On June 5, Bridgestone celebrated World Environment Day with the signing of Chestnut Mountain land donation. On June 27, Bridgestone Americas EHSS leadership, The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee staff and board gathered with local officials to celebrate the official property transfer of the 5,763 acres of the Bridgestone Nature Reserve at Chestnut Mountain property.
The land donation will protect and enhance habitats for a range of endangered plant and animal species, as well as provide connectivity to adjoining protected forests, including the 10,000-acre Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness previously gifted by Bridgestone Americas to the state of Tennessee. Protecting this property also maximizes the potential for mitigating climate change through the land's ability to capture carbon. The 5,763 acres are so robust that even a portion will sufficiently remove carbon dioxide from the air to offset the carbon footprint of Bridgestone Tower for years to come.
"At Bridgestone, we're pleased to help make our communities stronger, particularly in the state we call home. Today recognizes and celebrates an important milestone, not only for the state of Tennessee, but for our company as our commitment to ensuring a healthy environment for future generations comes to life," said Chris Karbowiak, Chief Administrative Officer, Chief Risk Officer and Executive Vice President, Bridgestone Americas. "Today's celebration is the culmination of hard work from many people and organizations, and we are proud to have a partner in The Nature Conservancy as it manages this important land moving forward."
The Reserve's most notable natural feature, Chestnut Mountain, is the highest peak in White County, Tennessee, with an elevation of approximately 2,000 feet. The acreage includes Billy Branch Lake, mixed hardwood and pine forests, wooded mountain bluffs, as well as various caves and streams. The area is home to rare species, such as the golden eagle, Eastern slender glass lizard and barking tree frog, along with rare plants including the Cumberland rosemary and Michigan lily.
"We applaud Bridgestone for its commitment to the environment," said Terry Cook, State Director for The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee. "We are honored that it has entrusted The Nature Conservancy to manage this important forest. Bridgestone is setting an example for how local, regional and national corporations can proactively protect the planet in collaboration with the environmental community.
Since 2014, Bridgestone and The Nature Conservancy in Tennessee have been working in partnership on innovative restoration and habitat enhancement on the property. With The Nature Conservancy's assistance, Bridgestone has enrolled the land in Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, a non-regulatory conservation tool designed to recognize and promote responsible forest management.