Our Green Community On Top of the Cumberland Plateau

Uplands Village has a long tradition of health and environmental activism, starting with founder Dr. May Cravath Wharton. Many Uplanders are change agents in the larger Cumberland County community, and some of this volunteer work is guided by the Uplands Board of Directors’ Environmental Quality Committee, nicknamed the Green Team.

Founded in 2015, the Green Team focuses on tangible steps that Uplands can take to support the health of residents, staff members and the environment. Committee members research and present information about best practices to improve the health of the environment and anyone who steps foot on the 500-acre campus.

Recent projects include the implementation of a robust recycling program to reduce the cost of waste management at Uplands Village; a new policy to prohibit use of pesticides and herbicides by Uplands staff members and vendors; and a buffer policy to protect the wetlands, lakes, ponds and streams on the campus. The committee began working to live in harmony with the beaver population that has returned to the region and is working on an initiative to improve storm water management through environmentally friendly or green practices.

Uplands Village maintains a long tradition of advocacy.

Recycling at Uplands Village

The recycling program in rural Pleasant Hill, Tennessee, is a model program for the state. Even though the community is small, with a population of just 500, Uplands provides curbside recycling pickup. 

The 2017 recycling initiative involved setting up recycling sites campus-wide so staff members would have places to recycle as well. It is a cost-saving initiative that also helps the environment and improves the health of residents and staff.

The recycling project was a multistep initiative launched last year. Planning began in late 2016. The next phase will be to evaluate how the program is working and to adjust as needed.

Protecting Our Waters and Neighbors

The board, armed with research provided by the Green Team, passed a policy in 2017 to prohibit the use of pesticides and herbicides by Uplands’ staff and vendors. They invite residents who own property to attend educational events that encourage the elimination of toxic chemicals because of the health hazards to residents and staff and the potential impact on the waters. Residents are encouraged to follow this practice on their own properties, as well.

Buffer Policy on Uplands' Waterways

Related to that initiative was a new board policy to create a buffer around the waters on the Uplands campus, including the pristine Lake Laura and Lake Alice. When the board saw that Lake Laura was beginning to degrade rapidly, due in part to a 2016 drought, it passed a policy to create a natural buffer zone that acts as a filter for the lakes and improves the health of the water. Mowing and applying chemicals around the lakes are prohibited.

Through the water quality effort, the Green Team found that beavers, which had returned to the area in recent years, provide a lot of free maintenance for the lakes. The challenge has been to address flooding and chewing of desirable trees, but the plan to coexist in a productive way with the beavers is underway.

In 2018, Uplands began addressing stormwater runoff, a major challenge on campus. The Green Team began with an assessment and shared best practices that increase the ability of the land to absorb the water, rather than damaging Uplands Village or resident properties.

The committee will also continue to look for alternative energy options like solar panels for future construction to increase energy efficiency.

Learn more about the history of Uplands Village.

Uplands Village is always looking for new ways to become better stewards of our environment. Ongoing initiatives include:

  • Curbside recycling pickup 
  • Reducing use of herbicides, pesticides and other toxic chemicals
  • Creating natural buffers on campus lakes and waterways to filter and improve water quality
  • Reintroducing dwindling wildlife populations on campus
  • Determining best practices to manage stormwater runoff
  • Researching alternative energy sources and increasing energy efficiency

Can you picture yourself at our community, among like-minded people?

Uplands Village is a Certified Wildlife Habitat®

Many living creatures today face the threat of a disrupted or dwindling habitat. At Uplands Village we care about all living things and so we’ve made the commitment to support the wildlife in our area. Our 500-acre campus has qualified as a Certified Wildlife Habitat® by the National Wildlife Federation. Our campus serves as a haven for birds, butterflies, bees and other beautiful animals so they can get the vital resources they need to survive and thrive.

We’ve incorporated all of the essential elements needed to bring our community to life:

  • Food including plants and supplemental feeders
  • Clean water for wildlife to drink and bathe in
  • Places for shelter from weather and predators
  • Places for wildlife to raise their young
  • Sustainable practices such as the elimination of chemical pesticides and fertilizers

The Cumberland Plateau, the region on which Uplands Village stands, is home to a variety of plants and animals unique to the region.

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