Bonnaroo 2021 Cancellation

We are absolutely heartbroken to announce that we must cancel Bonnaroo. While this weekend’s weather looks outstanding, currently Centeroo is waterlogged in many areas, the ground is incredibly saturated on our tollbooth paths, and the campgrounds are flooded to the point that we are unable to drive in or park vehicles safely.

We have done everything in our power to try to keep the show moving forward, but Mother Nature has dealt us a tremendous amount of rain over the past 24 hours, and we have run out of options to try to make the event happen safely and in a way that lives up to the Bonnaroo experience.

Please find ways to safely gather with your Bonnaroo community and continue to radiate positivity during this disappointing time. WE WILL SEE YOU ON THE FARM IN JUNE 2022!

All tickets purchased through Front Gate Tickets will be refunded in as little as 30 days to the original method of payment.

University COVID-19 Policy Updates

On Aug. 2, 2021, the Office of the Provost sent out a communication announcing an update to the University’s masking policy. Effective Aug. 3, 2021, and until further notice, all students, employees, and visitors must wear face coverings/masks over their nose and mouth when they are in public spaces inside all University buildings. While outdoors, masks are not required unless otherwise indicated by the University.

On Aug. 26, 2021, Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety sent out a letter to the campus community that COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all students, faculty, and staff. The campus-wide COVID-19 vaccination requirement goes into full effect on Oct. 5, 2021. By that date, all students, faculty, and staff must have received either both shots of a two-dose regimen (for Pfizer and Moderna) or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Exceptions will be made for legitimate medical and religious reasons.

On Aug. 31, 2021, the Office of Public Health sent an email to all University students that they will be screen tested through Friday, Sept. 3.

Go to for more information.

Motlow State Requires Face Masks

Effective August 31, Motlow State Community College is requiring face masks to be worn inside buildings. This decision supports shared recommendations across the college community.

All students, faculty, staff, and visitors are required to wear face masks while inside Motlow facilities. Social distancing is encouraged wherever possible.

“In a proactive effort, college representatives unanimously support the wearing of face masks to allow for the continuous on-ground presence of students, faculty, and staff in the safest environment possible,” said Motlow President Dr. Michael Torrence. “To meet the varied needs and requests of our students, an on-ground presence is necessary; therefore, the mask requirement helps to keep the college open and ensures the safety of everyone.”

Protocols are in place to support the mask requirement as well as the health, safety, and wellness of everyone on campus, including the availability of masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and personal protective equipment (PPE).

To learn more about Motlow State’s Response to COVID-19 and the Return to Campus Plan, go to

A Letter to the Campus Community

August 26, 2021

Dear University Community,

I am so happy to see our campus full and energized as classes began this week. The University has continued to express that the key to ending this pandemic is for as many people as possible to get vaccinated. I am very pleased to share that 90% of our students have done so. Two-thirds of our faculty and staff have also uploaded their vaccination documentation.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week gave its first full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, declaring it a milestone toward “altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.” Accordingly, the next element of our own effort to create a safe environment for our students, faculty, and staff is a University requirement for all students, faculty, and staff to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. This decision has been made in consultation with the University’s Public Health Office and follows guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and the recommendation of the American College Health Association.

Our campus-wide COVID-19 vaccination requirement goes into full effect on ­­­Oct. 5, 2021. By that date, all students, faculty, and staff must have received either both shots of a two-dose regimen (for Pfizer and Moderna) or the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Exceptions will be made for legitimate medical and religious reasons; if you are in either category be sure to file your request by Sept. 8 to ensure it can be reviewed promptly. Failure to provide proof of vaccination status or receive an approved exemption by Oct. 5 will result in a requirement to leave campus for students, and will affect employment status for employees. Specific details will be sent separately to individuals who may not have met the vaccination requirement.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in the winter of 2020, Sewanee has remained committed to making the decisions necessary to protect the health and safety of the campus community. The spread of the delta variant—which is markedly more transmissible than earlier strains of the COVID-19 virus—makes vaccinations necessary to ensure a successful semester and a full slate of activities on campus this fall.

Ample evidence worldwide has demonstrated that the three vaccines available in the United States are safe and effective. Vaccination is the best defense against serious forms of COVID-19 across all approved age groups, and also is effective against the delta variant, which holds particular danger for young people who are unvaccinated and socially active.

The University urges each of you who has not yet been vaccinated to do so at your earliest opportunity to help protect yourself, your peers and colleagues, and your loved ones. Walgreens staff will be on campus early next month to offer vaccinations, and vaccinations are available to students at any time by making an appointment with University Health Service. The Public Health Office and UHS are available to help answer your questions or concerns, and to help members of our community find vaccinations. You can also find a vaccination location at

Please be aware that if in the future the FDA authorizes and the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends a booster dose, the University will very likely require the vaccine booster shot.

We are grateful for your continued cooperation and personal commitment to help keep one another as safe as possible during this ongoing pandemic. Thank you for all that you do to help the University navigate these difficult days successfully.


Reuben E. Brigety II, Ph.D.

U.S. Ambassador (ret.)

Vice-Chancellor and President

Register Now for the 2021 Hunger Walk

Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary Club’s 7th annual Hunger Walk is raising funds to combat food insecurity in Tennessee’s South Cumberland Plateau region. This year the Hunger Walk will be a hybrid event, beginning on Sept. 18 with a week-long virtual walk and culminating on Sept. 25 with an in-person walk from Monteagle to Sewanee. Proceeds will benefit local organizations which help our neighbors in need, such as the Community Action Committee (St. Mark and St. Paul), Grundy County Food Bank, Morton Memorial Feeding Ministry, and other potential organizations.

Go to <>; for complete information and to register or donate.

Fees are $25 for registration, $15 for students, and $5 for children under 12. Please consider becoming a Partner of the walk for $280 or involving your business as a Title Sponsor with a donation of $1,500 or more. Partners and Title Sponsors will be recognized on our sponsor page.

As a note, Givebutter has a setting on its donation page that requests tips. You should feel no obligation to pay a tip when making your donation.

Fundraise as an individual team or create/join a team with others. Once you’ve registered, share your fundraising page on social media with friends and family to increase the amount you raise for Hunger Walk 2021. The team/individuals who raise the most money to combat food insecurity will receive a prize.

You can join the STRAVA app, <>, to submit your individual or team’s mileage for prize consideration. Search Club name, “Hunger Walk 2021: Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary.” (Team results must be compiled by team leaders since Givebutter has no mileage tracker.) The individuals and teams who go the top distances will receive a prize.

If you prefer to simply make a donation, that’s okay too. Whether you walk or donate, every dollar makes a difference.

Dedication of Tim Graham Trail System and Memorial Service

On Saturday, Sept. 4, St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School (SAS) will dedicate the Tim Graham Trail System and host a memorial service for Tim, who died in April 2020. Pandemic restrictions precluded a public service at that time.

Tim served as Director of Development at SAS for 22 years (1995-2017). During his tenure at SAS, he helped the school to raise more than $37 million, affecting the experience of every student and ensuring the construction or renovation of every building on campus. To honor Tim’s legacy at SAS, the school’s trail system has been renamed in his memory. The Tim Graham Trail System includes 10 miles of forested trails that are used daily by students for mountain biking, climbing, and hiking and to get to environmental, biological, and archaeological research sites on the school’s 550-acre mountaintop campus. The renaming in Tim’s honor is a reflection of his love of the Mountain, the local trails, biking, and hiking. The campus trail system was previously known as the Mountain Lion Loop.

The day’s events will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the dedication of the trailhead kiosk designed and built by Tim’s close friend and former SAS board president, Bruce Baird. The kiosk is located on Fire Tower Road. There will then be a procession from the school cemetery, where Tim’s headstone and gravesite will be blessed, to a tent beside the school’s chapel, site of the 10:30 a.m memorial service with Eucharist. An outdoor reception will follow.

The public is invited to both of these events. The family requests that masks be worn during the memorial service and that attendees be vaccinated. Parking will be available on the SAS campus. Those with mobility issues should park at the handicap spots near McCrory Hall and will be shuttled to the appropriate locations.

Tim is survived by his wife, Janet, his two children, SAS graduates Laura Beth Graham Matthews, ’01 and David Graham, ’06, and three grandsons.

University Names New Vice President for University Relations

Vice-Chancellor Reuben Brigety has announced that Deborah Vaughn has accepted the position of vice president for University Relations at the University of the South. Vaughn succeeds Jay Fisher, C’79, who is stepping down after 11 years in that position to take on the role of special assistant to the vice-chancellor.

Debbie Vaughn, who will begin her new role on Oct. 1, brings to Sewanee a wealth of university development and alumni relations experience. She is currently serving as vice president for philanthropy and alumni engagement at Augusta University, a research university and academic medical center formed by the consolidation of the Medical College of Georgia and then-Augusta State University. During her tenure there, she successfully led the university to reach record levels of giving, donor engagement, and alumni participation and positioned the university for campaign readiness.

“Debbie joins the University at an auspicious time,” said Brigety. “Her experience and talents will help the University Relations team, and the entire campus, prepare for and support the new initiatives that are critical to Sewanee’s successful future. She has a head start: Debbie is already familiar with Sewanee—her daughter, Abbie, is a member of the Class of 2020.”

Prior to joining Augusta, Vaughn served as associate vice president for development at the University of Alabama and as senior executive director of development and chief development officer at the University of Mississippi. In these positions, she fostered collaborative partnerships with deans and faculty members to encourage proposals to enhance those universities’ academic environments, with a keen focus on endowed scholarships, faculty support, and other programmatic support.

“I am thrilled to work alongside a dynamic and successful University Relations team in sharing the Sewanee story. Sewanee is such an extraordinary place with loyal and dedicated alumni and parents, all of whom share a strong commitment to excellence,” said Vaughn. “My family and I have been blessed to experience the very best of Sewanee’s warm and welcoming community over the last few years, and we are thrilled to now live and work in this special place.”

Vaughn previously spent several years in development and alumni relations at Vanderbilt University and Mississippi State University. She earned an M.S. in higher education administration from Vanderbilt University and a B.S. in business education from Mississippi State University.

Sewanee, College Town: What Matters and Why

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“Much of what is in the best interest of the town and the University are the same,” David Shipps insisted addressing the Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary at their Aug. 19 breakfast meeting. “Sewanee is a business.” Shipps serves as University Vice President for Economic Development and Community Relations. His presentation on economic development in the Village unpacked what it meant to be in the business of attracting students for both the University and town.

By 2026, the pool of college age students would decrease by 15-20 percent, Shipps said. Likewise significant, in the United States, among those 18 and under, there is no ethnic majority. To attract students from the increasingly diverse and smaller pool of candidates, “in addition to the college” Sewanee would need “to be a delightful place to be and to live,” Shipps stressed. “The vast majority [of students’] college experience is not in the classroom.”

Shipps cited several examples of small colleges suffering from student loss that decided to invest in their towns. Refurbishing and repurposing vacant, dilapidated buildings proved to be a “game changer.”

Highlighting what Sewanee had to offer—an airport, a working farm, recreational opportunities—Shipps listed the Village as a key asset. He reviewed the benchmarks of Frank Gladu who formerly headed up the Sewanee Village project and noted two of Gladu’s five priorities had been realized: the bookstore and narrowing Highway 41A. Of the remaining three priorities—a village green, an anchor building, and housing—Shipps said, “I’m leaning in on housing out of the gate.”

Why housing? Giving an illustration, Shipps said Virginia college towns typically had populations of 4,000 to 10,000, while Sewanee’s population was about 2,500, depending on whether or not you counted the students. “To the extent that we can stimulate the year-round population to 3,000 to 3,500, then you have some scale. Then you have some leverage.”

But in Sewanee, the housing shortage hindered population growth. “It’s a bad outcome, if you can’t find a place to live in Sewanee you can afford,” Shipps said. “It takes away from the magic.” Shipps stressed the housing shortage was complicated by the policy that only allowed employees to build homes on vacant lots and the fact that young faculty members often did not want to undertake the demands of building a home; nor did they want to rent.

Now things have changed. “As of April, someone who wants to build a house to resell, they can do that,” Shipps said. “And there is also a way for a nonemployee who wants to move to Sewanee to build a house.”

He hopes to see seven to 10 lots released as a trial in the first tranche, followed by more in the second round.

Asked if future plans included Arcadia, the proposed senior living facility, Shipps answered with a question. “How is that in the best interest of the University and a priority over everything else? How does that help me attract 475 students every August? At the moment, that’s vague to me.”

Looking ahead, Shipps said, “What should we do, what should we lean on, what should we invest in? That is what I am hoping to crystalize. Why don’t we have a wilderness training school? Why don’t we have structured racing [with bikes and runners] on the Domain? The current assets are waiting to be optimized. Not only for the benefits of the students, but for the benefit of the community. It’s an exciting time to be in Sewanee.”

Swiss Celebration Attracts More Than 500 Visitors

More than 500 visitors from eight states attended the recent Swiss Heritage Celebration in Gruetli-Laager. Sponsored by the Grundy County Swiss Historical Society, the July 31 event was held at the Stoker-Stampfli Farm Museum.

Besides Tennessee, guests came from Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas. There were people of all ages, including many descendants of the original families who founded the Swiss Colony of Gruetli in 1869. Swiss heritage, however, was not a prerequisite for attending the gathering. The annual event is always open to the public.

The festival included tours of the farmhouse, barn and outbuildings–historic structures that are among the only four remaining houses and three remaining barns of the original colony.

On display in the farmhouse was a colorful quilt containing 32 squares featuring surnames of some of the colony’s settlers, along with two panels of additional surnames. Historic documents, furniture and memorabilia were also on view.

The Mountain Top Polka Band from Asheville, N.C., led the crowd in dancing and singing. Among the favorite numbers were “The Chicken Dance,” “Beer Barrel Polka” and “Edelweiss.”

Attendees sampled locally made wine and cheese. They enjoyed a wagon ride around the grounds and purchased woodwork, artwork, crafts, homemade goods, food and beverages from onsite vendors.

The Stoker-Stampfli Farm Museum, on the National Register of Historic Places, is open year-round to visitors, photographers and videographers. Tours of the farmhouse are available by appointment. The venue is a picturesque setting for rustic weddings and outdoor events. For reservations, contact Jackie Lawley at (931) 235-3029. Her Swiss ancestors, the Suters, were part of the original colony.

For more information visit <http://www.swisshistoricalsoci...;.

Community Chest Applications Available

Since 1908, the Sewanee Civic Association and its precursors have believed in the power of area citizens to help sustain community projects and programs. Through these associations, the community has funded many worthwhile endeavors.

Since 1942, the Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) has organized the Community Chest, which now raises tens of thousands of dollars yearly for local organizations.

Sponsored by the SCA, the Sewanee Community Chest (SCC) is pleased to announce the beginning of the 2021–22 grant cycle. All nonprofits that benefit the community are encouraged to apply.

The 2021–22 funding application can be downloaded from the website at The application deadline is Friday, Sept. 10, 2021. Grant funds will be distributed starting April 2022, contingent on funding availability.

This year, organizations can apply online with this form <;. It does requires you to have a Gmail email account.

The SCC is a nonprofit organization and relies on funding from the community in order to support charitable programs throughout the greater Sewanee area. As the 2021–22 grant cycle begins, the SCC is also kicking off its yearly fundraising campaign.

The SCA urges everyone who benefits from life in this community, whether you live, work, or visit, to give generously. Donations are tax deductible. Contributions, payroll deductions and pledges are accepted at any time at P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375. You can also make a donation through PayPal Giving at <>.

For more information or with questions, email <>.

Stamp Your Passport to Tennessee History

The Tennessee State Library & Archives, Tennessee State Museum, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and the Tennessee State Capitol invite you to make a history day of it with the launch of the Passport to Tennessee History.

Inside the Passport to Tennessee History on Capitol Hill and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, visitors will find information about four institutions of Tennessee history, which are all within walking distance of each other on the north side of downtown Nashville: the Tennessee State Library & Archives, Tennessee State Museum, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park and the Tennessee State Capitol.

The passport features space to collect distinct stamps from each location. Participants can collect all four stamps in one day or across multiple visits. Visitors who complete their passport will earn a 10 percent discount at the Tennessee State Museum and Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park gift shops.

“The Tennessee State Library & Archives’ new home on the Bicentennial Mall gives us the fantastic opportunity to partner with our new neighbors,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. "I encourage anyone interested in learning more about our great state to get a free passport and begin exploring Tennessee history's home on the Mall.”

The Library & Archives, a division of the Department of State, collects and preserves books, records and other documents of historical and reference value, focusing on items about Tennessee and Tennesseans. Visitors can experience Tennessee’s story through interactive exhibits highlighting the state’s most precious historical documents. Visit the Library & Archives at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N. The exhibit lobby is open to the public Monday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. The library, microfilm and manuscripts reading rooms are available for research Tuesday to Saturday, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT. For more information, call 615-741-2764, email or visit

“The arrival of the Library & Archives to the campus surrounding Bicentennial Mall presents yet another opportunity to encourage families and history fans to visit this welcoming and truly historic area of the state,” said Ashley Howell, executive director of the Tennessee State Museum. “Come visit us to engage with history, play in the park, get lunch at the Farmers’ Market and more, all as we commemorate Tennessee’s 225th anniversary.”

The Tennessee State Museum is home to thousands of years of Tennessee history, art and culture. Through art and artifacts, films, interactive displays and events, museum visitors can learn about Tennessee's geological beginnings and First Peoples, statehood, participation in wars, place in national social movements and more. The museum, located at 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd, is open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, visit

“A Tennessee history experience is not complete without a visit to Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park,” TDEC Deputy Commissioner Jim Bryson, said. “We are proud to partner with our neighbors at the Tennessee State Library & Archives, Tennessee State Museum and the Tennessee State Capitol to provide visitors from around the world with a keepsake for their Tennessee history experience.”

Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park gives visitors a taste of Tennessee’s history, natural wonders and serves as a lasting monument to Tennessee’s Bicentennial Celebration. The park includes a 200-foot granite map of the state, a World War II Memorial, a 95-Bell Carillon, a Pathway of History, the Rivers of Tennessee Fountains and native plant species from across the state. Passports and stamps are available in the Visitor Center located at 600 James Robertson Parkway. The Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CT, Monday through Friday. The park is open daily from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT. Learn more at

Opening in 1859, the Tennessee State Capitol, one of the oldest working capitols in the United States, serves as the home of the Tennessee General Assembly and houses the governor's offices. Visitors can take self-guided tours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT or 45-minute guided tours, starting at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. CT. Guided tours are limited to 15 people per tour. Reservations are not required for groups smaller than 12 people. The Tennessee State Capitol is located at 600 Dr. Martin L King, Jr. Blvd., at the top of Capitol Hill.

Pick up your free Passport to Tennessee History at the Tennessee State Library & Archives, Tennessee State Museum, Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park Visitor Center or Tennessee State Capitol to begin stamping your passport to Tennessee History. Admission to all four participating locations is free.

To the citizens of Franklin County


August 24, 2021

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit our community last year, I knew it would be challenging. Throughout that difficult time, our incredibly talented, committed and courageous healthcare heroes bravely faced the challenges brought on by the virus - going above and beyond the call of duty to fight against COVID-19, working hard to ensure a safe place of care for our patients and for each other, and contributing to protecting the health and well-being of our community.

Sadly, today we are experiencing many of the same challenges we faced when the pandemic first began, except our current situation is worse than it has ever been. The situation we are in is very difficult, and our healthcare heroes are tired. Their resilience is remarkable, but I see how this crisis wears on them. They need your help. Now is the time for us all to be heroes and do our part to help slow the spread of the virus.

One critical way that we can all help is by getting vaccinated for COVID-19. Tennessee has one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, with only 40 percent of the population fully vaccinated. Our own community’s vaccination rate is even lower at 31 percent. We are seeing an increase in COVID-19 in Franklin County and with the documented increase in confirmed positive cases, Southern Tennessee Regional Health System-Winchester/Sewanee is seeing an increase in hospitalizations. At this point, most of the patients we are seeing who are hospitalized with COVID-19 are unvaccinated and are very sick. We are doing everything we can to manage the rapid increase in patients while also continuing to care for the ongoing, non-COVID-19 healthcare needs of our community.

The hardest part of what we’re facing right now is knowing this is avoidable, and with your help, we can turn the tide against COVID-19. Getting vaccinated greatly reduces the likelihood of someone contracting the virus, being hospitalized or dying. I know many people have questions or concerns about the vaccine – I did too, at first. After talking to clinicians I know and trust, and reviewing the facts, I feel very confident in my decision to get vaccinated. If you are on the fence about getting vaccinated, please pick up the phone and call your physician to talk specifically about the vaccine.

Further, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted full approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. We have known that the FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines were safe and effective, and we are pleased that the FDA has taken this important step to further validate this based on thorough research and comprehensive data review. I am hopeful this decision will help reduce vaccine hesitancy among unvaccinated individuals.

Additionally, we strongly encourage our community to take other precautions that we know are effective in slowing the spread of the virus, including wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and continuing proper hand hygiene. When ALL of these measures are consistently practiced, they will help lower the transmission rate and reduce the number of COVID-19 cases in our community.

Even in the midst of this challenging time, we strongly urge our community not to delay essential and emergency care when it is needed. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1 or head to the nearest ER.

On behalf of our team of healthcare heroes at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System-Winchester/Sewanee, we appreciate the opportunity to serve you. Please join us in doing everything we can to help end this pandemic.


Cliff Wilson

CEO, Southern Tennessee Regional Health System-Winchester/Sewanee

TDOT Launches Next Phase of Nobody Trashes Tennessee

Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) continues its mission to prevent and reduce litter statewide by launching the next phase of Nobody Trashes Tennessee (NTT), the state’s official litter prevention campaign.

From the Smoky Mountains to the Mississippi River and all of the roadways in between, litter on Tennessee’s 96,167 miles of public roads – 4,022 of which are classified as scenic – impacts public safety, takes away from the state’s natural beauty, and is an enormous financial and environmental burden to the state. Despite COVID restrictions in 2020, TDOT and our community partners removed 21 million pounds of litter from roadways and cleaned up 4,023 illegal roadside dumps. TDOT spends $19 million annually on litter pickup and prevention education funded by revenue from a tax on soft drink and malt beverages.

“The Nobody Trashes Tennessee campaign educates Tennesseans on the scope of the problem and provides resources and opportunities for residents to take both personal and community actions to help prevent and reduce litter,” said TDOT Commissioner Clay Bright.

This next phase of the campaign includes expanded statewide public education initiatives and additional resources and support for TDOT’s 95 county partners. A key feature is the introduction of characters that tell the story of the Tennessee litter problem from a personal perspective – featuring literal pieces of trash that can talk. Red Plastic Cup, or RPC for short, was carelessly tossed out of a moving car along the Natchez Trace Parkway and is working to create a movement to end litter.

“After I was thrown out of a moving vehicle – which really hurt – I did my homework. It turns out litter is a huge problem for our state. There’s a lot of trash out there, and not all of it is as civic-minded as I am,” said RPC.

Tennesseans are encouraged to follow along as RPC travels across the state, interviewing residents to discuss the scope of the problem and solutions for preventing and reducing litter for his new “Talking Trash” show.

“I’ll be interviewing movers and shakers, elected officials, sports figures, and other really smart people who are all joining me on my mission to end littering in Tennessee,” said RPC.

Visit to learn more about the campaign and ways to get involved through personal actions, community events, participating in the no-cost Adopt-A-Highway Program, and reporting littering incidents through the Tennessee Litter Hotline (1-877-8LITTER). Join the conversation at and

Register for Tennessee Naturalist Program

Only a few slots remain in this year’s Tennessee Naturalist Program at South Cumberland State Park. Classes are set to begin on Sept. 11.

Tennessee Naturalist Bruce Blohm, now an active board member of the Friends of South Cumberland, encourages anyone interested in learning more about the natural world to register.

“The Tennessee Naturalist Program was one of the best and most memorable courses I’ve ever taken,” Blohm said. “I learned so many fascinating things about our natural world in those few short weeks. My learning continues today. Each 3-or 4-hour, hands-on session was just enough time to get in depth on one core element of being a naturalist. Knowledgeable instructors and subject matter experts captured my attention with intriguing insight and answered questions I had often pondered. If you want a satisfying way to nurture your interest in the natural world and join a group of like-minded seekers, sign up for the 2021 State Naturalist Program. I commuted from Chattanooga for each and every session, and I was glad I did.”

Classes are scheduled in two semesters, from September to November and February to May, and are usually held on Saturday mornings. The classwork is divided between lectures, hands-on activities and many hours of outdoor immersion. Topics include geology, forests, plants, mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, aquatic ecosystems, trail building and interpretation. The fieldwork portion of the course can be physically demanding, with off-trail hikes on steep hills and rough terrain, and some night activities.

Among those who have served as volunteer instructors are Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath; Sewanee professors Bran Potter, Ken Smith, Scott Torreano and Kirk Zigler; Sewanee Herbarium Curators Mary Priestley and Yolande Gottfried; Chattanooga State professor Richard Clements, TWRA certified animal rehabilitator Margaret Matens; Tennessee State Park Rangers Jessie McNeel, Jason Reynolds, Philip Hylen and Mark Taylor; and former St. Andrew’s-Sewanee instructor Ron Ramsey.

For more information, email coordinator Rhonda Saylor at <>. To register, visit the Friends of South Cumberland website at <>.

Lodge Cast Iron Announces Call for Submissions

Lodge proudly announces their “From our Hands to Yours” call for submissions for local mural artists in Tennessee and surrounding areas. The large-scale mural will be painted on the side of a Lodge production building timed to the company’s Lodgetoberfest celebration in early October.

The mural theme is based on Lodge’s long history of innovation, reinvention, and perseverance and company’s 125 years of experience and passion, all coming together the moment Lodge’s product enters someone’s home. The mural will be on the Northeast-facing wall of a Lodge production building in South Pittsburg, Tenn., a prominent location as an entry point into the Lodge campus and clearly visible to passersby.

“At Lodge, we are excited to announce this call for submissions and have the opportunity to engage with the local artist community in and around our hometown of South Pittsburg as we celebrate our 125th anniversary this year,” said Mike Otterman, President and CEO, Lodge Cast Iron. “We can’t wait to see the creativity from artists who participate and their unique interpretations of our ‘From our Hands to Yours’ theme.”

Since 1896, Lodge has manufactured heirloom-quality cast iron cookware at its foundries in South Pittsburg. Lodge’s long-lasting products are an indispensable part of daily life and the durable pieces enable cooks everywhere to create memorable moments.

For more information and details on how to enter a submission visit <;. The deadline for Phase 1 submissions is Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021; finalists will be notified on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 to participate in Phase 2 ahead of a final artist being selected on Friday, Sept. 24, 2021. Painting will commence during the company’s Lodgetoberfest, taking place Oct. 1–3, 2021.

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