Conservation Leadership School

Upcoming high school juniors and seniors can make Merry Lea their home for a week this summer during Conservation Leadership School! Camp overnight and explore a world full of natural resources and conservation. Canoe across glacial lakes, plan and run a community nature event, and get a taste of careers like botany, land management or sustainable agriculture. Enjoy an educational and rejuvenating week at our beautiful 1,189 acre nature sanctuary with peers and professionals inspired by the natural world. 

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Nature Explorers #1: Wetland Wildlife (June)

Put on some boots or waders and find out what invertebrates are swimming and living in our wetland. Use microscopes to examine specimens and find out how these critters can be indicators of wetland health. Play a game of “Macroinvertebrate Mayhem” and go on a hike during this “wild”- life themed exploration

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Tales & Trails: June

Whatever you do, keep your coal! Join us at Merry Lea’s Glacial Retreat Center as we read What Can You Do With a Rock? by Pat Zietlow Miller. Afterwards, we will explore our rock pit and then take a closer look at some of Indiana’s rocks and minerals under a microscope!

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July ECHO Network

The words we use matter. What we do matters. Join us for a conversation with Bonnie Cretton (Woodsong Forest School, TN) about the importance of building rituals into education. Ritual practices help ease transitions, impart information, and create belonging with students and families that extend beyond the classroom boundaries and after graduation.

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Nature Explorers #2: Forces in the Forest (July)

How does a Cardinal use leverage? How does a hawk’s talon exert pressure? Explore forces like friction, breaking strength, levers, pushes and pulls. Find out how physics shows up in nature!

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Family Tea Party (Family Workshop)

It’s tea time at Merry Lea! Put on your favorite summer outfit and come join us for a morning tea party. Everyone will start by tasting herbal teas, select their favorite flavors and learn how to make a cup of tea with garden herbs. Next we will prepare fresh produce based finger foods. Then, adults will sit down so the children may take their order and serve them tea and refreshments. Don’t worry - everyone will have a chance to sip and nibble together at the end.

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Pickles! Adult Workshop

In a Pickle? It’s that time of the year where produce is beginning to roll in. Let’s make it last! Learn how to preserve crunchy, salty, vinegary veggies in jars. During this workshop we will do some taste testing and compare different methods for pickling, discuss what veggies (and flavor combinations) pickle well, and then process cucumbers to make refrigerator dill pickles to take home.

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Jr/Teen Indiana Master Naturalist Summer Day Camp

The IMN program features various nature topics for local youth to discover Indiana's outdoor world through hands-on activities, outdoor investigations, volunteering and learning from local experts across different career paths, interests and organizations.

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Tales & Trails: July

Have you seen any monarchs this summer? They are the big orange butterflies that we see flying along the ditches and visiting flowers. They lay their eggs on milkweed and the caterpillars eat the leaves. This month, come listen to Gail Gibbon’s Monarch Butterfly book and then examine some specimens before we go looking for the different stages of monarchs around Kesling Wetland.

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Nature Explorers #3: Farm Chemistry (August)

Use your taste buds to sample different plant-produced compounds like glucose, menthol, carotenoids, and others. Use cabbage to experiment with pH, and concoct (& taste!) your very own farm fizzy using farm fresh ingredients from the Merry Lea Teaching Farm.

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