Sundquist receives natural areas award

From Staff Reports

   NASHVILLE -- Gov. Don Sundquist accepted an award from the Natural Areas Association Friday at a ceremony celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Tennessee Natural Areas Preservation Act at the Nashville Public Library.
   "Tennessee's natural areas are the jewels of the state and reflect the beauty and diverse wildlife and plant life for which we are known," Sundquist said. "These lands are true treasures, and I am honored to accept this award on behalf of the citizens of Tennessee."
   To recognize the 30th anniversary of the act, Sundquist signed a proclamation designating the week of April 8, 2002 as Tennessee State Natural Areas Week. The week will be highlighted by wildflower walks, nature hikes, and educational programs at state natural areas across Tennessee.
   Twenty-five new natural areas have been added and others expanded since 1995, with still others being proposed. Corporations such as Bridgestone-Firestone, Bowater, J.M. Huber, and Willamette Industries donated some of the largest of these areas. While many natural areas are owned and managed by the state, many others are owned and cooperatively managed by federal, local, corporate, and private landowners. Today there are 62 state natural areas protecting nearly 90,000 acres across the state.
   State natural areas are established specifically to protect populations of rare plants and animals and their habitats, as well as biological features that are unique to Tennessee. Development in natural areas is limited. While some are open to the public, others are too sensitive for general public access.
   Tennessee's natural areas system is administered by the Division of Natural Heritage in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. For more information, visit www.state.tn.us/environment/nh.