What is Sequatchie Valley Institute?


The Sequatchie Valley Institute, a non-profit educational organization, has been a highlight of the Chattanooga area since 1997.  Nature-based and sustainable activities and facilities are available, just 45 minutes from Chattanooga in the beautiful Sequatchie Valley.

What began in the 1970’s as a family homestead, sustainably and scientifically designed, has gradually become a learning center for both children and adults for permaculture gardening and greenhouses, natural hand-crafted building, solar power, forest ecology, food and nutrition, and sustainable forestry.

Current yearly activities include naturalist-guided Spring Wildflower Hikes; Food for Life, a 3-day workshop on food including harvesting, preserving and fermenting, nutritional and political issues of food, use of native herbs, and animal products; and Wine in the Woods, a wine-tasting fund-raiser featuring local home-made wines, meads, herbal liquors, and beers.

Half-day tours can be arranged for all ages, including a hike and visits to the homes and gardens. Scouts, college and school classes, and special interest groups are welcome—tours are tailored to fit all ages and interests.  Barking Beetle Retreat, sustainably built of pine beetle-killed logs, with three floors high in the trees and open on all sides, includes an open-air kitchen and can be used for meetings, retreats, weddings, and conferences as well as for a covered camping area.  We also have small unique structures, built of native and salvaged materials, suitable for rustic overnight stays.

Marked Nature Trails for hiking and picnicking and an Arboretum Trail with 100 identified native and domestic trees and shrubs traverse 300 acres of mixed mesophytic forest, from Hick’s Creek up to the sandstone bluffs of the Cumberland Plateau, all protected forever by the Land Trust for Tennessee.

Liquidambar Art Gallery is located at SVI on the banks of Hick’s Creek, featuring the work of local artists.  The gallery includes pottery, flameworked glass, metal and glass sculpture, kaleidoscopes, and paintings, as well as forest picnicking, marked nature trails by the creek, and teas from our herb gardens.

Contact us at:

Sequatchie Valley Institute

1233 Cartwright Loop * Whitwell, TN 37397*423 949-5922/4598*

education@svionline.org; patrick@svionline.org


For more information:





The Sequatchie Valley Institute is a a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization (EIN: 62-1715492) promoting education and research in sustainable green living, ecology, and art.  We offer opportunities to experience and learn about living in harmony with nature by providing:

  • tours for school groups, scouts, and adults: permaculture gardens, nature and arboretum trails and solar hand-crafted homes
  • workshops and programs emphasizing healthy natural and sustainable living                  
  • education, research, and art programming
  • three hundred acres of forest with trails, protected forever by the Land Trust for Tennessee
  • a tree-top retreat center available for meetings, weddings, and other events
  • Liquidambar Art Gallery presenting fine art by local artists, hiking and picnicking


research and education in sustainable living