May 11, 2007 - The Tennessee Valley
Earth Partnership's, (TVEP), EarthFest has been recognized by the
state as an outstanding program for its efforts to raise awareness
of environmental issues.
Gov. Phil Bredesen's office announced this week that EarthFest
has received a 2007 Governor's Environmental Stewardship Award -
one of only 12 winners out of more than 100 events and projects
submitted for consideration.
The City of Knoxville, which is a financial supporter and one
of the partners in TVEP, nominated EarthFest 2006 for the award.
The event is Knoxville, and the region's celebration of Earth
Knox County, the University of Tennessee, Keep Knoxville Beautiful
and several other organizations are also part of TVEP.
"This is great" John Homa, the city's solid waste reduction
specialist and co-chair of the Tennessee Valley Earth Partnership,
said of the award. "It's really exciting that we can put on
an event of this size for the region and be recognized for it."
"Hopefully it will be a good example for other cities to put
on the same type of event," he added.
Homa, along with Cat Wilt with the UT's Institute for a Secure
and Sustainable Environment have been coordinators of the event
since its creation eight years ago and have worked with vendors,
contributors and other organizations to make it a success.
TVEP won the stewardship award in the "Environmental and Education
A release from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation
noted that the 2006 version of Earthfest promoted public awareness
of environmental issues in East Tennessee ranging from clean air
and water to urban forestation.
It also noted that EarthFest practiced what it preached.
The event, which featured more than 100 exhibtors and drew more
than 10,000 people to World's Fair Park, was a "zero-waste
event" resulting in barely 150 pounds of non-recyclable wastes
that ended up in a landfill.
Homa said organizers did even better at EarthFest 2007 - despite
drawing 13,000 to 14,000 visitors and featuring about 110 exhibitors
"There was just 25 pounds of trash that we couldn't find some
way to compost or recycle," Homa said of the aftermath of EarthFest
The Department of Environment and Conservation noted in announcing
the awards that, "the event has been such a success that other
event organizers in the area are modeling (EarthFest) to make their
The City, Knox County and the University of Tennessee started the
event eight years ago and the first one drew four thousand people
to Concord Cove Park.
It mixes environmental exhibits with food, music and fun.
It has since grown into one of the premier environmental festivals
in the Southeast.
Many of the exhibits and environmental displays were designed with
children in mind and included hands-on activities.
Homa said the event is a celebration, but one with a serious purpose
- making people aware of the small steps they can take to make Knoxville
and the surrounding area a better place to live environmentally
for all of us.