Sunday, September 07, 2014

Senator Jack Johnson praises Tennessee Parks and Greenways at Sunset on the South Harpeth event

Saturday night was the fifth annual Sunset on the Harpeth event to raise money for the Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation. TPGF is a non-profit organization that has saved many of the most endangered and beautiful of Tennessee's natural treasures, places like Virgin Fall and Stillhouse Hollow Falls and Cummins Falls and Black Mountain and Devilstep Hollow Cave and others.  In addition to saving specific beautiful places, TPGF has helped keep thousands of acres of rural Tennessee, rural and scenic by encouraging conservation easements and being recipient and guardian of the easement. The founder and Executive Director of the organization is my sister, Kathleen Williams, of whom I could not be more proud.

Senator Jack Johnson; Kathleen Williams, my sister Executive Director of Tennessee Parks and
Greenways Foundation and me (Rod Williams)
The Sunset on the Harpeth is a fun event in a beautiful setting of a lush valley with farms bordering the Harpeth River. The event includes a nature walk and hay rides and canoeing and live music and good food and  a bar and a big bonfire. It gets underway about 4PM. Some people come for the dinner and speech, others stay till late into the evening, and some camp for the night. I did not know it in advance  but was pleased that the keynote speaker at this year's event was Senator Jack Johnson.

Senator Jack Johnson is a Republican and the State Senator Representing Williamson County.  In his remarks, Senator Johnson praised Johnathan  Openheimer for establishing a conservation easement on 1363 area in Williamson County and he said, Mr. Openheimer has taken that acreage and created a business and is creating jobs. “Don’t let anyone tell you that conservation and job creation can’t go together.” 
“One of the things that make Williamson County so appealing is the green space,” he said. “Tennessee is one of the most beautiful States in United States of American,” said Senator Johnson. “We have such incredible Natural Resources and they need to be preserved and  that is why I am happy to be here and why I am happy to write a check to support the Tennessee and Parks Greenway Foundation."
“The great thing about Parks and Greenway Foundation is that they are preserving those valuable resources we have. With this effort, to take the private dollars which you are raising right here today (by being here) and marrying those with certain tax dollars, we are protecting those resources. People are looking to relocate their business, they are looking to relocate their families, and people are coming to Tennessee in droves, and one of the reasons is because of our beautiful natural resources and I am just grateful that you are here today to help us preserve as many of those as possible.”

Randy Hedgepath, the State Naturalist for Tennessee State Parks led a Nature Walk and  shared
 his knowledge of flowers and plants and birds. His humor and personality added to the knowledge
 he imparted. That is me, my niece Becca and by sister Kathleen with her grandson Edmond she is holding.
 We are in the second row of walkers.

I am delighted that Senator Johnson went out of his way to honor and support TPGF. Conservatives and liberals may disagree on some particulars of environmental policy, but there should be little disagreement on conservation and the importance of saving and protecting Tennessee's natural treasures.
This the third of the Sunset on the Harpeth events I have attended. A downpour mid-afternoon swelled the river and canceled any canoeing or nature walk along the river bank but did not distract from the evening and luckily there was no rain during the actual event. It was a beautiful cool evening with a bright moon and I stayed until late in the night. I enjoyed the beautiful outdoor sitting, Blue Grass music, grilled hamburgers and other good fare, and good conversation and adult beverages, and just relaxing.  Having been stressed by my wife's advancing illness, it was great for me to have a fun and relaxing evening and I could not think of a better place to have it.

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