Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club Enjoying the outdoors
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If you have had enough with what is being done to your family's and your environment, help us take action. We don't need a lot, but we cannot do it without you.

Look through the below list of existing committees. If one inspires you, please contact the chair of the committee to learn how you can get involved. Looking for something different, contact Axel C Ringe (onyxfarm@bellsouth.net) for more information.

If you need help or have a question about what is going on in your neighborhood, please contact Axel C Ringe (onyxfarm@bellsouth.net), the Chapter Conservation Chair.

Join us for fun and helping others. Come dream big with us, together anything is possible; however, we cannot do it without you.


Beyond Coal/TVA Committee

Contact: Louise Gorenflo

Mission Statement: The TVA Committee will persuade TVA to become an accountable provider of sustainable energy within the TVA service area.

2012 Goals TN Climate Action Campaign
  1. Reduce Carbon Emissions
    • To reduce residential energy consumption and carbon emissions by urging 700 of the Alarmed to get a home energy audit and follow-through with the recommendations.
    • To minimize the Campaign’s carbon footprint through online participatory deliberation and decision making and reduce the need to travel.
    • Organizational Goals and Objectives: To build a climate action and energy efficiency campaign infrastructure in TN by developing statewide and local climate action networks that share the value of climate action through energy efficiency.
  2. TVA Biomass Sustainability Guidelines
    • To develop an inter-organizational network of sustainable forest practitioners and advocates.
    • To cooperatively develop with TVA criteria for it to use in determining the sustainability of its biomass projects and purchase power agreements.
  3. TVA Accountability Watch:
    • Attend or monitor TVA board meetings
    • Develop strategies for more TVA accountability to the Valley
    • Engage TVA board members to inform them of Chapter concerns

Rebuild/Repower America Committee

Contact: Mary Mastin

Mission Statement: Educate and advocate for alternative energy use, concentrating on solar and wind for increased efficiency in all energy use

2012 Goals
  1. Advocate for greater use of renewable energy in TVA valley - explore ways to get a renewable portfolio standard, SREC's, work with enviro and solar industry allies
  2. Advocate restoration of TVA's Generation Partners financial incentive program to cover installations larger than 50 kw again and continued incentive support for renewable past 2012 including presenting and petitioning the TVA Board
    • Promote Statewide awareness of TVA Generation Partners program – or financial incentive for renewable energy program by sponsoring viewings or otherwise distributing TVA's promotional video or other material on renewable energy financial incentives, working with local distributors
    • Promote National Solar Tour Day - 1st Saturday in October
  3. Work on energy effectiveness in buildings, including in commercial building codes and in vehicles, if there is legislation
    • Educate on green building techniques - promote/sponsor Green Building Council tours
    • Educate on weatherization techniques/potentials


Environmental Education Committee

Contact: Cliff Cockerham

Mission Statement:
  • The mission of all Sierra Club environmental education leaders is to help build an environmentally literate citizenry by working with local teachers, youth leaders, state government agencies, issue activists, and others.
  • Within that framework the immediate mission of the SC TN chapter environmental education committee is to confirm and extend the role of the Sierra Club in engaging people in educational institutions (high schools & elementary schools) on environmental issues.
  • We expect to impact higher education only to the extent that we will make a more organized and explicit effort to encourage graduating high school seniors with SSC contact to maintain their SC relationships on TN campuses via our committee's list of voluntary SC campus contacts.
  • While our initial focus was been on building an organization in MTG and establishing lines of communication with education institutions across the state, we have already begun to make inroads with institutions across the State of TN. If and when other SC and non-SC entities express a desire to take advantage of this groundwork, we hope it will serve to greatly expand the depth, breadth, numbers, and engagement of TN youth on environmental issues.
  • We are especially hopeful that demonstrating the proof of concept will inspire others to maximize the engagement of nascent youth environmental organizations in TN with SC groups, facilitating group excoms wishing to make good use of this opportunity to expand membership, volunteer energy, fundraising, programming, & outreach.
2012 Goals
  1. Continue to slowly and informally grow the existing number of SC members/friends (working in high schools & colleges) agreeing to serve as organizers, advisers, +/or communicators with student bodies, and most importantly, welcome rising SC freshmen from high school based SSC as they arrive on TN college campuses.
  2. Continue to slowly and informally grow the number of current high schools & elementary schools that are engaged (or wish to engage) with SC on environmental issues.
  3. Develop an informal consensus memo that outlines the commitments and limits on the student-mentor relationship work with Sierra Student Coalition (SSC) if and when they ask for help.
  4. Sponsor an environmental education program, working in collaboration with other Sierra Club committees and potential partnering organizations, often in support of the Sierra Student Coalition.

Population Committee

Contact: Axel Ringe

Mission Statement: Recognizing that the Sierra Club adopted a policy of population stabilization for the United States in 1965, the Population Committee will attempt to supply information that is appropriate to connecting demographic statistics and environmental advocacy. In this endeavor, the committee will attempt to communicate with elected officials, government agencies, business groups, media, and citizenry on matters affecting growth, taxes, sprawl, pollution, and the quality of life as they relate to an increase in human population.

2012 Goals
  1. We will continue opposition to any changes which would weaken the club's long standing policy on population reduction.
  2. We will publish periodically educational materials on population related information.

Organic & Local Agriculture Committee

Contact: Dean Whitworth

Mission Statement: I Inform residents, members and elected officials about sustainable agriculture; benefits of supporting working family farms; local food security; recruiting participation at farmers markets and community gardens.

2012 Goals:
  1. Share OLA info & emerging issues on TN Chapter listserve and social networking sites
  2. 5th year WG organic garden
  3. Assist local farmers market relocation to new downtown open-air location
  4. Rent booth space at farmers market 8 or more times
  5. CAFO outreach as requested
  6. Educate community re food security, family farmers and benefits of buying fresh local produce & meat.
  7. Encourage other community gardens
  8. Invite community residents to attend planned events at garden site

Water Quality Committee

Contact: Axel Ringe

Mission Statement: To protect, preserve, and restore Tennessee's waters and wetlands through advocacy, education, and litigation to make them fishable and swimmable once more, and to protect the health of the communities that depend on them.

2012 Goals:
  1. To oppose the practice of mountain-top removal, cross-ridge, or any other destructive type of surface mining in Tennessee.
  2. To oppose the gratuitous destruction of wetlands and advocate for their preservation and restoration.
  3. To advocate for the preservation and/or restoration of the streams, rivers and lakes of Tennessee; specifically to oppose the weakening of protections for intermittent and ephemeral streams.
  4. To advocate for protective standards for water quality in TN waters.


Biodiversity Committee

Contact: Axel Ringe

Mission Statement: The mission of the Sierra Club’s TN Chapter Biodiversity Committee is to work to protect and, as much as possible, restore the native biodiversity of Tennessee.

2012 Goals:
  1. Work with other organizations to protect endangered and threatened species in TN.
  2. Produce and publish a photo book on Sandhill cranes and advocate for their protection.
  3. Work to ensure TWRA does not implement a proposed hunting season for Sandhill cranes.

Great Smoky Mountains National Park Committee

Contact: Ray Payne

Mission Statement:
  • Support the General Management Plan (GMP) of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GRSM) as issued in January 1982, recognizing that, from time to time, revisions to the GMP may be proposed by the National Park Service (NPS).
  • When a revision to the GMP is proposed, it will be diligently reviewed by the committee, public meetings relative to the proposal will be attended for the purpose of gathering additional information, and a recommendation on further action that should be taken by the Tennessee Chapter members will be made to the Chapter Executive Committee for it¹s approval.
  • Any proposed revision that threatens the integrity of the GRSM or is detrimental to the natural, cultural and historic resources and values of GRSM, will be vigorously opposed.
  • Proposed revisions to the GMP that the Smokies Committee/Chp Exe Comm determines to be beneficial to the GRSM, as approved by the Chp Exe Comm will be supported.
  • Other proposals of the NPS that may affect the integrity of the GRSM or its cultural, historic, and natural resources/values but do not require a revision to the GMP will be treated with equal scrutiny.

2012 Goals
  1. Work with the CEFSC to encourage the Congress to fulfill ii’s contractual agreement to pay Swain County, NC, the $52 million that the Department of Interior agreed to pay Swain County in lieu of constructing a road in the north shore area of Fontana Lake, in the Smokies, as originally agreed to in a document dated July 30, 1943.
  2. Monitor the management of the elk population in the Smokies to determine if the NPS is fulfilling its obligations on managing the elk herd in the long term as determined in an Environmental Assessment completed in 2011 on this issue.
  3. Participate as a citizens organization, in the proposed revision of the GMP relative to the Cades Cove traffic congestion, and the use by visitors that are detrimental to the natural, cultural and historical resources of Cades Cove. The continuation of this project is contingent on whether or not funds become available for this purpose when the Congress completes the budget for fiscal year 2012 for the Department of Interior.
  4. Participate as a citizens organization, in the project to determine if a major change should be made in the management of the use of backcountry campsites that would require backpackers to make a reservation for the use of all backcountry campsites and pay a fee for this purpose.
  5. Support the strengthening of the Clean Air Act to reduce the detrimental effects of polluted air on the Smokies.
  6. Work with the Smoky Mountains Hiking Club, TCWP, and the CEFSC to accomplish our goal on the above issues.

National Forests & Wilderness Committee

Contact: Axel Ringe

Mission Statement: Our mission is to encourage emphasis on the ecological values of the Cherokee National Forest. Included in this mission is the restoration and preservation of biodiversity, improved protection of fish, wildlife, plants, wildlife, soil and water resources, an increase in the size of existing Wilderness Ares, designation of additional Wilderness Areas, increased availability of nature oriented recreation and the protection of scenic values.

2012 Goals
  1. Monitoring Forest Service management activities and commenting on proposed activities
  2. Enhancing public awareness of, and interest in, forest-related issues
  3. Promoting activities designed to increase citizen participation in the forest planning process and forest management.
  4. Fostering spirit of cooperation with the Forest Service
  5. Cooperating with other groups through the region who share common interests and concerns regarding our national forest

State Parks & Natural Areas Committee

Contact: Penny Brooks

Mission Statement:
  • The State Parks and Natural Areas Committee will work to preserve the State Parks and Natural Areas in their natural state as much as possible.
  • We will work to increase the numbers of acres included in the State Parks and Natural Areas system.
  • We will keep the Tennessee Chapter informed about legislative issues affecting parks, administrative/management decisions regarding the Parks and Natural Areas, potential threats and possible additions to the Parks and Natural Areas.

2012 Goal
  1. In 2012 the State Parks and Natural Areas committee will inform the chapter at the quarterly meeting concerning any changes in the administration/management of the State Parks and Natural Areas, any potential additions to the State Parks, any potential legislation and any problems involving the State Parks and Natural Areas.
News and Issues for Tennessee Sierra Club News and Issues

Arrow Upcoming Meetings

April 10-11-12, 2015 in @ the Natchez Trace State Park Group Lodge. Contact Cherokee Group @ barbaraduckhurst@hotmail.com for more information.

Sierra Club - Tennessee Chapter