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Ford announces $16 million partnership with Univ. of Tennessee for conservation and education in West Tennessee

In addition to stream restoration efforts, the investment will support hands-on STEM education and 4-H Youth Development.
Credit: UT Institute of Agriculture
Lake at the University of Tennessee’s Lone Oaks Farm

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As part of the BlueOval City megasite in West Tennessee, Ford Motor Company said Friday that it will invest more than $16 million in the restoration of streams and wetlands on Lone Oaks Farm in Hardeman County.

Lone Oaks Farm is part of University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture. 

The announcement was made at the 2022 Memphis International Auto Show. The agreement will drive economic development, education and conservation across the Mid-South.

During a panel discussion Friday morning, it was revealed that this project will restore and provide community access to approximately two miles of severely impaired streams and several acres of wetlands along Cub Creek, 40 miles southeast of BlueOval City in Middleton, Tennessee. In addition to the restoration efforts, the investment will support hands-on STEM education and 4-H Youth Development at Loan Oaks.

UT Extension is developing Lone Oaks, a 1,200-acre facility, into a world-class 4-H and STEM (science, technology, education, and math) Education Center in Middleton. Lone Oaks is located 45 minutes east of Memphis and is close to Ford’s BlueOval City. 

UT said, education programs at Lone Oaks already serve about 5,000 K-12 students each year.  The new facility will allow the program to continue growing and offer overnight STEM programs and camps.

“Every year, UTIA provides valuable life skills as well as STEM education opportunities to nearly 112,000 students across Tennessee,” said UT President Randy Boyd.

The size of the BlueOval City project required Ford to invest in a significant stream restoration project, and the UT Institute of Agriculture was prepared to meet this need through a restoration project at Lone Oaks Farm.

“At Ford, our goal is to create a positive impact on people and the planet. We’re proud to enter into this innovative partnership with the University of Tennessee that will help restore and protect the streams and wetlands at the Lone Oaks Farm and create educational opportunities that will inspire and benefit future generations,” said Bob Holycross, vice president of sustainability, environment and safety engineering at Ford.

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