Curiosity Farms - Where curious kids grow

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Curiosity Farms

Where curious kids grow

Thanksgiving Point is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit garden, museum, and discovery campus located in Lehi, Utah. Donated in 1995 by Alan and Karen Ashton, Thanksgiving Point is a gathering place and gift to the community.

Dear Friends,

Thank you for helping us bring to life the mission of Thanksgiving Point.

Our mission is to bring the joy of learning and wonders of the natural world to life. As a nonprofit, our focus is to do that for the underprivileged kids in Utah. We believe that every kid counts and should have access to hands-on science learning. We do this by building and operating science and learning centers, welcoming kids to those centers, and using them for field trips, after-school programs, and outreach programs to areas with kids in need.

We’ve created science centers in paleontology, entomology, horticulture, and other areas of science. Our museums and learning centers are some of the very best in the country. Today, we are adding another world-leading learning center to Thanksgiving Point: Curiosity Farms.

Curiosity Farms will bring the science of farming, food production, water conservation, urban farming, animal science, and other key elements of our changing agricultural landscape to life. The new seven-acre farm and learning center will be the most attended working farm in Utah.

Kids who visit and volunteer at Curiosity Farms will learn about the advances in genetic sciences, veterinary care, hatchery science, and other advances in animal welfare and management.

Several high-tech indoor grow pods, greenhouses, and experimental gardens will introduce the newest concepts in water conservation and innovative urban farming. Kids in our Jr. Master Gardeners program will manage many aspects of the urban farm.

The project site design was created by noted designer Jon Stefansson and FFKR Architects. Stefansson Design is a world-renowned design firm that creates one-of-kind experiences in zoos, ecological conservation areas, and education centers. The innovative design optimizes flow for guests’ enjoyment, maximizes learning, and focuses on animal welfare.

Construction projects in Curiosity Farms include a new entrance building, a veterinary care and science center, a milking center, and an egg hatchery. The buildings will be LEED-certified in our continued efforts to support environmental sustainability. Their designs are modern and efficient and help beautify our community.

Split Rock Studios, one of the foremost experts in interactive design, is designing our learning centers, experiences, and exhibits for guests. They will help design over 20 learning and engagement exhibits for hands-on participation and learning. The farm will include interactions with cattle, horses, ponies, donkeys, chickens, turkeys, goats, sheep, pigs, and more.

Please join us in creating a space where kids will learn where their food comes from, become curious about natural world sciences, and develop a greater appreciation for farmers and all they do to support our world.

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Animal Science

As climates across the world change, farmers have adapted— as have the animals. Kids will visit Curiosity Farms and learn about the incredible genetic sciences that help produce better yields and quality meats. They’ll see selective breeding in our pens and help our veterinarians care for the animals, learning about how people, plants, animals, soil, and climate are all connected.

Future of Farm Management

Farmers were the original innovators and continue to innovate technologies and methods that make growing more efficient and effective in the face of global change. Whether that’s using small drones to pollinate crops or putting smartwatches on cows that can detect diseases and track their location, Thanksgiving Point will create more informed consumers and farm advocates.

Why Curiosity Farms?

Curiosity Farms will be built with one goal in mind—to bring the science of farming and food production to life. It’s about more than learning about the old ways of farming. It’s about changing the agricultural industry and giving kids the skills to become the problem solvers of tomorrow.

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Think Like a Farmer

Farming is a business, a science, and a community. Curiosity Farms’ new year-round greenhouses and grow pods will allow kids and teens to join clubs that teach about purchasing seeds, managing crops, preparing foods, and selling to consumers. Every field trip, birthday party, and individual guest should be inspired to get dirt under their nails and have a better understanding of who a farmer is.

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Food Production

Several high-tech grow pods in 40-foot shipping containers, greenhouses, experimental gardens, and more will take food production to the next level. Kids can learn all about how to improve production in sustainable, healthy ways while also providing fresh foods to those in Utah suffering from hunger.

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Curiosity Farms Attractions

1 Curiosity Farms

Naming Rights: $7,000,000

2 Milk Matters

Naming Rights: $2,000,000

3 Eggs to Life & Hatchery Science

Naming Rights: $2,000,000

4 Become a Veterinarian

Naming Rights: $500,000

5 All About Horses

Naming Rights: $2,000,000

6 The Urban Farm

Naming Rights: $1,500,000

7 Play on the Farm

Naming Rights: $500,000

8 Curiosity Pavilion

Naming Rights: $1,000,000

9 Pigs, Pigs, and More Pigs

Naming Rights: $500,000

10 Animal Palooza

Naming Rights: $1,000,000

Reserved

When Kids Get Curious... They Grow!

Have you ever handed a new toy to a one-year-old? They hold, twist, and examine it from all angles. They taste, shake, and feel it. These impulses are a child’s instinct to be curious. This is why a three-year old asks so many questions. We are all, from an early age, designed to be curious.

Did you know? Research has shown that curiosity helps us remember, encourages us to learn, and fills us with pleasant encounters. Curiosity is the key to learning and helps us:

• Have more joy and emotional strength

• Develop better memory, recall, and mental strength

• Grow intrinsic motivation to learn and explore

• Pursue a career in science or technology

That’s why an afternoon trip to a discovery center like Curiosity Farms does more for your child than you think.

Thanksgiving Point educators are trained to foster kids’ curiosity muscles as they help kids deal with ambiguity, explore, and embrace uncertainty. This free-choice, hands-on learning is in fact, scientific discovery. Curious kids really are scientists.

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Recent studies done by Thanksgiving Point researchers with the State of Utah confirm that visits to museums, farms, and gardens strengthen family relationships, result in higher educational attainment, reduce substance abuse, and build empathy and appreciation for nature and diverse people.

Every Kid Counts

Unfortunately, it’s no surprise that children in the highest-poverty schools have:

• Significantly less access to science labs and equipment

• Less hands-on learning

• Teachers with little or no access to hands-on teaching materials

• Lower STEM literacy

Our goal is to bring hands-on science learning to the lives of economically disadvantaged kids in Utah.

What do we do?

Kids with families on SNAP or WIC benefits, or who engage with one of our 30 nonprofit partners in Utah, can visit any one of our discovery centers for free. Whether it’s Autism Night at the Museum of Natural Curiosity or White Cane Night at Luminaria, we bring the natural world to life for all kids.

We know that before the age of eight, girls are significantly less likely to be exposed to science. That’s why we offer programs like Girls Who Code and Girls in STEM. We provide as many scholarships as possible to those who need it most.

Each year, Thanksgiving Point educators visit classrooms across Utah, bringing hands-on science learning to our kids. We welcome thousands of students for field trips and provide free teacher trainings, online lessons, and needed materials for hands-on science teaching. We take hands-on learning to local community centers and underserved areas of the state. Our vision is to grow our satellite centers in the most-needed areas of Utah.

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Why Farming? Why Science?

Research shows that kids who engage in science improve their overall literacy. Why? Science and hands-on learning foster communication with others. Kids do this by posing questions, processing, analyzing, solving, and communicating what they discover. Expanding a child’s vocabulary to include scientific words and terms creates a level of self-confidence in future science learning.

In a child’s early years, the process of learning is more important than the results. That’s why we focus on hands-on learning. In a recent study, 64 percent of adults said the type of learning that helped them most in science was hands-on learning.

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Raising Kids and Animals

Learning about animals is one thing – but getting into pens, brushing a horse’s mane, riding a pony, or caring for baby chicks is another. Hands-on, interactive animal encounters will build lifelong skills in new and creative ways.

Up Close with Animals Helps Kids

• Make connections and build empathy

• Learn about diets, habitats, and the jobs animals have on the farm

• Help farm-hands with chores, like brushing hair, trimming hooves, and feeding babies

• Ride a pony, milk a cow, and get your hands dirty with the pigs

Multisensory Experiences Help Us

• See, touch, hear, and interact with animals in many different ways

• Discover how animals connect with each other

• View animals from different perspectives to further understand their uniqueness and value

Animal Science, One Step Further

• Learn about animal habitat design and how it impacts animal behavior

• Engage in challenges, like developing and building animal feeders that invite goats, sheep, or chickens to be more active in getting their food

• Learn about veterinarian care, like shoeing a horse or delivering a newborn

• Understand animal life cycles through experiences like the chick hatchery, or by delving into animal genetics

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Milk Production and Genetics

Most kids, and some adults, don’t know how milk arrives at the refrigerator in the grocery store. They may know milk comes from cows, but do they know:

• What type of cows generates the milk we drink?

• How those cows are bred and cared for?

• What diet results in optimal milk production?

• What science is used to automate milking?

• What is pasteurization?

• How is milk made safe for humans?

• Does chocolate milk really come from brown cows?

We want kids to meet cows up close, feel their coarse hair, and hear them moo. Milk the cows by hand, compare hand milking to automated methods, discover the science behind breeding and genetics, understand diet and nutrition for cows, feed and milk the cows, and so much more.

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THANKSGIVING POINT GrowPod photo courtesy of GP Solutions Inc.

Urban Farm

Kids are the farmers of the future. At Curiosity Farms, they’ll be able to use the latest and greatest farm science, learn about the future of farming, and develop their own methods and best practices.

High-Tech Grow Pods are indoor vertical farms that replace large tracts of land and excess water usage, providing a glimpse into the future of farming innovation and environmental consciousness.

• Produce and animal feed will grow in a pesticide-free zone—yielding eight crops annually, using five percent of the water compared to typical farming, and reducing the environmental footprint.

• Produce will be used in the farm-to-table Harvest Restaurant, at the farmers’ market, and in food pantries.

Junior Master Gardeners (Ages 12-17) are the farmers running the high-tech grow pods, becoming masters at food production, agricultural economics, and agricultural technology.

• Learn about the entire food production process – planting, cultivating, water management, finance, supply chains, biology, and more.

• Watch their efforts create lasting effects at Harvest Restaurant, the farmers’ market, and the food pantry. Ensure quality, adhere to regulations, negotiate supply and price, and work with customers.

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You Can Make a Difference

When you give to the Curiosity Farms capital campaign, your contribution does more than you may think. You’ll be creating:

• The most attended working farm in Utah, designed to help curious kids grow

• Learning and discovery centers for kids to explore the science of food, farms, and animal life

• Urban farming enclosures to grow feed for animals, veggies for farmers’ market, and life-skills for entrepreneurial kids

• Emotionally resilient kids with an affinity for science

• Once in a lifetime experiences, such as milking a cow or riding a pony

• Access for Title I kids who can learn at Curiosity Farms

• A gathering place for families where kids can get curious with their parents and guardians

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Capital Required: $25 million

Timeframe: 2022 & 2023

Construction begins in October 2022

• One hundred percent of the donations made to Farm Country will go toward building expenses, not overhead or operations. This is possible because tickets, concessions, and food sales cover Thanksgiving Point’s administrative and overhead expenses.

• Sponsor and name a building, exhibit, or animal enclosure. Give your organization a place to sponsor a sense of community, or give your family a chance to leave a lasting legacy.

• Match funds to provide a greater benefit. Generous donors have already pledged $2 million in 2:1 matching funds. So, for every $2,000 you give, another $1,000 is added, making your gift more powerful.

• Multi-year sponsors become a part of the Thanksgiving Point Curiosity Club, where you receive transferable memberships, a free exclusive night in one of our discovery centers, employee night at Luminaria, and other benefits.

To learn more, please contact Brent Lange, Chief Development Officer at blange@thanksgivingpoint.org or by calling 801-768-7433.

Key Partnerships

Curiosity Farms doesn’t happen without partners who also want to help curious kids grow. Come join us as we work together to help our community and kids in Utah grow on our working farm.

We invite you to come join our key partners and Curiosity Club members making a difference at Thanksgiving Point

Adobe

Ashton Family Foundation

Barbara Barrington Jones Family Foundation

dōTERRA

Joe & Kathleen Sorenson Legacy Foundation

Joan and Tim Fenton Family Foundation

Kahlert Foundation

Larry H. and Gail Miller Family Foundation

Lehi City

Mountain America Credit Union

NuSkin

Oakdell Farms

Sorenson Legacy Foundation

The Gardner Company

US Synthetic

Zions Bank

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