A Note From the CEO

Tremont’s mission drives my passion, and I am so grateful to do this work in East Tennessee. As CEO, I carry the responsibility of ensuring Tremont’s forward-thinking approach to education is given a world-class stage, where we succeed in increasing access to the benefits of nature. I genuinely believe that the work we do each day leads to a better future and happier, healthier people.

I believe this because I have the good fortune to witness outdoor learning improving lives. When I see a group of students hunched along a stream investigating the smallest details of a salamander, paying attention in new and remarkable ways, I see the world coming alive and expanding before them. Around the campfire, when I hear the impassioned stories of growth and revelation from a day spent under the forest canopy, I know the impact will extend well beyond this valley and their time at Tremont. These learning experiences in nature ground us in place, but most importantly, they allow us to share our joy with others, connecting us in the process.

In today’s society, we spend our lives increasingly indoors. This is negatively affecting our physical and mental well-being. Yet, we have the chance to revisit our relationship with nature, and, in turn, to gain from this connection. This is our goal, and this is our work. Tremont’s education programs are uniquely positioned to increase access to these benefits.

Research tells us that when children learn outdoors, their test scores, behavior, attention, social skills, and confidence improve. When people learn outdoors, they experience decreased stress and increased physical activity leading to healthier outcomes. This campaign is ambitious, but the impact is clear. We will grow our capacity. We will reach individuals through new and sustained partnerships and programs. We will build a world-class education center. We will model a better future. And together, our success will show that when we create buildings that are good for people, for our planet, and for our shared prosperity, our vision for a better future is possible because it exists right here in East Tennessee.

Catey McClary
President & CEO
Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont