified on Thursday, 16 November 2023 16:24
Wednesday, 01 November 2023 19:19

Tennessee Tree Day


It’s that time of year again — time to reserve your trees for Tennessee Tree Day 2024. Reserve yours now and plan on picking them up on March 15th or 16th and planting them that weekend.  Here are some special things to know about this year’s statewide native-tree-planting extravaganza:

  • This is the 10th Annual Tennessee Tree Day
  • You have more than 12 native species to choose from
  • Plant at home, on the farm, or anywhere you have permission to plant
  • You have more than 150 pick-up sites to choose from
  • We anticipate planting our one millionth tree in 2024 — we want you to be part of this historic milestone. (We founded the Tree Program in 2007 with a goal of planting one million trees. You can help us cross the finish line!)
Last modified on Saturday, 16 March 2024 21:03

No one trashes Tennessee — It’s No Trash November


It’s time for the 3rd annual No Trash November


This year Tennessee is out to make history again. All volunteer groups who regularly pick up litter on Tennessee roadways will rally together and host a cleanup event in November — cleaning up Tennessee right before friends and families visit for the holidays.

If you are an Affiliate, Grantee, Adopt-A-Highway or Youth group looking to register your event, watch this tutorial video and register your event on our event calendar.
Not a part of a cleanup group but want to contribute to a litter-free Tennessee? Here are 5 ways to get involved.
Interested in starting your own group? You can Adopt-A-Highway in 5 easy steps.
Show everyone why Tennessee is called the Volunteer State.

6th Fontana Lake trash cleanup 2023.jpg

Volunteers needed

Lake Fontana needs help cleaning up the shoreline trash. Led by Brandon Jones, Harbor Master at the Fontana Village Marina, this event is one of the most extensive cleanups on national park lands.

Jones won the 2023 Governor’s Conservation Achievement Award as the Public Lands Conservationist of the Year for his efforts. He has launched successful cleanup efforts for Lake Fontana in western North Carolina, where volunteers, park rangers and community members have come together for the last five years to remove more than 200,000 pounds of garbage from the lake and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park shoreline. 

Through partnerships with organizations like the North Carolina Wildlife Federation and Mainspring Conservation Trust, the initiative has made a significant impact and inspired others to take ownership of the cleanup, making it the most extensive cleanup on national park lands.

Last modified on Tuesday, 07 November 2023 21:21
Sunday, 22 October 2023 17:51

October 24 is United Nations Day

Written by

united nations day


Despite strong US popular support for the UN, House Appropriations Bill wants to eliminate UN funding

NEW YORK — In a poll of nearly two thousand registered voters, 73% of respondents from across the political spectrum support America’s engagement with the United Nations.

Conducted by Morning Consult in August 2023, the survey finds that roughly two-thirds of Republicans and 86% of Democrats believe it’s important for the U.S. to “maintain an active role” in the UN.

UN favorability stood at 52%, with a plurality of Republicans saying they view the UN in a positive light.

More than half of all voters support paying full dues to the UN’s regular budget, and an even greater percentage (nearly 60%) are in favor of paying dues to the UN’s peacekeeping budget.

These numbers reflect similar nationwide data — including a 2023 survey by Pew Research — noting strong UN favorability among Americans.

What’s at stake?

The House budget proposal recommends eliminating funding for the UN regular budget — for the first time in history. That would cause the U.S. to lose its vote in the UN General Assembly!

Why that would be a grave and costly mistake is well explained by Jordie Hannum, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign.

This UN Day, make sure to tell your members of Congress that you support the UN’s mission.

Here are easy to follow help and sample scripts for your call and for leaving voice mail. Or, send them a customizable email message.

“As Congress considers making drastic cuts in U.S. contributions to the UN, this is a powerful reminder that Americans value the institution and want the U.S. to stay involved,” said Peter Yeo, President of the Better World Campaign. “The UN is a critical space for the U.S. to demonstrate our global leadership and support our allies. Americans clearly understand that it’s in our best interest to nurture this vital relationship.”

Last modified on Friday, 12 January 2024 16:34

Foothills_Parkway_NPS_Photo.pngA portion of the existing Foothills Parkway along the current Blount/Sevier/Cocke counties stretch.  National Park Service

GATLINBURG — The National Park Service is accepting comments through Nov. 18 for the proposed construction of Foothills Parkway Section 8D in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The park is preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed project that would extend the parkway within the existing NPS-managed corridor approximately nine miles from Wears Valley to the Spur near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge.  

“The completed sections of the Foothills Parkway provide opportunities for scenic views and outdoor recreation and connect visitors and neighbors to the park, as well as the regional transportation network,” said Deputy Superintendent Alan Sumeriski.

“We’re looking forward to taking this next step in the planning process for Section 8D and welcome comments and ideas from the public.” 

Last modified on Wednesday, 20 December 2023 10:15

Cumberland Trails summit coming in October


The Cumberland Trail Summit is happening October 19-21, 2023. The Cumberland Trail Summit is an opportunity to showcase our trail communities. The Summit will focus on outdoor recreation, community building and educational programs

The mission of the Cumberland Trails Conference is to provide paid and volunteer labor, equipment, supplies and vehicles to design and construct the Cumberland Trail under the auspices of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

The continued development and construction of the Cumberland Trail is accomplished through a working relationship between the Cumberland Trails Conference (CTC), the Cumberland Trail State Scenic Park, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.  The CTC, private corporations, foundations, individuals and others assist TDEC in raising funds for land acquisition, providing maintenance and further developing the Cumberland Trail.

The Cumberland Trail State Scenic Trail State Park operates a professional trail crew mostly in the north sections.

The Cumberland Trails Conference also maintains a professional trail crew that works twelve months a year.  Additional labor comes from thousands of hours of volunteer service provided through the CTC, including through the CTC BreakAway, a college Alternative Spring Break program.

The Cumberland Trail is an extensive foot trail constructed and maintained largely by volunteers from Tennessee and across the nation. The Trail is managed by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC).

Building the Cumberland Trail is a grassroots effort, driven by communities along the trail, government agencies and a broad network of volunteers. This successful private/public partnership is a model often cited to demonstrate the power of volunteerism and public/private partnerships.

When completed, the Cumberland Trail will extend more than 300 miles from its northern terminus in Cumberland Gap National Historical Park in Kentucky to its southern terminus at the Chickamauga-Chattanooga National Military Park located on Signal Mountain just outside Chattanooga, Tennessee.

— Cumberland Trails Conference