To fulfill a need for a 4-H camp in Western Tennessee, the University of Tennessee and UT Institute of Agriculture’s UT Extension acquired Lone Oaks Farm in Middleton, Tennessee. The client commissioned a master plan that would incorporate the new camp into the rich tapestry of woodlands, open pasture, lakes, and streams of the farm. The new integrated vision for this campus will fulfill the Extension’s mission of Youth Education by additionally offering STEM education facilities and countless landscapes to thrill and instruct young people while cultivating a sense of stewardship and a love of the outdoors.
The master plan was the result of a deeply collaborative planning process, one that integrated several institutions, stakeholders, and experts. The Executive Review Team and Planning Committee included experts in biosystems, soils, 4-H, and horticulture, along with student voices. An important element of the planning process was the BioBlitz. This rapid biological assessment, supported by a number of students, and scientists from various universities, designers, and Lone Oaks staff, provided baseline data that informed the final master plan—the design responds to the ecology of the site while ensuring greater efficiency and agricultural vitality. The master plan also outlines a program for continued monitoring, allowing for more collaborative, hands-on educational opportunities for the students and a greater understanding of the balance between agriculture and a healthy ecology.
The development of youth education focused on STEM disciplines and connecting people to the land is critically important. Ambitious in its aim, the Lone Oaks Farm Master Plan creates an implementable vision that will satisfy this need for Western Tennessee—the camp will annually host upwards of 1,500 students in 4th through 12th grade from local and regional communities.
Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects; el dorado inc.; W.M. Whitaker & Associates