March 31, 2021 is designated as the Mack S. Prichard Day by Governor Bill Lee in appreciation and celebration of Prichard’s life in service. Mack S. Prichard was the first Archaeologist and later Naturalist of the State of Tennessee. He started working for the state at the age of 16 and kept his job for over 50 years despite a turnover of eight governors. His mission in life was to explore beautiful, pristine Tennessee properties, take slides, and then convince others that these properties were worth conserving. Throughout his long and distinguished career, Mack crisscrossed Tennessee, doing slide shows at state park friends’ groups, Sierra Clubs, Statewide Organizing for Community eMpowerment (SOCM), Audubon meetings, schools, camps and in living rooms.
Combining his great knowledge of nature with quotes and poetry, Mack created unforgettable and inspirational programs. During frequent visits across the state, Mack always found the most beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails and paths into the woods and invited others to tag along and share the natural world with him. He led hikes to the numerous waterfalls in Tennessee and provided programs on the diverse wildflowers, birds and edible native plants. Mack was well-known, beloved by all and never met a stranger. Even after he retired, he continued his work. Out of a total of fifty-six state parks, Mack was instrumental in facilitating the acquisition of over 40 sites that became Tennessee State Parks. The website, mackprichard.org, hosted by the Friends of South Cumberland State Park, has compiled a selection of his presentations, photos and writings.
The Mack S. Prichard Foundation was founded in October 2019 as a 501(c)(3) organization. The mission of the foundation is to “… engage in activities to protect and conserve the natural environment in Tennessee …” The objective of the foundation is to provide scholarships to students for environmental science-related degrees or those who wish to become a State of Tennessee Park Ranger, support public television and radio programming that promotes protection of the environment, seek donations for purchasing land for conservation and to provide programming and education opportunities to encourage youth participation at Tennessee State Parks. If you would like to become a member of the foundation and receive newsletters with information about how and where to participate in scheduled activities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for a digital newsletter or send a tax-deductible donation to MSPF, 226 Cherry Ave., Cookeville, TN 38501.