Merry Lea is a natural sanctuary located near Wolf Lake, Indiana. Management of the center is guided by a Christian theology of earthkeeping. Most of the habitats found in Northeastern Indiana are present at Merry Lea. Unique geological features such as peat bogs, a marl pit, and glacial gravel formations are also part of the landscape. Observable management practices include wetland, prairie, and savanna restorations, as well as sustainable agriculture. A vigorous educational program interprets the significant biological and geological features.
The Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College is dedicated to:
Providing a natural sanctuary for northern Indiana's plants and animals
Providing environmental education for people of all ages
Providing a setting for re-creating opportunities that benefit the human body and spirit while not exploiting the land or excessively disturbing its ecosystems
Merry Lea History
Merry Lea became the responsibility of Goshen College in 1980 through a gift from Lee and Mary Jane Rieth in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy. The Nature Conservancy acquires land throughout the world to preserve natural diversity. Similarly, the Nature Conservancy helped to guide the early development of Merry Lea as well.
Goshen College is a four-year undergraduate institution where students study liberal arts in a setting that has the teachings of Jesus as a central focus. Goshen College at Merry Lea is committed to development of a multifaceted environmental program that teaches about Christian stewardship of natural and human resources.
Those associated with the care, management, and ownership of Merry Lea recognize that we are accountable to God for our stewardship of resources in the same way we are accountable for other aspects of our lives. We recognize world environmental issues and their relationship to issues of justice in our neighborhood, region, or country.
We choose to address the issues of national and international scale by concentrating on the education and motivation of those who visit us. We will not be adversarial in our approaches to others, but visitors will be invited to make appropriate changes in their lives.
Our focus at Merry Lea is to look after the health of Merry Lea’s ecosystems, the quality of her educational programs, and the restorative properties of recreational experiences.
As we attend to the quality of our services and the efficiency with which we deliver them, we will also effectively teach stewardship of our earth. We will develop an appropriate physical plant, maintain a vigorous educational program, and develop broad-based, continuing financial support to carry out this mission.