Officials Open Forest Heights Pocket Park; Knoxville 1st Tennessee City Certified as Wildlife Habitat

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Officials Open Forest Heights Pocket Park; Knoxville 1st Tennessee City Certified as Wildlife Habitat

Posted: 11/20/2017
Forest Heights Park Ribbon Cutting

Forest Heights ParkThere was more than the opening of a new park to be celebrated today, as City officials cut the ribbon on the recently acquired and renovated Forest Heights Pocket Park, located at 411 Highland Hills Road.

Until now, the 0.8-acre park had been split into 32 parcels owned by the Forest Heights neighborhood residents. The park, adjacent to the City’s Bearden Village Greenway, was transferred to the City so that Public Works Department crews could upgrade its amenities to meet safety standards and maintain it on a regular basis.

The park features a paved walking loop, picnic tables and play equipment, including new swings and a natural playground installed by City crews.

During the ceremony, Mayor Madeline Rogero announced that Knoxville has just been named the first city in Tennessee to be certified by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) as a Community Wildlife Habitat.

“We have to preserve our wildlife habitats so that our future generations experience the beauty that is East Tennessee’s trademark,” said Mayor Rogero. “Whether it be the 1,000-acre Urban Wilderness or a smaller-than-an-acre pocket park like Forest Heights, it’s a win for our kids and our grandkids.”

Forest Heights Park NWFTo achieve the city-level certification, a city is required to first certify 312 sites at homes, schools or common areas that provide the four basic elements that all wildlife need: food, water, cover and places to raise young. Knoxville currently has 344 sites (322 homes, 16 common areas, and six schools).

In 2014, Mayor Rogero and City officials celebrated with South Woodlawn, a neighborhood in South Knoxville, as it was certified as the first Wildlife Habitat Community (at the neighborhood level) in Tennessee.

At a 2016 Mayor’s “Neighborhoods to Nature” walk to Beardsley Farm, the Mayor challenged Knoxville businesses, schools and private residences to become a certified Community Wildlife Habitat in a race to be the first city in the state with the title.

Thirteen months later, the city-level certification was presented to Mayor Rogero at the Forest Heights Pocket Park opening by Anker Browder on behalf of the NWF. Browder currently serves as a local board member for the Tennessee Wildlife Federation.

“As a Knoxville resident, I am proud of the vision and dedication shown by our Mayor, our City Council, and our citizens to improving this city for its people and the wildlife around it,” Browder said. “We will be a more vibrant city for it.”

NWF SignTo register as a Community Wildlife Habitat or to gain insight from helpful Knoxville wildlife links and tools, such as a “heat map” that depicts concentrated levels of wildlife habitats in Knoxville, visit