Mountain Challenge earns BRAVO! award

Mountain Challenge earns BRAVO! award

June 20, 2107

For making its 141-year-old home more environmentally friendly and for pushing ecological stewardship among the Maryville College community, Mountain Challenge has earned another award.

Earlier this month, Bruce Guillaume ’76, founder and director of Mountain Challenge, accepted the Dee Lidvall Sustainable Stewardship Award, one of Keep Blount Beautiful’s (KBB) annual BRAVO! awards that are given to local businesses and organizations in recognition of their landscaping and beautification efforts. Lidvall, who passed away in 2013, was a former KBB board member and member of the Alcoa Garden Club.

“In her honor, this award is given to previous BRAVO! Beautification Award recipients who won 10 years ago or more and have not only beautifully maintained their landscapes but have incorporated sustainable measures both in the outside property and inside the business,” explained KBB Board Member Mike Wingo in presenting the award. “The nominees and winners in this category have worked hard to make sure their property is sustainable and environmentally friendly for years to come.”

Crawford House is home to Mountain Challenge, an outdoor adventure and team-building corporation that that operates on the campus. Since 2009, Guillaume and his staff have led efforts to make the 19th-century farmhouse one of the most energy-efficient and sustainable structures in the United States.

Improvements have included the installation of gas and water meters for measuring usage, custom low-E storm windows, efficient and appropriately sized HVAC units, soy-based foam insulation, linoleum (linseed-based) flooring, a solar hot water system, a 12-panel solar array and edible landscaping (orchard, garden and blackberries along fence rows). The front porch and a yoga deck are made out of recycled materials.

In 2012, the improvements were noticed by the East Tennessee Preservation Alliance, which awarded Crawford House an East Tennessee Preservation Award.

In 2013, the College celebrated a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification by the U.S. Green Building Council, making Crawford House the oldest structure in Tennessee and the second oldest in the country to earn the distinction.

Mountain Challenge/Crawford House has also been recognized as a GoGreenET Green Business Achiever by the Greater Knoxville Business Journal.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized for our sustainability efforts,” Guillaume said. “It’s particularly gratifying to receive recognition about the value and beauty of our grounds. Our ability to provide experiential evidence about the positive impacts of the outdoors is fundamental for our Fit.Green.Happy.™ campaign, in which we want people to understand and experience the links between fitness, sustainability and happiness.”   

The other nominee for the Dee Lidvall award was the College’s Anderson Hall.

As a winner, Mountain Challenge received a BRAVO! sign to place in front of Crawford House for one year.

Award-winning campus

This latest recognition marks the fourth BRAVO! award Maryville College has received in the last 12 years. The historic and picturesque 263-acre campus won for beautification in 2005 and 2013. In 2015, the College was recognized with its first Lidvall award for sustainability efforts across the entire campus.

Anderson Hall, the College’s oldest and most iconic building, was renovated extensively in 2013 and 2014 and was recognized with three awards:  A Blount County Historic Trust Heritage Design Award, 2015; a Knox Heritage East Tennessee Preservation Award, 2016; and an East Tennessee Historical Society Award of Distinction, 2016.

By Karen B. Eldridge, Executive Director for Marketing & Communications


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.