UT Extension Agent Shelly Barnes Receives the Charles and Julie Wharton Award 

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UT Institute of Agriculture Presents Top Faculty and Staff Awards for 2022 

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture recognized some of its top faculty, staff, researchers and Extension experts at UTIA’s annual Awards and Promotions luncheon on the UTIA campus in Knoxville August 16, 2022. Many of the awards are gifts made possible by faculty, alumni and friends of the Institute.  

UT Institute of Agriculture Senior Vice Chancellor and Senior Vice President Carrie Castille hosted the award winners and celebrated their work. “I am so excited to recognize excellence as exemplified by the award-winning members of our UTIA faculty and staff,” Castille says. “Their continuing commitment to our land-grant mission ensures that the Institute develops and delivers real-life solutions to improve the health and economy of our state and beyond while also enhancing our environment.” 

Shelly Barnes, UT Extension agent in Family and Consumer Sciences in Wilson County, is one of three statewide winners of the Charles and Julie Wharton Award for Outstanding Extension Achievements. Established by longtime supporters of the Institute of Agriculture Charles Wharton and his late wife Julie, and now supported by Charles and Lori Wharton, this award is presented to three UT Extension agents annually. These agents may conduct programs in any area, including agriculture and natural resources, family and consumer sciences, 4-H youth development, and economic and resource development. The other two winners are Tonya Bain, 4-H specialist for UT Extension’s Western Region, and Anthony Shelton, director and agricultural agent in Washington County. 

“I am thankful for this award and the recognition of my program efforts,” Barnes says. “Surrounding myself with good people has always been a way that I am able to accomplish so much and receive positive results. We work hard together, do big things and make measurable impact for our communities. I am incredibly grateful for my FCS coworkers, as well as my clients and program volunteers.” 

Barnes has worked for 16 years with UT Extension, all in Wilson County. She leads an active group of Family and Community Education Clubs, known for their community service projects. Deadly tornadoes hit middle Tennessee in March 2020, and her FCE groups made quilts for many people who suffered losses during that time, as well as victims of the Waverly floods of August 2021.  

Other innovative programs include chair yoga, healthy living for people with chronic conditions, and Barnes is active in planning events at the State Fair, now headquartered at the Wilson County Fairgrounds. Barnes has also been recognized in the past by the Governor’s office for her work with developmentally disabled adults at Prospect Inc., teaching them gardening and self-care skills. 

Through its land-grant mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. utia.tennessee.edu.  

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Brittany Decker

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