Spotlight on NOMADS

IMG_9487.JPG

This week we welcomed 240 NOMADS to our RV Park for their annual conference.  This group, an outreach ministry of the United Methodist Church, traverse the country in their RV’s making building repairs after natural disasters for those in need.  NOMADS volunteer their time and travel expenses in these construction projects.  Today I got to spend time with NOMADS’ Max & Anne who live in Alabama and showed them what we do here at Agricenter – we have a mutual friend so it was great to connect and see how small our world is!  This lovely couple spends over 180 days a year travelling around the country helping people in need through construction projects.  

RV 2.jpg

4-H Forestry Judging Program

Last weekend was the 4-H Forestry Judging Program at Agricenter. We had students from Shelby, Fayette, Carroll, and McNairy Counties. The students learned about Pacing, Tree Measurement, Insect and Disease ID, Tree ID, Wood ID, and Site Evaluation. The program ended with a Forestry Judging Contest. Dr. David Mercker, UT Extension Specialist; Wes Hopper with TN Urban Forestry; Rich Hascher, National Hardwood Lumber Assoc; Shawn Posey with TDA Forestry Division; Ryan Hall with Wolf River Conservancy; Nathan Hoover with TDA; and Neil Smith University of Tennessee Extension Specialist for 4-H.

5.jpg

AgTech Summer Youth Program

By Guest Blogger: Gabrielle Brooks, intern

The Memphis-Shelby County AgTech Summer Youth Program is a youth employment and workforce develop program hosted by Agricenter International. This summer pilot program aims to educate ten students on four key components: career readiness, agriculture, life skills (financial awareness), and STEM activities including drone building and operation. Students were selected from varying regions across the Shelby County area. They work with 901 Drones for their STEM component and Agricenter Education Director Tim Roberts for the agricultural education portion. Other instructors facilitate the career readiness and life skills components of the program.

The students are on campus from 9am-3pm giving them a 30-hour, paid work week with lunches provided daily. They have weekly field trips and community service outreach scheduled throughout the duration of their time in program.

This wonderful opportunity is funded by many generous local sponsors including Agricenter International, UT-TSU Extension, H. Saga/Port Alliance, Kiwanis, 901 Drones, and First Tennessee Bank.

Click here to watch a YouTube video of the summer program.

Mid-South Raptor Center

 Jeff Homad of the MCVB, Dr. Knox Martin, and Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir taking a tour.

Jeff Homad of the MCVB, Dr. Knox Martin, and Shelby County Trustee David Lenoir taking a tour.

Today we spent time at the Mid-South Raptor Center, a non-profit located on the Agricenter campus.  Dr. Martin told us all about the injured birds of prey and how they are found and rehabilitated back into the wild. They treat over 200 birds a year using only volunteer help and donations for bird food.   

 

 A bald eagle scheduled for release very soon!

A bald eagle scheduled for release very soon!

Green Matters for Shelby County Women

On February 1, Agricenter International hosted the group Green Matters for Shelby County Women.  This group was formed three years ago by the ladies of Memphis-Shelby County Office of Sustainability and TDEC. It is a networking group that meets every few months to hear from a businesswoman, non-profit, or government group about something related to the environment. In the past the ladies have toured a few interesting places like the Household Hazardous Waste Facility and the MLGW Pumping Station. This month Christine Donhardt, the Director of Communications with Agricenter, was the guest speaker.  Over 70 ladies learned about the education programs going on throughout the year at Agricenter.  Meetings are free and open to the public, to be invited to future meetings email: vivian.ekstrom@memphistn.gov

#GivingTuesday

This year, on Tuesday, November 29, Agricenter International is participating with other local non-profits for #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving.

Because of YOUR generosity, children are provided with enrichment classes at Agricenter that focus on science, technology, and the environment. Through hands-on learning at our research farm, students can better understand the natural environment and appreciate where their food and fiber come from.  Hear from two local educators about what Agricenter means to them and their students.  

Your gifts make this possible.  But there is so much more to be done. Please make your gift to Agricenter today by clicking here

How do you make sorghum syrup?

Last week I took a field trip out our back door to see the process at work! Delta Biorenewables, a start-up on the Agricenter campus, is one of the top producers in the country of sweet sorghum syrup (known as sorghum molasses in the South). - making about 10,000 gallons annually. A co-product is premium horse bedding, made from the plant fiber. From one acre of sweet sorghum cane grown at Agricenter (it’s taller than corn but is processed like sugar cane) Delta Biorenewables can make about 200 gallons of syrup and 2 tons of bedding. Drought tolerant sweet sorghum is a heritage crop. In 1890,it was grown in 44 states to produce 25 million gallons of table sweetener, but  has been all but forgottensince being replaced by the refined white sugar industry around 1900.