Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park Honored for Sustainability
The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) has honored Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park in Eva as winner of the 2019 Excellence in Sustainability Award for Tennessee State Parks.
Parks nominated in the sustainability category for the awards are those that have demonstrated exceptional sustainability measures throughout their park or within a specific operation of the park. Sustainability includes a wide variety of activities including but not limited to energy conservation, recycling, waste reduction, water conservation, local purchasing, reduction in consumption, reuse, organic and native gardening, use of recycled products, reduction of chemicals, and more.
“Sustainability is a priority for TDEC, and Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park has been a leader worthy of recognition,” Jim Bryson, deputy commissioner of TDEC, said. “We are proud of the staff at the park for its commitment in this area, and we are pleased to present the park with this award.”
Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park has worked to improve sustainability since implementation of the Tennessee State Parks GoGreen program as well as through EnergyCap software. This has culminated in an annual cost-reduction of nearly $60,000 as compared to 2016 data, despite rising utility rates. That is a 43.5 percent reduction in utility expenses in only three years.
The park has upgraded all park lighting to LEDs, replaced all high-use bathroom fixtures with waterless and low-flow units, replaced all park HVAC units with a 16 Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and above, and replaced a large electric boiler in the Group Lodge with three gas tankless water heaters. The environmental footprint has been greatly diminished with energy use dipping from 1.6 million Btu per area to a .19 Btu per area. The park has also increased efforts toward sustainable resource management by planting trees including American Chestnuts and hybrids, maintaining a hive of honey bees as pollinators, and producing sorghum to help interpret how agriculture impacts nature.
The Tennessee State Park Awards were created to recognize excellent work in the parks and are overseen by the Park Area Managers. Parks and Conservation directors vote on the awards, which are presented annually in January at an award ceremony during a parks management conference. Categories for the awards include facilities management, innovation, interpretation, resource management, and sustainability.