With beautiful weather and tons of green initiatives, Tullahoma’s second annual Earth Day Celebration was a success, according to city officials.
Alderman Robin Dunn, who works with the Go Green! Tullahoma committee that put on the event, said every objective she and the vendors had to “raise awareness and have fun doing it” was met in spades.
According to Dunn, the event drew a crowd of about 1,000 people – nearly double what the inaugural event brought in last year – who stopped by to learn how to live a greener lifestyle and help protect the Earth.
Held in Frazier McEwen Park, booths representing a wife variety of environmental services were set up to deliver information about the city’s water supply, solar energy, “worm tea,” hiking trails and more.
Myriad different groups came together to teach the community about green energy, green thumbs and green living, with information spanning from area hiking trails and arts and crafts to tiny houses and vegan lifestyles.
One of the more popular booths, according to Dunn, was the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s “Wildlife on Wheels” trailer. The trailer was filled with taxidermied animals from the area and the trailer representative, Dustin Thames, quizzed all those who stopped by his booth on different animal pelts he had on display.
Dunn said Thames’ trailer “may have been the star of the festival,” for all the information and hands-on experiences it offered to attendees. Guests were able to step inside the trailer and learn about wildlife native to Tennessee and then come out and feel the fur of some of those native species.
Other conversation starters included a stormwater diorama presented by Ryan Patterson, the city’s stormwater specialist, and the solar panel model presented by Tullahoma Utilities Authority’s Jamie Treadwell and Christopher Barstad.
Both of these booths, Dunn said, “sparked many conversations with guests” about stormwater collection and solar energy.
Other local agencies and businesses were in attendance, such as Interlocal Solid Waste Authority (ISWA) and CFC Recycling. ISWA’s Carol Fulmer had information about proper recycling techniques, as well as a model composting bin for those looking to further reduce their household waste. CFC Recycling brought baled aluminum cans totaling more than 1,000 pounds.
The event wasn’t just an educational opportunity, though many booths had education materials on hand. Several booths also presented guests an opportunity to get their hands dirty and test their green thumbs with live plants for sale.
Lynchburg Microbe Brewery had gallon jugs of “worm tea” for sale for those looking for special nutrients for their various flora, while the Tullahoma Community Garden Cooperative also offered numerous plants for sale, as well as small treats.
Some booths featured nature-themed crafts and activities for children, such as the Tullahoma Art Center’s booth for rock painting, manned by TAC President Beth Thames.
Other activities included walking along a “meditation mat” with Tami Sterchak of Silly Kids Yoga. She had her mat laid out for any visitors who wanted to clear and better focus their minds.
“Our goal was to raise awareness and have fun doing it,” said Dunn. “I think we accomplished what we set out to do.”
Dunn also thanked corporate sponsors Ole Shed Brewery and Cherokee Distributing, who offered alcoholic beverages to those of age. The Bonnaroo Works Fund also received a large thank you. Dunn said the Go Green! committee received a $5,000 grant from the Bonnaroo Works Fund last year to help expand the reach of the Earth Day festival.
Thanks to the partnerships and sponsorships, this year’s festival built on the success of the previous year’s event, and Dunn said she and the Go Green! Tullahoma group were already making plans for next year’s ceremony.
Arbor Day Proclamation
Throughout the afternoon, Dunn and other city officials took time to recognize the contributions of both the Tullahoma Tree Board and Tullahoma Utilities Authority for the work those groups do to keep Tullahoma green.
For the 23rd straight year, the Arbor Day Foundation recognized Tullahoma as a Tree City USA, thanks in large part to the tree board and its installation of the city’s arboretum.
Tree Board Chairman Ralph Graham was on hand to display the flag designating the community as a friend to all trees during the event.
Tullahoma Utilities Authority was also recognized for its work bringing reliable electric power to the citizens of Tullahoma while also protecting the area’s natural resources.
The Arbor Day Foundation also recognized TUA as a Treeline USA Utility for the seventh consecutive year.
TUA Forester Monty Hawkins served as the utility company’s representative during the ceremony.
Trad Family Day
The day was also very special for one local family, thanks to a special proclamation read by Dunn.
After the city and TUA were honored for their efforts keeping the city’s trees healthy, Dunn gathered up the members of the Trad family.
Renee Trad, her husband Eric and their son Garrett were thanked by Dunn on behalf of the people of Tullahoma for their tireless work with the community garden at C.D. Stamps Community Center.
According to Dunn, the Trads are a military family that will soon be leaving Tullahoma, but in the several years they’ve been here, they have jumped in with both feet for all things green.
Renee had wanted to start a community garden as soon as she’d moved to town, Dunn said. When she learned there had already been one started, she immediately joined the group and helped bring the garden back to life, along with her husband and son.
Because of their dedication to the garden, Dunn officially named Saturday, April 27, 2019, as “Trad Family Day in Tullahoma.”
Erin McCullough may be reached at email@example.com.