Merry Lea Coordinator for Residential Programs & Environmental Educator
- B.S. Environmental Science, Juniata College, 2008
- M.A. Environmental Education, Goshen College, 2012
- Merry Lea - Rieth Village
Hi! I have come to Goshen as a transplant from central Pennsylvania. I grew up in the Bald Eagle Valley where I attended Bald Eagle Area High School. I went on to major in Environmental Science at Juniata College in Huntingdon, PA. The year after graduating, I served in AmeriCorps, leading the Community Service Office at Juniata. It was in this position that I discovered my dual passions for education and the environment. This prompted me to seek out masters degrees in environmental education, and it was the MAEE that Goshen College offers that drew me here.
After completing the MAEE program, I was fortunate enough to get a job at GC’s 1189-acre field station and nature preserve, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center! I greatly enjoy working in our LEED-Platinum facility called Rieth Village, where I coordinate student life and various educational pieces for students during May Term courses, the Agroecology Summer Intensive, and the Sustainability Leadership Semester. I also get a lot of energy through teaching school children who come to Merry Lea on field trips, especially students in PROWL – our after-school program for Central Noble Schools.
Of course, my work here is only part of my life! I am married to my best friend, Amy, with whom I have three beautiful children – a couple humans named Felicity and Rowan, and a shelter doggie named Lexie. Canoeing, hiking, cooking, and listening to music all bring me remarkable peace in different, beautiful ways. Ice hockey and soccer are my sports of choice. I enjoy spending summer Saturdays at the Whitley County Farmers Market, where I help staff the Hospitality Tent that supports customers and vendors. Finally, I am privileged to serve God and the kids at Community of Hope in Columbia City, Indiana.
Meitzner-Yoder, L. S., Hartzell, T., Schramm, J. W., Zinn, L. (2013) Building and Boarding a Bigger Boat Together: Learning about sustainability through direct encounters with diverse people in our watershed. Journal of Sustainability Education. 5: ISSN 2151-7452.
Professional Conference Presentations
2019, November. How to Succeed at Outdoor Learning without Really Trying. Co-presented with Dr. Lisa Zinn, Northern Vermont University. National Learning Communities Conference. Indianapolis, IN.
2019, November. Integration to the Max: Reporting from the Happy Meadow. National Learning Communities Conference. Indianapolis, IN.
2019, October. Kinderforest! …and other outcomes of local partnership. North American Association of Environmental Education Conference. Lexington, KY.
2019, March. Kinderforest! …and other outcomes of local partnership. Pennsylvania Environmental Education Association Conference. Philadelphia, PA.
2017, March. Who the Heck are You? A communication and marketing workshop for environmental educators. Pennsylvania Environmental Education Association Conference. Sandy Lake, PA.
Invited Speaking Engagements
2020, March. Who Would Ever Move to Indiana? Discovering Place and Purpose in the Midwest. Taylor University environmental ethics class. Upland, IN.
2019, September. Creation: Humility and Joy. Co-led with Merry Lea colleague Jennifer Schrock. Rockway Mennonite Collegiate spiritual emphasis week. Kitchener, ON, Canada.
2018, April. Trees, Birds, and Poop: How three verses in Deuteronomy changed my thinking on Creation Care. Lancaster Mennonite School chapel. Lancaster, PA.
A weekend conference and retreat designed for regional undergraduate students or are – or seek to be – sustainability leaders on their campus, highlighting the connections between faith and sustainability.
- 2022, February.
- Theme: Sustaining the Self
- Key verse: Lamentations 3:21
- Core Presenters: Sara Gurulé (Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary), Eva Monhaut (Indiana University), and Dr. Debbie Kasper (Hiram College)
- Goshen College Record article
- 2020, February.
- Theme: Education
- Key verses: Proverbs 4:13 & 9:9
- Keynote Speaker: Karl Duchmann, Jr., Hoosier Environmental Council
- 2019, February.
- Theme: Urban/Rural Sustainability
- Key Verse: Hebrews 3:4
- Keynote Speaker: Pastor Jonthan Brooks, Canaan Community Church.
- 2018, February.
- Theme: Leadership
- Key Verse: Philippians 4:13
- Keynote Speaker: Tom Hartzell, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College.
- 2017, February.
- Theme: Justice
- Key Verse: Amos 5:24
- Keynote Speaker: Katerina Friesen
- 2016, February.
- Theme: Spaces and Places
- Core Text: Beyond Homelessness, Chapter 2: “The Meaning of Home”, by Stephen Bouma-Prediger.
- Keynote Speaker: Dr. Stephen Bouma-Prediger, Hope College.
- 2015, February.
- Theme: Christian Economics
- Core Text: The Use of Money, Sermon no. 44, by John Wesley.
- Keynote Speakers: Rachel Lamb, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action; Rev. Brian Sauder, Faith in Place.
- 2013, November.
- Theme: Food
- Keynote Speaker: Dr. Luke Gascho, Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College.