Life at Merry Lea

Setting

Live, study, explore, and teach on site in the outdoor classroom of Merry Lea: where you can walk through oak hickory forests, a pawpaw grove, or a restored prairie to class.

Most of the ecosystems found in Northeastern Indiana are present at Merry Lea. The 1,189-acre preserve is among the best-assembled land preserves in Indiana and contains a wonderful complex of wetlands, lakeshores, upland and lowland forests, prairies and meadows. Unique geological features such as peat bogs, a marl pit, and glacial gravel formations are also part of the landscape. The Merry Lea Sustainable Farm showcases strategies for growing food without harming surrounding ecosystems.

Classes are held mostly outdoors exploring the nature preserve. In the winter classes are held indoors, but several field trips throughout the year combine indoor meetings and outdoor tour experiences.

The program provides an immersion in natural history that will enable participants to share their knowledge and passion with society.

Student Cohorts

Live and learn with a small cohort of other passionate, aspiring educators. We typically have cohorts between 5 and 11 students. This allows for meaningful collaborations between students and staff, as well as individualized mentoring and advising from the faculty.

Students and applicants come from various educational and professional backgrounds. We have had students from 22-50 years old with backgrounds in environmental studies, biology, classroom teaching, and in the humanities like: psychology, religion, art history, and Latino studies. These diverse experiences enhance the dialogue and team-based learning within the cohort.

Housing

Housing is available for rent on site at Merry Lea. These houses are set along prairies, forests, or wetlands and have hiking trails nearby for you to explore!

We have three farmhouses that have been extensively renovated and provide basic amenities like cooking ware, dishes, furniture, and high speed WiFi. Depending on accommodations, the monthly rent is about $325 and includes utilities. Although renting a farmhouse requires that you share a living and kitchen space, each student will have their own bedroom.

Because graduate students are responsible for organizing their own housing during the program, some have rented or lived in Wolf Lake, Goshen, Fort Wayne, or other towns within a 30 to 45-minute commute.

Please reach out to Dave Ostergren if you have any questions. You can find faculty contact information below.

Teaching Faculty

Our faculty come from diverse backgrounds and fields, and teach various graduate and/or undergraduate courses throughout the year. Graduate students also receive mentoring and advising from our experienced faculty: a benefit from having a small cohort.

Please reach out to the Merry Lea team if you have any questions or would like to learn more.

David Ostergren

Director of Graduate Program in Environmental Education

Marcos Stoltzfus

Director of Environmental Education Outreach

Bill Minter

Director of Land Management; Associate Professor of Environmental Science

Joel Pontius

Director of the Sustainability Leadership Semester; Assistant Professor in the Sustainability and Environmental Education Department (SEED)

Jonathon Schramm

Associate Professor in the Sustainability and Environmental Education Department (SEED)

Schedule a Visit

Coming to campus and meeting with our faculty is a great way to know whether Merry Lea of Goshen College is a good fit for you. Fill out this form or reach out by phone or email if you would like to take the next step.