New website honors life’s work of state naturalist

State Naturalist Mack Prichard
Tennessee State Naturalist Emeritus Mack Prichard reviews the new MackPrichard.org website, which chronicles his presentations, photos and writings. {Photo Provided}

By Susan Campbell | Contributing Writer

STATE NEWS — The Friends of South Cumberland (FSC) recently launched a new website that chronicles and celebrates the work of Tennessee State Naturalist Emeritus Mack Prichard.

MackPrichard.org is a free website that serves as a repository for Prichard’s decades of work with the state, including his presentations, photos and writings. The website has been designed to assist environmental education in the state.

In 2014, the FSC began working with Prichard to preserve part of his vast collection of photographs taken during his nearly five decade career with the State of Tennessee, according to FSC’s Rick Dreves. More than 5,000 photographs, more than a dozen videos of Prichard’s presentations, and additional digitized materials are now online, chronicling the evolution of environmental protection across the state, and showing many places and events that led to the creation of new state natural areas and state parks.

“The objective of the project was to share Prichard’s experiences and knowledge online, both as a record of his work, and to inspire and inform environmental educators, researchers and the broader public,” Dreves said.

The project gained momentum when the FSC received a grant from the Tennessee Federation of Garden Clubs (TFGC) to support the purchase of scanning equipment, data storage, web services and, most recently, funding for a student assistant to help accelerate the scanning of slide images from Prichard’s collection.

“Work to augment the online resources will be ongoing, as both Prichard’s archives and knowledge are deep and of great value to environmental education in Tennessee,” Dreves said.

Prichard has had a long association with both organizations. He was instrumental in persuading then-governor Winfield Dunn to advocate for creation of South Cumberland State Park in 1978, and for the establishment of FSC in the 1990s. For years, Prichard was a speaker at TFGC’s summer camp sessions, showing slides and speaking about conservation topics from across the state. The TFGC gave Mack the nickname, “Mr. Conservation,” and established its Conservation Education Fund to help preserve his collection.

The FSC is coordinating efforts with a parallel effort being undertaken in Nashville, where the Friends of Tennessee State Parks (FTSP) have provided a separate grant to scan other slides from Prichard’s collection. FSC hopes to add those images to the new website, when they become available.

For more information about Prichard and these organizations, visit MackPrichard.org, FriendsOfSouthCumberland.org, TFGConline.org and FriendsOfTennesseeStateParks.org.

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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