Stepping Up for STEM and 4-H

Summer (and camp) is coming. UTIA operates three 4-H camping centers and is developing a fourth, Lone Oaks Farm in West Tennessee. UTIA received a $1 million challenge grant from FedEx towards the establishment of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Education Center at Lone Oaks Farm. The vision is to build an instructional facility, demonstration farm and overnight lodging for 64 students. Students will learn about cutting-edge technology, like geographical information systems, drones and genetics, while enjoying fun outdoor experiences such as stargazing and nature walks. Lone Oaks Farm will connect students to agriculture and natural resources, but the larger goal is to ignite enthusiasm about all STEM topics. The FedEx gift is contingent on the farm raising other support from businesses, foundations and individuals.

Ag Day Celebrates UTIA’s 50th, Launches Capital Campaign

The institute celebrated 50 years of history at its annual Ag Day on Sept. 22. Live music, family fun and a visit from Smokey punctuated the event, which also showcased the newly named Herbert College of Agriculture, the College of Veterinary Medicine and UTIA’s ambitious capital campaign. Together We Grow has the goal of raising $175 million from nonpublic sources to extend “Real. Life. Solutions.” to new generations. The 2018 Meritorious Service Award was presented to Ed Carter, Knoxville ’71, executive director of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, a forestry and wildlife management alumnus. The 2018 Horizon Award recognized Colleen Cruze Bhatti, Knoxville ’11, of Knoxville’s Cruze Farm, for high achievements by recent alumni.

Morgan Tree Leafs Into History

Large white oak tree
Anyone who has frequented the UTIA campus has likely passed the stately white oak that graces the Indian mound on the corner of Joe Johnson and E.J. Chapman drives. That tree, which measures nearly 46 inches in circumference, is now listed on the Tennessee Landmark, Historic, and Heritage Tree Registry. The Indian mound, on which the tree grows, dates back roughly 1,000 years and has witnessed history since the formation of the nation. Scott Schlarbaum, professor of forest genetics, recommended naming the tree after Harcourt Morgan, an early director of the Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station who also served as UT president from 1919 until 1934. UT’s Tree Improvement Program collected acorns from the tree for a genetic test plant on TVA’s Norris Reservation. The test will supply the state’s seedling nursery with acorns for reforestation in East Tennessee and will influence the genetics of future generations of white oaks.