WATER CONSERVATIONIST OF THE YEAR 2000
TENNESSEE CONSERVATION LEAGUE

BARRY K. THACKER, PE
President, Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc.

Well, we hoped that the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation would win for the organization of the year (and we were nominated), but there was that little project about reintroducing Rocky Mountain Elk thing going on in Tennessee this year, and they won!  But, our leader, Barry Thacker, PE was named Water Conservationist of the Year 2000 by the Tennessee Conservation League (TCL).  There is always next year, and with the help of all our volunteers and partners (who are the best!), anything is possible!

Barry Thacker, PE (right) receives award from Greer Tidwell, President of the Tennessee Conservation League

Here are some of the nice things Master of Ceremonies--Mr. Edward Thackson said about Barry and the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation at the TCL Conservation Achievement Awards Program banquet on April 20, 2001:

In a year of many excellent award candidates and hard choices, this one was easy.  Our winner was nominated by three separate people, including two former TCL presidents.

He is the inspiration and chief organizer for the Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, a grass roots organization that has brought together local residents and officials and government agencies to improve the quality of life in the Coal Creek Watershed.

Originally conceived to try to improve water quality in 30 miles of Coal Creek to enable trout from the Clinch River below Norris Dam to spawn, it quickly expanded to include education and cooperation of many residents and organizations to mitigate the effects of past surface mining.  Once organized, the group's concerns expanded quickly to include quality of life issues such as better schools, dental and health care, job opportunities, and safety from flooding.  

So far they have:

  1. Developed a web site which averages 10,000 hits per week;
  2. Conducted a "Dream Contest" for the schools in the watershed;
  3. Organized a "Coal Creek Watershed Day 2000" with many educational exhibits and trash removal from a flood prone area;
  4. Conducted a "Deadwood Removal Day 2000", where 150 volunteers removed debris from 13 bridges, reducing potential flooding and curbing efforts to dredge Coal Creek;
  5. Assisted area schools with educational programs and field trips;
  6. Participated in the Eastern Coal Region Roundtable in Washington and the Steering Committee of EPA's National Watershed Forum;
  7. Coordinated "Coal Creek Discovery Day" in which students, residents, and guests, including Congressman Zach Wamp, used the watershed as a living laboratory; and 
  8. Held "Coal Creek Scrape, Paint, and Clean Day 2000" to remove trash and spruce up stops on a Motor Discovery Trail.

Not bad for a year's work.  So, you can see why it was an easy decision to award this human dynamo who is the mover and shaker behind this amazing effort the 2000 Water Conservationist of the Year.  And, I guess I like him because he is an engineer.

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Copyrightę Coal Creek Watershed Foundation, Inc. 2000 through 2016
CELEBRATING OUR 16th YEAR!!