July 5, 2012—The Society of Environmental Journalists is pleased to accept the invitation of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga  and the Chattanooga Times Free Press  to bring our 2013 meeting to Tennessee. This will be the first time in 20 years that SEJ is bringing its annual conference back to a conference host.
SEJ executive director Beth Parke said the time was right for the organization to revisit the diversity of national environmental issues represented in Chattanooga. "Chattanooga is a leadership city when it comes to sustainability initiatives," Parke told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
SEJ members David Sachsman of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Pam Sohn of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, and Anne Paine, recently retired from The (Nashville) Tennessean, will serve as meeting co-chairs. The five-day conference will run from Oct. 2 to 6, 2013 at the Chattanooga Convention Center, the first convention center in the nation to incorporate a "farm to table" program. Attendees will be staying at the Marriott and Sheraton Read House hotels.
Snail Darter. Image: USFWS/Office of Public Affairs.
SEJ's first Chattanooga conference, in 1998 , explored Chattanooga's nascent evolution from industrial city to environmentally focused community, the Chattanooga Creek Superfund site, logging and the snail darter endangered species controversy.
The 2013 conference promises to revisit some of those issues while also looking at energy and water issues in a changing climate and with a growing population, Sohn said. "We still have plenty of issues to explore."
The 2013 Chattanooga conference will be SEJ's 23rd annual gathering, which typically draws 700 to 900 working journalists, scientists, policy makers, business and nonprofit leaders together for several days to talk about the most pressing environmental issues of the day and how to improve environmental journalism.
- "Society of Environmental Journalists Bringing Conference Back to Chattanooga,"  Chattanooga Times Free Press, June 24, 2012, by Kevin Hardy.
- Chattanooga Convention and Visitors Bureau.