Known for its natural beauty, unique culture and southern hospitality, Tennessee strives to be at the forefront of sustainability efforts to preserve its wonder and charm for future generations to come. In honor of Earth Day, Tennessee Tourism created a roundup of clean, green and sustainable ways to eat, explore, lodge and travel across the state. Find Tennessee Tourism on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
A More Sustainable Tennessee
The Solar Farm Welcome Center: The Solar Farm Welcome Center is surrounded by a 25-acre, five-megawatt solar farm, overseen by the University of Tennessee. The center features a circular interactive spectrum exhibit bringing solar power to life for visitors. Here you can learn how solar energy really works, how the sun is keeping the lights on, and the innovations and opportunities solar power brings to Tennesseans.
Tennessee Sustainable Spirits: Tennessee is home to world-class whiskey, wine, beer and fine spirits. Tennessee Sustainable Spirits is a voluntary recognition and technical assistance program by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation which seeks to reduce operational costs and environmental impacts for wineries and wine-growers, breweries and distilleries as well as serve as a gateway to sustainability through popular brands.
Tennessee Sustainable Hospitality: Along with generating economic activity, Tennessee’s hospitality industry has an environmental impact on the state through resource usage and waste generation. Tennessee Sustainable Hospitality and TDEC provide a sustainability roadmap for businesses to follow which includes tips for energy and water conservation, recycling and waste reduction, food waste reduction, communication, education and greening the supply chain.
Keep Tennessee Beautiful: Keep Tennessee Beautiful is the state-level affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, and serves as a state resource for litter prevention, community greening, and recycling and water education. They are also partners with TDOT’s Nobody Trashes Tennessee, the state of Tennessee’s official litter prevention campaign.
Chattanooga Airport: The Chattanooga Airport became the first and only U.S. airport powered by sustainable solar energy with a 2.74-megawatt solar farm consisting of over 9,000 solar panels and battery storage technology that allows the system to run off the grid. Additionally, it has LEED-certified facilities, and the world’s first LEED Platinum Certified aviation terminal.
Celebrate Earth Day with These Statewide Events
EarthDayz at Rock City: Join Rock City Gardens in Chattanooga this April for EarthDayz, a naturally fun outdoor Earth Day celebration. Be mesmerized when vines and trees come to life with methodical movement, hear live percussionists and go on a virtual scavenger hunt while enjoying the great outdoors.
Museum of Science & History’s Annual Plant Sale: This Earth Day weekend the Museum of Science & History (MoSH) in Memphis will host its annual Volunteer Plant Sale on April 22 and 23, 2022 at the Lichterman Nature Center. During the celebration guests can explore the 65-acre nature center and arboretum that is home to lush gardens, wildlife exhibits, and trails through lake, meadow and forest habitats.
Ijams Nature Center’s Sustainable Fashion Event: On Sunday, April 24, the Ijams Nature Center and Natural Alternatives Salon and Spa in Knoxville will present Fleurish: A Sustainable Fashion Event. It will include 12 local designers, along with hair stylists and makeup artists, who will create looks using both recycled and natural materials.
Seed Lending Library at Stokes Brown Library: Dig in the Dirt! Check out free seeds to plant a garden through the Seed Lending Library at Stokes Brown Public Library in Springfield and while you’re there, check out some fun Earth Day reading for all ages, whether children-friendly Earth Day crafts, juvenile and family gardening, or adult sustainable living skills. Try your hand at a window-seal herb garden, porch container garden, raised beds or inground garden and discover your green thumb.
Earth Day at Wolf Gap: Celebrate Earth Day at Wolf Gap in Pulaski by getting on in nature with a Native Plant Walk, observe and assist with freshwater testing, get crafty and make native wildflower seed bombs. There will also be a special Earth Day scavenger hunt, Tenn Pin Alley’s food truck and more.
Where to Stay
David Crockett State Park Cabins: The David Crockett State Park Cabins in Lawrenceburg are the perfect, family weekend getaway. Equipped with geothermal-powered HVAC units and gas fireplaces, these LEED-certified vacation homes are ahead of the curve on energy conservation. The state park also has the Tennessee Naturalist Program which serves as an educational training program to provide service and outreach efforts to help preserve Tennessee’s natural beauty and resources.
The Greenbrier Beechhouse: Enjoy unique, earth-friendly lodging at the luxury treehouse rental in Greenbrier which features tongue-and-groove pine ceilings, a spacious deck, swing bridge, fresh eggs and much more. Visit the magic and check availability HERE.
The Crash Pad: Located in Chattanooga, this eco-friendly, LEED-certified glamping spot is unlike any other. Offering 24 bunk beds or five private rooms, complimentary DIY breakfast and walking distance to some of the area’s best restaurants and bars, this classic yet charming hostel provides visitors with a blend of reclaimed and renewable resources to ensure the best of energy efficiency while supporting local sustainable businesses.
Where to Eat & Drink
The Polk County Tramp Festival: The 64th annual Ramp Tramp Festival in Reliance will take place April 22-23 with two days of live music, crafts and traditional Ramp Meals which includes ramps in eggs, white beans, cornbread, fried potatoes and streaked meat bacon.
Lupi’s Pizza Pies: Lupi’s Pizza Pies in Chattanooga makes their pizzas and salads from local ingredients purchases from local farms and vendors in the community, or from their own Flying Turtle Farm. In addition to producing most of their own meats, vegetables and flowers. Lupi’s recycles everything possible from glass and plastic to trimmings and food waste from the kitchen to feed the pigs at the farm.
The Farm House: The Farm House in Nashville is an innovative farm-to-table restaurant located in downtown Nashville. Prepare your taste buds for Chef/Owner Trey Cioccia‘s ever-changing seasonal menu. This spring enjoy delicious dishes ranging from trout to southern carbonara, bone-in porkchop and much more.
Memphis Riverfront Park’s Arbor Day Tree Planting and Pollinator Party: On April 29, head to Mud Island to volunteer in planting replacement trees along the river at its Arbor Day Tree Planting. Stick around the next day to participate in the Pollinator Workshop Garden party at Beale Street Landing to learn more about local pollinators.
Springfield Greenway: Springfield Greenway is a scenic 4-mile paved trail that meanders along the historic and business districts, we well as tree-lined Sulfur Creek and public playgrounds. The flat and wide terrain accommodates walkers, runners and bike riders. This greenway has been honored with a 4-star Award, the highest award granted from the Tennessee Recreation and Parks Association
Gatlinburg Skylift Park: Take in Tennessee’s stunning beauty at Gatlinburg Skylift Park’s launch of its special VIP Sunrise Access event. Here, ticket holders will be granted early access to the park to see the sunrise over the stunning Smoky Mountains.
Mirimichi Lakes Golf: Bring your “A-game” this Earth Day at Mirimichi Lakes Golf in Millington. This award-winning course of more than 7,400 yards provides its visitors with an eco-friendly experience. From integrated pest management and water conservation, Mirimichi offers championship-worthy views and environmentally friendly practices for both amateur and professional level players.
Cheekwood Estate and Garden: Cheekwood Estate and Gardens in Nashville serves the public as a botanical garden, arboretum and art museum with an extraordinary historic 1930s estate, 55 acres of cultivated grounds and expansive vistas, 12 distinct gardens and a 1.5-mile-long woodland trail. Visitors are invited to come and celebrate Earth Day by enjoying this year’s Martin Shallenberger Artist-in-Residence, a free 30-minute audio tour of the 1.5-mile-long Ann & Monroe Carell Jr. Family Sculpture Trail, pick up an arboretum map to learn about the 120+ distinct species that live on the property, experience the Bracken Foundation Children’s Garden and partake in Cheekwood’s Wellness 360 which is an initiative in partnership with Vanderbilt Health that encourages visitors to take advantage of Cheekwood’s 55-acres of breathing room to rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit.
Hatchie BirdFest: Head to Brownville to partake in 3-days of bird watching and escape to the great outdoors at the ninth annual Hatchie Birdfest (April 22-24). The event will offer a variety of activities for all ages and skill levels, including nature hikes, educational seminars, a canoe trip down Oneal Lake and much more.
Spring Garden Fair: The Spring Garden Fair in Kingsport is a true celebration of heritage farming and heirloom gardening. From April 30-May 1, come and experience the oldest garden fair in the region where attendees can hear from master gardeners, buy from a wide selection of heritage and native perennials, annuals, trees and shrubs.
The Art Project: Keep the sustainable, family-friendly fun going in Memphis at The Art Project, a studio where kids dive into their craft skills and get creative with a wide array of supplies and recycled materials for their very own DIY piece of art.
The Homestead Festival: The Homestead Festival takes place June 3-4 at a 100-acre historic farm in Columbia and will feature a variety of entry-level homesteading activities, talks and demonstrations during the day and then musical performances on the main stage at sunset. The festival was created for those interested in getting started in homesteading or living more sustainably by teaching them the skills of food preservation, raising chickens, making soap, homeschooling and more.