Tennessee Environmental Council
One Vantage Way
Suite E-250
Nashville TN 37228-1587
Preparing Trees for Tennessee Tree Project
Mission Statement
Educating and advocating for the conservation and improvement of Tennessee's environment, communities and public health.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. John McFadden
Board Chair Mr. Bob Freeman
Board Chair Company Affiliation Freeman Applegate
History & Background
Year of Incorporation 1970
Organization's type of tax exempt status 501-C3
Financial Summary
Graph: Expense Breakdown Graph - All Years
Projected Expenses $371,212.00
Projected Annual Revenue $384,600.00 (2017)
Mission Educating and advocating for the conservation and improvement of Tennessee's environment, communities and public health.
Background The Council is a 46 year old conservation organization whose mission is to educate and advocate for the conservation and improvement of the environment, public health and our communities. Since 2007, the Council has been refocusing on the growing awareness of the importance of sustainability and conservation to human health, the economy and quality of life for all Tennesseans. The Council's Guiding Principles include:
  • The Council utilizes natural resource, social and economic sciences to drive conservation and public health opportunities, activities and programs.
  • The Council utilizes trained volunteers in all aspects of its work including office, field, regulatory and legislative activities.
  • The Council strives to include educational/advocacy, practice/implementation, and policy components in all programs.
  • The Council works in a collaborative framework with communities, industries, GO, and NGOs in promotion and implementation of long-term conservation opportunities.
  • The Council utilizes more aggressive techniques (i.e Section 118a complaints, litigation) only as a last resort and only after the action has been filtered through a number of strategic positions. 
  • Strategic Imperatives
  • Fulfill our mission through advancement of our four core projects:  Sustainable Tennessee, Watershed Support Center, Tennessee Tree Project and Radioactive Waste Education.
  • Build a sustainable conservation organization on behalf of the people and biota of Tennessee, run in a professional manner, including strong programmatic areas, and strong financial, human resource (including board of directors/volunteers), administrative and office infrastructure. 
  • Serve as a “canopy” organization for environmental and conservation organizations in Tennessee and help these groups determine and implement priority issues and actions using the power of the collective to advance our common goals. 

Tennessee Tree Project has a goal of planting or caring for one million native trees in Tennessee and engaging 500,000 Tennesseans in the process. In 2012, we partnered with local businesses and organizations to plant or give away over 20,000 trees from Memphis to Knoxville. Fast forward to 2016 when more than 6,000 volunteers planted 50,000 trees in 92 counties during 50K Tree Day. This was our second annual 50K-tree-planting event, earning us the 2016 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award – our third in the past 10 years! Riding on this success, on February 25, 2017 we decided to double that number and with the help of government agencies private partners and community leaders planted 100,000 trees in all 95 counties with 20,000 volunteers - and made history in Tennessee with 100K Tree Day! The Council also organized our second annual Veterans Day/Arbor Day event on 11/11/2016, giving away 1,500 native tree seedlings across Tennessee to honor the dedication of our nation's Veterans and public servants. More than 250 veterans were named as honorees from these trees.

The Watershed Support Center works with local communities to educate, conserve and restore watersheds, including healthy urban forests for people, plants and animal. In 2016, the Council’s team of eco-restoration specialists made progress restoring and cleaning up the polluted, yet ecologically significant streams of Grassy Branch and Lytle Creek, stopping bank erosion, re-establishing riparian (streamside) vegetation, improving habitat for fish and protecting drinking water supplies.

Sustainable Tennessee is a conservation community that works collaboratively to create a Sustainable Tennessee by advocating for viable conservation policy and practice. To date, over 750 individuals and 250 organizations have participated in drafting and implementing the Sustainable Tennessee Agenda. In August 2017, the Council convened a gathering of sustainability leaders statewide for the 11th Annual Policy & Practice Forum, from which we will identify ten priorities for a more Sustainable Tennessee. These priorities help shape our work for the coming year, including the legislative issues that we will support.

Our annual Conservation Education Day at Legislative Plaza brought many participants to voice their support for clean water and air, green jobs and sustainable practices. Participants met with their legislators, attended committee meetings, and illuminated state leaders about the economic and job-creating value of sustainability initiatives. The Council collaborated with other organizations and citizens across the state on regulatory and/or legislative matters impacting Tennessee’s air, land, water and energy from the local to the federal level. We worked on issues including air quality, landfills, local mitigation of wetlands and streams, and working to make sure funds for state parks and conservation were used as intended.

State-Wide Education Events: The Council delivered presentations to hundreds of individuals at schools, community groups and the General Assembly on water quality, rain gardens, recycling, riverbank restoration, sustainability, and of course, the value of trees in dozens of educational events.

Nashville GreenField Restoration Project (a 120-acre ecological-restoration project in West Nashville): The Council team, volunteers and community partners made significant progress, including establishing a certified Level 1 Arboretum; identifying 46 species of birds, and removing 10 acres of invasive plant species, making way for a living, thriving example of Tennessee’s biodiversity.



  1. Continued Board Development: recruitment and increasing opportunities for board involvement and action
  2. Continued development of funding through major donors, foundations and corporate funding 
  3. Program development 
  4. Improved administrative infrastructure


Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer
To donate, visit http://tectn.org/donate-2/
For volunteer opportunities, visit http://tectn.org/get-involved-2/volunteer 
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Environment / Alliances & Advocacy
Secondary Organization Category Environment / Natural Resources Conservation & Protection
Areas of Service
Areas Served
CEO Statement
Dear Council Members, Supporters & Friends,
2017 was a very exciting year for the Council. We have increased our capacity by adding three new full-time staff members and 3 part time staff members. We hosted 100K Tree Day and plan on more than doubling that amount to 250K in 2018!  We’ve developed exciting partnerships and programs with many corporate sponsors and supporters, and received some exciting new grants that have allowed us to expand our Watershed Support, TN Tree Project and Sustainable TN Programs. TN’s natural resources – our forests, fields, mountains and streams – form the backbone of our economy, communities and quality of life. Your financial support helps advance our mission and protect natural resources. The road before us is a difficult one. So it is with a humble heart I ask you to dig deep to continue to volunteer your time and to support the Council with a donation of $50, $500, or $5000. We will squeeze every drop of energy out of every dollar you send us! Thanks in advance for your continued support!
Description Working with local communities to educate, conserve and restore watersheds trough training and on-the-ground restoration projects. Our goal is to provide communities with watershed science, regulatory and other tools necessary to conserve and restore local watershed health.
Category Environment Watershed Conservation
Population Served Adults, Children and Youth (infants - 19 years.),
Examples of Program Success
  • Provided communities with watershed tools necessary to conserve and restore local watershed health.
  • Developed funding streams for Urban Community Forestry Initiative.
  • Worked with multiple communities on watershed assessments and restoration activities.
Description A conservation community that works collaboratively to create a Sustainable Tennessee by collectively advocating for viable conservation policy and practice.  Our goal is to conduct a process that results in the implementation of a common conservation agenda.
Population Served , ,
Examples of Program Success
    • In 2009 we had 160 attendees representing 90 organizations at the 3rd Annual Summit for a Sustainable TN. 
    • The group met and drafted the 2010 Sustainable TN Agenda which was sent to all TN legislators. 
    • The top Agenda priority was to Restore the Real Estate Transfer Fund to Forever Green TN. The coalition worked on this initiative throughout 2010 and successfully restored $16 million to the state budget to protect parks, land and water for TN. 
    • We also testified at the legislature on issues including stopping nuclear dumping in TN, the bottle bill, and the school bus bill which was modified to help avoid negative health effects on school children 
    • In February 2010 we hosted the second annual Conservation Education Day with 80 participants representing over 30 organizations and more than 20 display tables (the limit allowed in Legislative Plaza).
Trees provide thousands of dollars of benefits each year including oxygen, reducing air pollution, improving water drainage, increasing property values, and improving human health. The benefits are countless. Our long term goal is to plant or care for one million trees by and engage 500,000 Tennesseans in the process. We will do this by partnering with businesses, churches, schools and other organizations to host tree events in the community.
Population Served , ,
The goal of the Radioactive Waste Education program is to generate public input on Department of Energy (DOE) Nuclear waste disposal alternatives. The Council will accomplish this by increase community awareness and involvement to empower individuals to raise their voices and participate in DOE accountability and decision making, and building support and capacity for communities. 
Population Served , ,
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Bob Freeman
Company Affiliation Freeman Applegate
Term Dec 2015 to Dec 2017
Board Members
Ms. Stacey Cothran
Mr. John Fenderson National Network of Forest PractitionersVoting
Mr. Bob Freeman Freeman ApplegateVoting
Ms. Sandy Kurtz Chattanooga, TNVoting
Ms. Mary Mastin Cookeville, TNVoting
Mr. Bill Phillips
Mr. Joe Prochaska Nashville, TNVoting
Ms. Erika Saad Mars PetcareVoting
Mr. Donnie Safer Voting
Ms. Vicki Turner Voting
Mr. Pat Van Ryckeghem General MotorsVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 10
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 6
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Does the organization have written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Does the organization have a written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage of Board Members making Monetary Contributions 100%
Percentage of Board Members making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Does the Board include Client Representation? No
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board CoChair
Board CoChair Ms. Mary Mastin
Company Affiliation Attorney
Term Dec 2015 to Dec 2017
Email MaryMastin@TWLakes.net
Standing Committees
Donor Services
Risk Management Provisions
General Property Coverage & Professional Liability
Workers Compensation & Employers' Liability
Additional Board Members
Mr. David Briley Bone McAllester Norton PLLC
Ms. Joan Cheek
Mr. Gene Cotton Community Volunteer
Mr. Joe Glaser Community Volunteer
Mr. John Noel John Noel Co
Mr. Trip Pollard SELC
Mr. Barry Sulkin
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. John McFadden
Term Start Oct 2006
Email john@tectn.org

McFadden took the rein as Executive Director of the Tennessee Environmental Council on October 1, 2006. He finished his Ph.D. in Health and Human Performance in 2009, while researching riparian greenway ecology. He has 25 years of conservation and aquatic biology and 10 years in watershed restoration experience supported by degrees in secondary education (B.S.) and biology (M.S.). His conservation experience includes watershed monitoring, restoration, modeling and planning, and project management. Additionally, he has trained and led 1,000s of volunteers in environmental restoration including urban re forestation. McFadden is a certified professional in erosion and sediment control (CPESC) and has been recognized by the federal and state court systems as an expert on water quality related matters.


McFadden has previously served as Director of Science and Restoration for the Harpeth River Watershed Association and Senior Project Biologist for the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association. He has held teaching positions at Middle Tennessee State University and Volunteer State Community College. Through past positions he has experience working with pollution and toxics assessment, hazardous waste operations, energy efficiency, and volunteer training. He has presented/authored papers at scientific meetings including: “More than Data Collectors: Young People in Civic Action”; “Greenway Ecology: A Pilot Study; Does Your Greenway Function Ecologically?”; “Volunteer Visual Stream Survey in the Harpeth River Watershed”; and “Tennessee Ground Water: A Resource at Risk”. McFadden has twice (1992 and 2004) been named “Conservationist of the Year” by Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association. He is an avid sailor, and outdoorsman.

Former CEOs
Mr. Will L Callaway July 2001 - Mar 2006
Full Time Staff 5
Part Time Staff 2
Volunteers 2600
Contractors 0
Retention Rate 33%
Plans & Policies
Does the organization have a documented Fundraising Plan? Yes
Does the organization have an approved Strategic Plan? Yes
Number of years Strategic Plan Considers 6
When was Strategic Plan adopted? Dec 2012
In case of a change in leadership, is a Management Succession plan in place? No
Does the organization have a Policies and Procedures Plan? Yes
Does the organization have a Nondiscrimination Policy? Yes
Recognition for helping to establish Clean Cities of Middle TennesseeDept. of Energy2004
Proclamation for protecting the environment Tennessee Senate2003
Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Excellence in Aquatic Resource Preservation-Duck River Opportunities ProjectTennessee Department of Environment and Conservation2009
95% of the environmental community participating in the Sustainable Tennessee program recognized by vote that the Council was the organization to lead the collaborative efforts of the communityConservation Community2007
Recognition of staff work in the City of Spring Hill on Phase II storm water ordinances, low impact development and restoration of polluted stream in the City limitsCity of Spring Hill2009
Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for Excellence in Aquatic Resource Preservation-Duck River Opportunities ProjectTennessee Department of Environment and Conservation2009
Excellence in Environmental EducationGovernor's Environmental Stewardship Award2012
Friends of Forestry AwardTennessee Department of Agriculture2014
Environmental Stewardship Award for 50K Tree DayGovernor's Environmental Stewardship Award2016
Senior Staff
Title Director of Operations
Experience/Biography Diane has been with the Tennessee Environmental Council since Feb 2014. She has a B.S. in Education and Biological Sciences. She worked as a Membership and Marketing Manager for Girl Scouts, CT Trails Council. There she specialized in Volunteer Engagement and Innovative Program Delivery Systems. Diane has also worked as a teacher in the inner city of Chicago and in the health care field.
Title Director of Sustainable Tennessee
Experience/Biography Jeff has been a staunch advocate of sustainability for his entire professional career, which he launched in 1993 after graduating from UCLA with a B.A. in Environmental Studies. Ever since, Jeff has applied his love of filmmaking towards the cause of environmental solutions and derives great pleasure in making a difference in this field. Jeff has produced award-winning feature documentaries on the value of Environmental Education (Generation Earth — 1995), the importance of preserving the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (Arctic Quest — 1999), and the benefits of energy efficiency, conservation and renewable power (Kilowatt Ours — 2008), in addition to producing 10 short documentaries on various topics of related to sustainability. He has leveraged the power of effective documentary storytelling combined with grassroots organizing and public strategies to lead to positive changes in the world.
Title Watershed Restoration Specialist
Experience/Biography Will has been engaged in mapping and field research as a part of his in Geoscience (B.S.) degree from Middle TN State University. Since beginning with the Council he has been designing and implementing stormwater infiltration and riparian restoration projects. Will is pursuing a Masters of Science in Sustainability from Lipscomb University in order to become a more effective and skilled advocate and practitioner of restoring our environment. He is from Lebanon, TN.
Title Program and Field Specialist
Experience/Biography Ellie Wallis joined the Tennessee Environmental Council in February 2015 as the Southeast Regional Program Manager. Ellie is a Chattanooga native, currently residing in Hixson with her husband and their two Welsh Corgis. She’s actively involved in her community as part of her local Kiwanis club and the Friends of Hixson. Her “glass-half-full” outlook will serve the Council well as she works with communities and groups in Southeast Tennessee area to advocate for and implement projects that improve the state that she’s proud to call home.
Title Communications Specialist
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start Jan 01 2017
Fiscal Year End Dec 31 2017
Projected Revenue $384,600.00
Projected Expenses $371,212.00
Endowment Spending Policy N/A
Endowment Spending Percentage (if selected) 0%
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$41,901$96,700$67,663
Individual Contributions$107,107$172,667$106,974
Investment Income, Net of Losses$48($104)$23
Membership Dues$0$0$8,736
Special Events$17,546$72,123$28,556
Revenue In-Kind$0$0$588
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$347,731$345,437$303,000
Administration Expense$21,570$24,420$22,342
Fundraising Expense$0$0$11,051
Payments to Affiliates--$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.140.920.83
Program Expense/Total Expenses94%93%90%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue0%0%5%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$175,510$140,717$75,901
Current Assets$160,939$123,129$66,948
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$85,656$100,889$7,496
Total Net Assets$89,854$39,828$68,405
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities1.881.228.93
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountFoundations and Corporations $252,613Contributions, Gifts and Grants $172,667Contributions, Gifts & Grants $106,974
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, Gifts and Grants $107,107Government Grants $96,700Government Grants $67,663
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountState Government Grants $39,912Fundraising Events $72,123Program Revenue $65,999
IRS Letter of Exemption
Capital Campaign
Is the organization currently conducting a Capital Campaign for an endowment or the purchase of a major asset? No
Capital Campaign Goal $0.00
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? No
State Charitable Solicitations Permit
TN Charitable Solicitations Registration Yes - Expires June 2018
GivingMatters.com Financial Comments
Financial figures taken from the Form 990.
Schedule B removed to protect donor privacy.  
Form 990 was prepared by Dempsey, Vantrease & Follis, PLLC.
Comments provided by Kathryn Bennett 8/14/17.
Nonprofit Tennessee Environmental Council
Address One Vantage Way
Suite E-250
Nashville, TN 37228 1587
Primary Phone (615) 248-6500
Contact Email tec@tectn.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. John McFadden
Board Chair Mr. Bob Freeman
Board Chair Company Affiliation Freeman Applegate
Year of Incorporation 1970

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