Hundreds of journalists, government officials, environmental leaders, exhibitors and others from around the globe will be in Chattanooga October 2 – 6, 2013, to attend the 23rd Annual Conference of the Society of Environmental Journalists.  This will be the second Chattanooga visit for SEJ, hosted by The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

SEJ’s theme for the conference agenda is “Sustainable Cities” and it’s making global connections. Journalists and other attendees from 38 states and 14 countries, including Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Pakistan, and the Philippines will be there. Reporters will be representing National Geographic, Popular Science, Chicago Tribune, Public Radio International, Bloomberg BNA, Associated Press and multiple statewide radio networks. Dozens of daily newspapers and TV stations will be represented, from Baltimore to Boston to New Orleans, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Seattle and St. Louis, to Tampa, Toledo and Tucson.

“Chattanooga enjoys an international reputation as an ‘outdoor community’ and a beautiful, clean place to live.  This is a huge change from several decades ago when we were labeled as one of the dirtiest cities in the US.   The commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship extends to The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, co-sponsor of the conference for the Society of Environmental Journalists.  I hope the members discover for themselves our transformed city, campus, and vibrant destinations where many choose to live and study,” said University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Chancellor Steven Angle.

“Our goal with this conference is to strengthen coverage on key issues of the year and the region.  Journalists will apply their experience in Chattanooga to work they will be doing all year, through all media platforms, to improve public understanding of key issues,” said Beth Parke, executive director of the society. “We are thrilled with the partnership we have developed with UTC and the Chattanooga Times Free Press toward educational goals and public service goals. We had a great conference here in 1998 and welcomed the chance to put the Chattanooga story back in the spotlight. There’s so much to do, see and learn here.”

Scores of sessions, tours, exhibits and special events will keep attendees busy. See the complete agenda here:

Journalists and community members interested in attending the whole conference can register online here: Journalists interested in covering parts of the event should contact Beth Parke via email or phone listed below.

Because some aspects of the conference would be of interest to many, SEJ has decided to open portions of the program to the public. SEJ welcomes the public to attend:

Wednesday night opening reception ($35), featuring the Voices of Lee, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) (invited), Former Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy (invited);

Friday morning Breakfast of Alternative Vehicle Champions ($15), including a hearty buffet breakfast and plenary session: Electrifying Cars: The Next Five Years, which will feature two automakers with Tennessee plants, Volkswagen — with the U.S. debut of it’s 261 mpg XL1 plug-in hybrid — and Nissan; electric vehicle leaders General Motors and Toyota; and the CEO of the Nashville-based Xenon Motor Company, maker of electric scooters, who recently led the Ride the Future Tour, taking four electric vehicles across the U.S. in a Guinness World Records bid.

Saturday afternoon exhibits (free), including the Volkswagen 261 mpg XL1 plug-in hybrid, Toyota, General Motors, Westinghouse, Boeing, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service just to name a few. Click here to see the complete list.

Register on site at the Chattanooga Convention Center, Oct. 2 – 6.

Pam Sohn of the Chattanooga Times Free Press and Anne Paine environment reporter (retired) for The Tennessean in Nashville, and UTC Professor Dr. David Sachsman are serving as conference agenda co-chairs. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Times Free Press Foundation are SEJ’s hosts and co-sponsors of the conference.

The Society of Environmental Journalists is the only U.S.-based membership organization of professional journalists, students and educators dedicated to improvements in environmental reporting. The group is independent and nonpartisan. SEJ programs and operations are made possible by foundation grants, tax-deductible contributions, university partnerships and earned income through dues and fees. SEJ was incorporated in 1990 as an educational nonprofit association.  For more information see


Media Relations Contacts: Email Chuck Cantrell or call (423) 425-4363.
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