Tri-Cities Climate March


climate march
Photo by Hailey Massie


If you are looking for something to do this weekend, other than studying for finals or watching Netflix, you should check out the Tri-Cities Climate March!

According to the Tri-Cities People Climate March Facebook page, the event is set to take place this Saturday starting at 10:30 a.m. The march will start at the corner of University Parkway and West State of Franklin in Johnson City, Tennessee. There will also be free parking!

Anyone is welcome to participate in the event and it will be free of charge to join the march.

The march will be coinciding with another People’s Climate March that will be taking place in Washington D.C.

The Climate March hopes to bring attention to climate change and to educate people in the area about the environment and what you can do to help make a difference.

Before the march is to take place another event will be happening at South Side Elementary School at 9 a.m.

The event is called “Pedaling for the Planet”. This event hopes to encourage more people in the area to consider biking as an alternative to driving.

As with the march, anyone is welcomed to join the bike ride. The route will be 2.2 miles long and all flat.

Another event is set to take place that day after the climate march.

After marching to Founders Park there will be a tree planting event called “Planting Trees for Bees” in Oak Hill Cemetery, just across from Founders Park. This event is being organized by “What’s the Buzz Johnson City”, an organization focused on making pollinator friendly spaces.

According to What’s the Buzz Johnson City’s Facebook page, over 55 pollinator-friendly trees will be planted at this event. Be sure to bring gloves and a shovel with you!

If you were looking for something to do in Johnson City this weekend I hope I have helped you out! Hope to see you there!





Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day was this past weekend, and I hope everyone took the time to appreciate the planet and all the wonderful things it has to offer.

Let’s start out with a little bit of history on how Earth Day was started.

According to, the first Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970. Gaylord Nelson, the founder of Earth Day and former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, came up with the idea for the national holiday after seeing the aftermath of an oil spill in Santa Barbara, California in 1969.

Nelson took the idea of having one day to focus on the environment and ran with it. Using the momentum from anti-Vietnam War protestors, Nelson shared his ideas with the masses and it took off.

According to, on April 22, 1970, “20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies.”

Ever since 1970 Earth Day has been going strong, with millions of people participating worldwide.

Johnson City residents also participated in Earth Day activities with an Earth Day symposium held at The Willow Tree Coffeehouse. The symposium was sponsored by the Green Interfaith Network, Inc. (GINI).

GINI is a local group of volunteers in the Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia regions that help audit non-profit business in order to reduce their waste and power consumption.

The Earth Day symposium lasted from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. drawing crowds from all walks of life. Various speakers came to the event as well, sharing their thoughts and ideas on topics like climate change and recycling with the audience.

Next year when Earth Day begins to approach don’t just brush it off as another useless holiday. Find ways on how you can participate in local events and start making a difference in this world!

Roan Mountain Rhododendron Festival

Every year on the third weekend of June Roan Mountain hosts the Rhododendron Festival.

Roan Mountain can be found in Cater County, Tennessee, which is home to the world’s largest natural rhododendron garden.

According to, the festival began in 1947 by the Roan Mountain Citizens Club.

The festival is held on the third weekend of June because this time is the prime blooming season for the rhododendrons.

There are also many cabins that visitors may reserve to stay the night at near the grounds with a swimming pool and tennis courts nearby.

The festival takes place at the base of the mountain, which is now Roan Mountain State Park. The festival features vendors, various food trucks and a stage for performing.

During the festival, many visitors take the drive up the mountain to visit the rhododendron gardens. There will be a three dollar charge per car to enter this area of the mountain.

The Rhododendron festival has been held for over 50 consecutive years and it continues to grow each year. For a family friendly festival full of art, crafts, food, and beautiful flowers head on over to this event in June!


Cherokee National Forest

The Cherokee National Forest is a popular destination for locals and tourists in East Tennessee.

According to, the national forest was formed in 1936 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is the only national forest in the state of Tennessee.

Today, the forest is made up of 640,000 acres of land and stretches from Bristol to Chattanooga.

The Cherokee National Forest is home to at least 20,000 different species of plant and animal life, several of which are federally labeled as endangered or threatened.

The goal of the national forest is to provide a safe home and habitat to the thousands of species that reside in the area.

As you guessed by the name, the Cherokee Indians called this part of the United States home for hundreds of years, using the area primarily for hunting and gathering purposes.

In the 1880s timber and coal mining companies made their way into the area of the national forest. After depleting the area’s natural resources these companies made their way over to western territory.

In 1912 the federal government stepped in to purchase the land that had been abused by these unregulated companies in order to preserve the area and all of its beauty.

The Cherokee National Forest is an example of the benefits of government-owned land. Conservation efforts have ensured the safety of the environment that millions of people visit every year.



Gardening in East Tennessee

Summer is quickly approaching, and with all the sunshine and warm weather comes gardens.

Gardening can be a tricky craft to perfect. It’s all about finding what grows best in your neck of the woods and how to care for it.

According to, the United States is broken down into 13 growing zones based off of the temperature a certain area reaches during the winter.

The zones are also broken down to figure in what plants grow best in your area.

According to the website, east Tennessee resides in zone seven.

While the USDA map doesn’t take into account the amount of yearly rainfall or summer temperatures, it still does a good job at telling you what plants will thrive in your area.

According to, some of the best flowers to grow in zone seven include daffodils, hydrangeas, pansies, zinnias and many other beautiful plants!

If you are more interested in starting a vegetable garden try growing tomatoes, corn, turnips, broccoli or potatoes.

If vegetables aren’t that appetizing to you there are many fruit plants that grow well in zone seven like apples, cherries, grapes and pears.

Now that you know what grows best in this area find out which plants require lots of care or plants that grow well without a lot of help.

Gardening can be a big task to take on, so if you don’t want to spend too much time on your plants find ones that do well with little care.

Good luck with gardening this summer!


Boone Lake Clean Up

The Boone Lake Association will be holding the annual Boone Lake Clean Up April 29.

According to, the Boone Lake Association was started in 1983 after some parts of the lake were deemed “not fit for human contact”.Parts of the lake were filled with trash.

A group of concerned residents banned together to form the Boone Lake Association.

Their goal is to keep Boone Lake as clean and healthy as possible to ensure visitors with a safe and fun trip to the lake.

Each year a clean-up is scheduled for the lake where volunteers go out and pick up trash in or around the area.

To keep morale high the Boone Lake Association is offering prizes to people who participate in the event.

Each time a participant fills a bag full of trash they will receive a ticket. They will then be able to turn their tickets into a door prize event where some lucky winners will be chosen to receive prizes.

Of course, if you turn in more bags of trash the more chances you have of winning a prize!

If you are feeling up to the challenge head out to Boone Lake April 29 to see if you will be one of the lucky winners!

Meet GINI: The Green Interfaith Network


Photo by Hailey Massie


The Green Interfaith Network, Inc. (GINI) is a local organization in the Tri-Cities focusing on promoting sustainable practices in faith communities and non-profit organizations in the area.

According to the group’s website, the organization is made up of volunteers who encourage faith-based sustainable practices and living.

The group is also known for conducting energy assessments for churches and non-profit businesses in the area. These energy assessments are completed in order to help non-profits reduce their power usage and save money.

Carol Landis, the current president of GINI is doing everything in her power to make sure the organization has a lasting impact on the region.

“By doing these energy assessments, we help [churches and non-profit businesses] make changes that can help them save money on energy bills,” said Landis. “They then can allocate that money to important missions or ministries in their local congregation.”

Anyone of any faith is welcomed to join the group’s efforts to making the Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee regions environmentally sustainable.

Besides conducting energy assessments the group also holds various community events like screening environmental documentaries and hosting workshops on how to begin a “Green Team” at your place of worship.

If you are interested in opportunities to network with people from other regional faith groups and want to help spread a message of sustainability you should check out the group, as it is volunteers who keep the organization running!