Steve Ahillen , USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

The Knox County Department of Engineering and Public Works was among winners of 2017 Tennessee Sustainable Transportation Awards announced Wednesday by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

A total of 11 awards were announced by TDEC, which partners with the Tennessee Department of Transportation on the awards competition.

The Knox County department won for its effort to add walking and biking options for the 80 schools in Knox County.

“An automated process was necessary for estimating likely walk-to-school trips and determining sidewalk construction priorities,” stated TDEC in the awards announcement. “To aid in this process, the Knox County Department of Engineering and Public Works hired RPM Transportation Consultants to assist in the estimation and mapping of walk trips.”

Other award winners were Chattanooga Area Regional Transportation Authority, Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency, city of Johnson City, IdleAir and Covenant Transportation Group, Inc., Memphis Light, Gas and Water, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority, Metropolitan Nashville-Davidson County Public Works Department, Tennessee Department of Transportation, the TMA Group and United Parcel Service, Inc.

Conservation Fisheries honored

Conservation Fisheries based in Knoxville was among winners of the 52nd annual Tennessee Wildlife Federation’s Conservation Achievement Awards. The fisheries, founded by Pat Rakes and J.R. Shute, was named Wildlife Conservationist of the Year.

A ceremony recently was held in Nashville at which 17 awards were presented.

George Lindemann of Grandview who donated land valued at $8 million to the state and led the drive to have Soak Creek in the Cumberland Plateau named a state Scenic River was named Conservationist of the Year.

Jack Muncy of Norris won the Z. Cartter Patten Award for lifetime service. Muncey’s natural resource management and land stewardship career with the Tennessee Valley Authority spanned four decades.

The Tennessee Naturalist Program with chapters in Knox County and other counties was honored as the Conservation Organization of the Year.

REI helping Urban Wilderness

For the fourth consecutive year, REI is showing its support for Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness with a $10,000 grant to Legacy Parks Foundation and a $6,000 grant to the Appalachian Mountain Bike Club.

The two organizations will use the grants to fund water fountains and a bike tune-up station within Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness.

“We’re excited to see Legacy Parks and AMBC continue to enhance Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness,” said Nolan Wildfire, REI Outdoor Programs and Outreach coordinator.

“We are thrilled REI continues to partner with us in support of Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness,” said Legacy Parks Executive Director Carol Evans. “Their lasting partnership allows us to continue expanding and connecting this beautiful forested area, providing a great place for our community to get out and play.”

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