The Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Carter County native Gary W. Barrigar, an award-winning science teacher and long-time advocate of Tennessee’s environmental heritage.Congratulations, Gary! We are very proud of you!
“Each year, we recognize an individual who has devoted a lifetime of exemplary service to environmental protection or conservation stewardship in Tennessee,” said Martineau. “Gary Barrigar has imparted the value and importance of the natural world to thousands of students, parents, administrators and various organizations throughout his 40-year career by using nature as a classroom and integrating environmental education into daily curriculum.”
In 2000, Barrigar was selected to chair the Tennessee State Board of Education Science Standards Committee that developed standards for high school courses in Ecology and Environmental Science that remain in use to this day. Barrigar also served as the president of the Boone Watershed Partnership from 2005-2012, growing the multi-faceted partnership from a loosely organized group to a highly effective 501(c)(3) organization that works to identify and address water resource issues in the Boone watershed, located in East Tennessee and parts of Virginia.
Barrigar also has served in a number of leadership roles with various environmental and conservation groups, including the Southern Appalachian Highland Conservancy, Friends of Roan Mountain, the Buffalo Creek Watershed Alliance and the Overmountain Chapter of Trout Unlimited.
Alongside his wife, Nancy, Barrigar has led the “Peacemaking Committee” at First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton, Tenn., for more than 20 years – a group that involves church members in a variety of projects and activities focused on improving our natural environment.
TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau and Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey present Gary Barrigar of Elizabethton (center) with the Robert Sparks Walker Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award at the 2012 Governor's Environmental Achievement Awards.