Anti-Litter Video Project Wants Tennesseans To Sing, Play, Tweet To A Cleaner Tennessee

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A Tennessee nonprofit best known for promoting the state’s scenic qualities now wants to showcase Tennessee’s musical heritage as well.

Scenic Tennessee has been awarded $100,000 by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to produce a series of quick-paced videos that apply the power of Tennessee music to the problem of Tennessee litter. Tentatively called “Tennessee Speed Cleanups,” the project involves videotaping dozens of litter pickups across the state, digitally accelerating the footage, then setting it to original or traditional music performed by amateur as well as professional musicians. Enhanced with captions, credits and images from 20 years of Scenic Tennessee photo contests, the completed videos will be shared via traditional media as well as sites like Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. UT Knoxville’s student environmental group SPEAK will oversee the social media side of the project.

It is all part of a new effort by TDOT’s beautification office to address litter “beyond routine maintenance.” Scenic Tennessee, an affiliate of Scenic America, is one of 15 grant recipients notified yesterday of their share in nearly $1 million provided by the state’s soft drink and malt beverage industries. Grantees are required to provide a 20-percent match; for Scenic Tennessee, this will come in the form of hundreds of hours of volunteer labor.

“We’re thrilled, honored and excited by this opportunity,” said Scenic Tennessee President Marge Davis, “and so grateful to the beverage industries for their innovation and generosity. Thanks to them, we can now get busy lining up recording studios, outfitting video teams and recruiting singers and songwriters. We’ll also be asking leaders in every county for ideas and information, from local talent and unique attractions, to recycling centers and potential cleanup sites.”

Scenic Tennessee, which has long advocated for recycling via a refundable deposit on beverage containers, sees the multimedia cleanups as a fresh way to highlight the value in waste. The videos will feature not just footage of the cleanups as they occur but the subsequent sorting, tallying and recycling of the littered items. Davis predicts that as much as 75 percent of collected materials will be recycled.

At the same time, the project seeks to highlight the value of sustainable tourism. Visitors to the project website will be able to click on an interactive map that includes links not just to the videos (there will be at least one per county), but also to local parks, local history, local agriculture, even local products.

“We want the cleanups map to double as a travelers’ guide to Tennessee,” said Ms. Davis. “For instance, a click on Memphis might take you to a cleanup on Beale Street, with a blues group singing in the background, and a link to Cotton Row. A click in Middle Tennessee could take you to an underwater cleanup in the Duck River, with music by a local church choir, and links to canoe rentals or antebellum homes or rare freshwater mussels. In East Tennessee, you might go to a trout stream in the Smokies, listen to folks playing dulcimer and fiddle, then link to a workshop where traditional instruments are crafted by hand.

“What we’re hoping to do, in the end, is remind folks that this is Tennessee. This music is Tennessee, these mountains are Tennessee, these streams and these stories and these people and these traditions are Tennessee. Litter is the outsider. It doesn’t belong here. We want folks to feel that, and to act on it.”

Information will soon be available at www.tnspeedcleanups.org. In the meantime, parties interested in knowing more can contact Marge Davis at margedavis@comcast.net or 615 294-2651.


Cedars Of Lebanon State Park Receives Excellence In Innovation Award

Cedars of Lebanon State Park received the West Tennessee Excellence in Innovation Award at the 2015 Tennessee State Parks Management meeting last Wednesday.   Parks nominated for this award have demonstrated the ability to think outside the box to create new ideas for enhancement or improvement at their park. The innovative project must be long lasting or far reaching. ... (click for more)

Cumberland Mountain State Park Receives Excellence In Innovation Award

Cumberland Mountain State Park received the East Tennessee Excellence in Innovation Award at the 2015 Tennessee State Parks Management meeting. Parks nominated for this award have demonstrated the ability to think outside the box to create new ideas for enhancement or improvement at their park. The innovative project must be long- lasting or far reaching. Cumberland Mountain ... (click for more)

Bradley Commissioners Concerned About Firefighters Leaving For Better-Paying Jobs

The Bradley County Commission agreed during a Monday evening work session that they will have to look into the issue of many county firefighters leaving for better paying jobs elsewhere. The discussion comes after the city's recently announced plan to possibly create their own separate ambulance service.   In surrounding areas, firefighters can make as much as ... (click for more)

Body Found On South Highland Park Avenue

The Chattanooga Police Department is investigating the death of a white woman, found at 2106 S.   Highland Park Ave.  The person’s identity and cause of death are unknown at this time. Chattanooga Police ask anyone with information regarding this crime to call  423 698-2525. The investigation is ongoing and more information will be released when available. (click for more)

We Need The Chattanooga History Center

Having been on several of Dr. Daryl Black's walking tours, I can say that they weren't just informative, but a treat. The downtown, Fort Wood and Ninth Street of yesteryear were brought dramatically to life. We stood on the ground where Sherman had his headquarters (near the Ice Cream Show) and the corner where Bessie Smith sang as a young girl. And we also stood beneath the ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: The Big (Un)Easy: Mardi Gras

Not since Hurricane Katrina has New Orleans had a bigger problem. When over a million visitors flood the city for the annual Mardi Gras bash over the next three weeks, there will be signs all around town and into the French Quarter that blare, “CAUTION: Walk In Large Groups. We (heart symbol) love NOPD. We Just Need More Of Them.” In other words, it appears things are quite unsettled ... (click for more)