News & Updates

Honoring the Headwaters: 10 Years of Sustainability Leadership Semester

Since the SLS began in 2012, this immersive, residential semester uses water as a tool and gateway to broader discussions about how students can influence the holistic health of communities. This fall, we celebrate ten years of transformational learning and leadership by Honoring the Headwaters: 10 Years of SLS.

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Mary Linton: A Key Thread in Merry Lea History

Mary Linton, a former Goshen College biology professor from 1989-2002, established a bridge between Goshen College and Merry Lea that still exists today. Linton was the first Lindsey Fellow as it appears today and was a conduit for immersing undergraduate students in Merry Lea’s habitats to appreciate the intrinsic value of nature. We pay tribute to Mary Linton’s impacts upon Merry Lea and her legacy.

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Hickory Scholar Project: Cattle Grazing and Prairie Burning

This research assess the potential for sustainably grazing domestic livestock on native prairie plants and the effects of burning on the ecosystem. Three students also conducted individual projects in relation to this research including arbuscular mycorrhiza fungi, insects and carbon sequestration.

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Summer Research: Salamanders

This pilot study focuses on four species of salamanders: Jefferson/blue-spotted complex (hybrids of the two species), spotted, small-mouthed and Eastern red-backed salamanders. The goal is to assess population dynamics and genetic diversity of these species at specific sites.

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Summer Research: Small Mammals

Tasha studied the population dynamics and habitat use of small mammals, specifically northern short-tailed shrews, mice and meadow voles. Because very little research has been done on northern short-tailed shrews, Tasha focused primarily on this species to better understand their preferred habitats.

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Hickory Scholar Project: Blanding’s Turtles

Blanding’s turtles are Indiana state endangered semi-aquatic turtles that rely on multiple habitats for foraging, laying eggs and breeding. Liam and Tyler trapped and attached radio tags to four female and two male Blanding’s turtles to better understand their habitat usage and behavior in hopes of better protecting them.

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Hickory Scholar Project: Bird Banding and Point Counts

Both Mira and Ruby worked with Merry Lea staff and volunteers to band birds to contribute to a continent-wide project, and Mira conducted bird point counts at 34 sites across Merry Lea, surveying each site three times throughout the summer.

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The Return to Wetlands: Merry Lea’s First Restoration Project

Like much of the land found at Merry Lea, Onion Bottom is a restored wetland habitat. Its deep marsh and still pools of water provide homes for countless species such as waterfowl, turtles, bugs and plants. Though it’s a wetland, it did not resemble one when the Rieths acquired it decades ago. Read more to learn about the history of this land area and its restoration process.

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Sparrows Coming of Age

Learn more about the bird banding research conducted at Merry Lea: we will introduce you to two young birds banded at Merry Lea in past years in July.

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