Black Bear Institute celebrates Earth Day

KNOXVILLE,Tenn.(WVLT)-- The message is out there for visitors traveling into the national park.

They're guaranteed to see natural beauty and the icon of the park, black bears. MESSAGE IS OUT THERE FOR VISITORS TRAVELING I

Lisa Stewart of the Black Bear Institute in Townsend says, "In order to protect the national habitat, the environment, we have to show them ways to change their lifestyle a little bit."

That's the reason for the Black Bear Solar Institute, a unique place that utilizes electric cars and public charging stations.

In the meantime it helps rehab the black bear population and return them to the wild.

Stewart says,"By using an electric vehicle to travel and enjoy the day they're leaving no carbon footprint."

Forming a green gateway of sorts to and from the Great Smoky Mountains.

Stewart says it's helping the environment. "We're providing 18 charging stations 18 here in Townsend, and in Maryville and Knoxville for all the state parks close by."

Eventual revenue from the charging stations will go to constructing a rescue rehab and release center for black bear cubs as well as other wildlife.

The Institute is located in the Trillium Cove Shopping Center in Townsend.

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