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Awards Categories

The Governor's Environmental Stewardship Awards has ten categories. Each category represents a different area of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Applications in each category are judged on seven different judging cateria areas, which can be found on our Awards Criteria page.

The Agriculture and Forestry award will demonstrate innovation in implementation of practices supporting sustainable agricultural and/or forestry activities. Nominations may include but are not limited to programs and projects that incorporate environmentally-friendly asset management, water and stormwater management, soil conservation practice implementation, fertilization approaches, farming techniques, processing, byproduct and materials management, transportation, and other food systems production techniques. Special consideration will be given to projects that result in the production of more profitable and resource efficient, higher quality, equitable, and healthier agricultural goods or services as well as those projects that enhance communities, build resilience and prioritize partnerships

The Buiding Green award recognizes innovation in siting, structure design and use, deconstruction and construction techniques, supply chain materials sourcing, operation efficiency (water use, energy efficiency), longevity, flexibility of use, protecting occupant health and productivity, and reduction in overall carbon footprint as applied to the built environments and land use projects or developments. A project using in-fill, brownfields, underutilized land, preservation of green spaces in site design, or repurposing of existing structure will receive special considersation.

2019: Ruby Falls, Hamilton County

Repurposed the historic 1929 Cavern Castle and added a two-story 13,000 building expansion and a 4,000 sf outdoor venue addition. The expansion incorporates LED lights, low-flow water fixtures, 22,716 tons of rock were excavated during construction and repurposed, and daylighting.

The Clean Air award will demonstrate measurable progress in reducing hazardous air pollutants, volatile organic compounds, acid rain precursors, greenhouse gases and other air emissions sources, outdoor exposure to toxic air contaminants, and/or air deposition loading to land and water. Nominations may include programs and projects that incorporate installation of pollution prevention technologies, logistics, and/or operational change that result in improved air quality. Cap and trade activities will not be considered.

2019: Cumberland International, Davidson County

The C10 truck is an International semi-truck with a specially designed aftermarket package which features an engine that meets or exceeds EPA emission standards, a state-of-the-art aerodynamics kit, and an ultra-efficient auxiliary power unit. The C10 was developed by Cumberland International which has replaced over 1,000 “standard” trucks with fuel-efficient C10 trucks in 2018. Each of these trucks will reduce the CO2 output of the trucking industry in Tennessee by 50 tons. Taken altogether, these trucks have reduced CO2 output by 50,000 tons annually, the equivalent of replacing 1.7 million incandescent light bulbs with LEDs.

The Energy and Renewable Resources award recognizes projects that further the widespread use and adoption of alternative fuels or novel domestic fuel sources, energy conservation and energy efficiency strategies, or innovative energy or alternative fuel devices or techniques. Nominations may also include projects that increase the energy efficiency of buildings or equipment, the use of environmentally-friendly energy production technologies, developing advanced energy technologies, using renewable energy resources or the use of innovative technologies that will reduce dependence upon traditional fossil-fuel-based energy sources. Special consideration will be given to nominations that demonstrate a comprehensive approach to energy issues and highlight the relationship between the environmental benefits and the associated social and economic benefits.

2019: Tennsco Corporation, Dickson County

In cooperation with Dickson Electric Company and Tennessee Valley Authority Tennsco signed on with the “Dispersed Power Production” program developed by TVA. Through this agreement Tennsco has purchased and installed an additional 794kw of photovoltaic cells on three of their facilities in Dickson, TN, totaling a 1.2 megawatt array. In addition to solar the plant installed LED indoor lighting and outdoor lighting at three of their eight buildings realizing more than 300,000kWh annual savings. Additionally, Tennsco has enhanced sustainability through variable frequency drive and electric forklift upgrades. 

The Environmental Education and Outreach award recognizes an outstanding education and/or outreach program that promotes environmental stewardship, increases citizen awareness, and results in enhanced environmental protection. Nominations may include demonstration projects, awareness campaigns, or programs allowing communities to address environmental issues such as waste reduction, energy and water conservation, or non-point source pollution.

2019: Turnip Green Creative Reuse, Davidson County

TGCR educates citizens on how to reduce waste in their daily lives at home, work, and school. In 2018, TGCR’s staff of 65 educators facilitated 962 waste reduction education programs in Davidson County to over 34,000 residents. Programs are taught through hands-on art projects using materials from the donation center, which collects over 100 pounds of hard-to-recycle materials every hour they are open.  Target audiences for the waste reduction programs include local schools in underserved communities. 

The Material Management award recognizes conservation and protection of natural resources and cost reduction through waste prevention, reducing toxicity, re-use, recycling, composting, environmentally-preferable purchasing, supply chain dynamics, as well as product design and stewardship. Nominations may include projects addressing input change, product reformulation, and production process redesign, conservation techniques, material re-use and beneficial land application. Special consideration will be given to nominations that demonstrate a comprehensive approach and highlight the relationship between the environmental benefits and the associated social and economic benefits.

2019: The Compost Fairy, Shelby County

The Compost Fairy is the first and only organization in Memphis to actively address residential and commercial food waste. In 2018 Compost Fairy diverted a total of 257,556 lbs from landfills, which resulted in 38,633 lbs of finished compost.

The Natural Resource Conservation award recognizes innovative approaches, methods, and achievements in preserving, protecting, restoring, and enhancing Tennessee's natural resources in a variety of environments. Nominations may span a wide range of activities that address Tennessee;s natural, geologic, or ecological resources include in open space, wetlands, estuaries, biological diversity, endangered species, and preservation of land or conservation. Projects may also include efforts that occur in Tennessee's rural, suburban, and urban areas that result in preservation, restoration or development of green spaces, greenways, or other major public projects that result in parks or natural aquatic features for communities. Special consideration will be given for integrated approaches that benefit Tennessee's natural resources, preserve cultural resources, and enhance communities.

The Sustainable Performance award recognizes a holistic approach to achieve sustainability and integrated environmental values and conservation of natural resources into comprehensive, decision making, and long-term leadership from management of businesses and facilities. Nominations must demonstrate achievement in multiple operational areas such as facility lifecycle, supply chain management, community engagement, employee involvement, and product or service design and delivery.

2019: Norris Water Commission, Anderson County

Norris Water Commission took initiative to learn and pursue innovative low-cost approaches to optimizing water quality and reducing energy consumption at its aging wastewater treatment plant through voluntary participation in TDEC’s Wastewater Nutrient Optimization program. Norris operators have achieved 80-90% reductions to phosphorous concentrations to levels of less than 1 mg/l in their effluent. Norris is one of the smallest wastewater systems in Tennessee.

The Water Quality and Conservation award will demonstrate measurable progress and innovation in improving water quality, preserving water quantity, enhancing aquatic resource integrity, or employing practices in water treatment or water resource conservation and protection. Nominations may include programs and projects that incorporate water resource restoration, conservation and protection, installation of pollution prevention technologies, alternative water supplies, and facility or system design, logistics, or operational change that result in improved water quality or more efficient water use. Special consideration will be given to projects that integrate innovative solutions and technologies in improving water quality and increasing conservation and demonstrate potential for applicability by others.

The Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement award is given to an individual who has devoted at least 20 years of effective and valuable service to Tennessee's environmental protection or conservation stewardship. Past winners have demonstrated notable personal achievements in various areas, such as natural resource management, conservation, education, public service, and political support toward Tennessee's conservation and/or environmental protection.


Kathy Glapa

Office of Policy and Sustainable Practices


This Page Last Updated: March 20, 2020 at 8:02 AM