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‘Generating Some Buzz’ Through the Tennessee Environmental Council

‘Generating Some Buzz’ Through the Tennessee Environmental Council

Article by Megan Zinger

Photography by Gina Whalen

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

The Tennessee Environmental Council (TEC) was formed in the ’70s, celebrating its 50th anniversary just this past December. Several diverse non-profits, including the American Lung Association of Tennessee, Tennessee Wildlife Federation, the Junior League of Nashville, Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, League of Women Voters of Tennessee, and the Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs came together to form the council, whose mission is to engage individuals and communities in improving our environment.

Jeff Barrie, CEO of TEC, grew up in southern California and has always had a passion for the environment. After graduating from UCLA, Barrie created environmental films that focused on solutions for improving the environment. Barrie moved to Tennessee and started working for the council in 2000, and then became CEO in 2014. “The most impactful thing we can do is to get people involved in the day-to-day activities that are going to improve our environment,” Barrie says. “We show people how to recycle, how to start composting, how to plant a pollinator garden, and how to plant trees. TEC sets up the infrastructure for folks to do those things, so all you have to do is visit our website to decide how you want to get involved.”

A good way to get involved with the council this spring is to participate in its Tennessee Pollinator Program, ‘Generate Some Buzz.’ Generate Some Buzz is an easy way for gardeners to help pollinator species, such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. These populations of pollinators continue to be negatively affected by agricultural practices, such as synthetic pesticide, disease and loss of habitats. Through Generate Some Buzz, the Tennessee Environmental Council provides seeds to gardeners and can choose which type of pollinator to support. So far, 51,822 square feet of pollinator habitat has been established in Tennessee through this program. “Our goal for 2021 is to have hundreds of people across Tennessee, in all 95 counties, to total more than 10,000 square feet of pollinator habitat freshly planted,” Barrie says.

In Williamson County alone, the TEC has 12 participants within the pollinator program. Marilyn Hinton, Williamson County resident and Generate Some Buzz participant says she saw the success of the program as an added benefit. “When I saw the group, I thought it sounded like a good match for me, and that maybe I could learn some stuff from other people who are also doing [Generate Some Buzz],” Hinton says. She is most looking forward to seeing other participants’ gardens and getting ideas from them to implicate into her own garden. As an avid vegetable gardener, Hinton is fairly new to wildflower gardening and received the Southern Butterfly and Hummingbird seed mix from the Tennessee Environmental Council to help her garden flourish.

To be a part of the program, follow these five steps:

1. Register

Visit to sign up and register your garden. Here, you can order your seeds of choice.

2. Prepare Your Site

Choose your ideal location to plant that provides a lot of sunlight. Be sure to remove any unwanted vegetation and check your soil.

3. Plant

Plant seedlings and plants after the last frost. Be sure to plan ahead and plant seeds in late fall and winter and cover them in soil.

4. Maintain

Be sure to water and weed your garden area to make sure your plants thrive.

5. Measure and Report

Tennessee Environmental Council will send you a quarterly email or text reminder, so you can report your garden’s growth and square footage. Pictures and videos are also encouraged!

Tennessee Environmental Council
​One Vantage Way, Suite E-250
​Nashville, TN 37228