(Union City, Tennessee, August 10, 2023) — Discovery Park of America will cut the ribbon on the new Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion and greenhouses on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2023 at 11:30 a.m. Chelsea Rose, executive director of the Tennessee FFA Foundation, will join as special guest.
The event will also launch a new phase in the museum and heritage park’s commitment to agriculture and horticulture education. The first phase began in December 2020 with the opening of “AgriCulture: Innovating for Our Survival,” a $1 million exhibit that tells the story of farming innovation in the past, present—and especially—the future.
A member of the Farm Credit System and the primary sponsor of the education pavilion, Farm Credit Mid-America exists to secure the future of rural communities and agriculture as a leading provider of reliable, consistent credit and financial services to farmers, producers, agribusinesses and rural residents in Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio and Tennessee.
“Our association’s mission is to support young and beginning farmers and the communities where we live and work. We are excited to welcome visitors to the Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion at Discovery Park,” said Andrew Melton, regional vice president of agricultural lending at Farm Credit Mid-America. “We’re committed to supporting opportunities like these, which provide an interactive educational experience to a variety of guests—many of whom have no background in agriculture or horticulture.”
Organizations and individuals who give $100 or more by Friday, Aug. 18, 2023, will be included on the sponsorship wall at the Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion as a “Green Thumb” supporter. Gifts can be given in honor or memory of loved ones and can be made on Discovery Park’s website or by contacting Mary Nita Bondurant at email@example.com.
Discovery Park’s education department and others will be utilizing the Farm Credit Mid-America Education Pavilion to spotlight topics relating to the business of agriculture along with growing cycles, garden design, soil health and the basics of plant science. The area also includes two new greenhouses. One greenhouse will provide an opportunity for Discovery Park’s grounds team and volunteers to work with plants that will be used to enhance the park’s 50 acres of landscaping. An additional greenhouse has been designated for educational programs and hands-on experiences for children and adults.
“We’re working with educators at local primary and secondary schools and the University of Tennessee at Martin, as well as the Tennessee Master Gardeners program to develop learning opportunities in the new greenhouse and pavilion,” said Dr. Emalee Buttrey, Discovery Park’s director of education, programming and museum experience. “This new facility is the perfect addition to our existing Heritage Garden, USDA-NRCS pollinator and native shrub plots and row crop displays.”
The Discovery Park grounds crew and educators have been working for several years with USDA-NRCS biologist, Mike Hansbrough, to develop examples of plots that provide food and cover for pollinators and other wildlife. The pollinator plot is composed of over 20 native wildflowers and forbs, while the native shrub plot is mostly comprised of American Plum and False Indigo.
“Visitors to Discovery Park get to see these pollinators and shrubs providing valuable nectar sources for a wide variety of native pollinators and upland birds and other wildlife. I have watched lots of butterflies and bees use this plot in summer and songbirds using it in winter,” said Hansbrough. “Imagine what a difference it would make if every farm and every backyard had a plot like this. We’re grateful Discovery Park is helping tell this story.”