Tennessee 4-H Camping Reimagined

Parents and campers have been hopeful that in 2021 youth could return to the wild, so to speak. However, as spring approached, the decision was made to reimagine 4-H camping this year. If youth can’t come to camp, then camp will come to the youth. A new camp-on-wheels trailer, complete with equipment and tools to provide hands-on learning and fun, will visit each county throughout the 2021 camping season. Precautions will be taken to ensure participants will remain safe and physically distant while still enjoying in-person interaction with counselors and friends.

Meanwhile, plans are in full swing for broader 4-H camping experiences once the pandemic has passed. Construction on the long-awaited overnight housing facilities—the cabins—and two wings of the science, technology, engineering and math complex at West Tennessee’s Lone Oaks Farm in Middleton began in March.

The first overnight campers are expected in 2022.

A Special COVID Commencement

Bill Dance displays a large fish he caught
Bill Dance

The College of Veterinary Medicine conferred 47 degrees, including Master of Science, Ph.D. and Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. The Herbert College of Agriculture added some 245 students (Bachelor of Science, Master of Science and Ph.D.) to the rank of alumni. Among them is Bill Dance, famed advocate for wildlife and fisheries management and host of Bill Dance Outdoors. Dance was awarded an honorary Doctor of Natural Resources for his work and for his support for UTIA and the Vols.

UTIA Names New Dean of Extension

Ashley Stokes stands under a tree outside Morgan Hall
Ashley Stokes

A veterinarian, beef industry partner and expert in teaching and community engagement has taken the reins as the new dean of UT Extension.

Ashley Stokes has joined the UTIA leadership team after having served as associate vice president for engagement and deputy director of Colorado State University Extension. Stokes is the first woman to serve as dean of UT Extension.

UT Extension includes agriculture and natural resources management faculty, specialists in family and consumer sciences and youth development, and strategically located county agents who work with all 95 local governments to provide adult learning opportunities while also managing Tennessee 4-H, the state’s branch of the USDA’s national youth development and leadership program.

“UT Extension is one of the strongest in the country with traditional programs that have been robust for more than 100 years, as well as new programs that are tailored to the ever-changing needs of our communities,” says Stokes. “I am thrilled and honored to join these incredible Extension professionals.”

Research and Education Center at Milan Expands

For decades, the UT AgResearch and Education Center at Milan has managed crops on property leased from the U.S. Army Milan Ammunition Plant. Part of the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act transfers some 900 acres from the ammunition plant to the university. The Milan AgResearch Center is internationally known for its contributions to soil conservation advances through the research and development of no-till agricultural production techniques, including work to understand the rate of soil erosion experienced under different cropping systems, pesticide movement through air and water, and precision farming systems.