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sorghum evaporator

Campus Farm Enhances Liberal Arts Education

It’s the sorghum season at Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College and two Goshen College students stand at the sorghum evaporator skimming foam off of a vivid green liquid.

Miguel Rodrigez, a junior history major, and Erica Ewing, a freshman considering both history and sustainability studies, are both early for a field trip with their Food History course. The group is touring the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm today.

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Walking Stick Commemorates 20 Years of Leadership

The Merry Lea Team celebrated Luke Gascho’s 20 years of leadership as executive director at a September staff meeting and surprised him with two gifts. Thanks to careful planning, the team managed to keep their astute and emotionally intelligent leader clueless until the right moment.

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Merry Lea Remembers Mark Eisfelder

Merry Lea lost a valuable ally and trusted friend on September 13 when Mark Eisfelder, age 57, died unexpectedly following a heart attack. Mark worked for Zehr Construction for 36 years, and in his role as a carpenter and foreman, frequently worked at Merry Lea during the past 19 years.

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Ruth milking

Farm Now Fully Staffed with Livestock

Animals are part of all natural systems. On a farm, they provide not only meat, milk or wool; they also reduce off-farm inputs by contributing their waste to the nutrient cycle. In educational settings like the Merry Lea Sustainable Farm, they enable students to learn animal husbandry. For all these reasons, a full barn is something to celebrate.

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A Striking Encounter Rewards Years of Research

The cornfield looked like any other cornfield in Northwestern Illinois. But the group tramping across it was an extraordinary combination of people…

“I wish I could do those three days all over again,” Dave Ostergren says about the week he dropped everything to walk in the woods and visit burial mounds in the rolling hills near Galena, Ill.

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Kinderforest: New Explorers Discover Merry Lea’s Trails

Jodi Jordan, a kindergarden teacher at Wolf Lake Elementary School is prepared to spend time in the woods. Maybe even roll in the mud. She’s been through several days of Kinderforest training and practice at Merry Lea, she’s got her Frog Toggs® and she’s got a boatload of enthusiasm.

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Larry Yoder and Melissa Kinsey

ASI Bids Farewell to Two Long-Term Faculty

The 2017 Agroecology Summer Intensive (ASI) was the last year for two faculty members who have served the program since its inception in 2006. Larry Yoder and Melissa Kinsey were honored for their contributions at the concluding celebration of the 2017 ASI in early August.

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Ostergren Article on Climate Change Makes NASA website

Merry Lea’s Dr. Dave Ostergren is a co-author of a paper on climate change which recently turned up on a NASA webpage.

The article is entitled, “Promoting climate justice in high-income countries: lessons from African American communities on the Chesapeake Bay,” and appeared in a July 2017 issue of the journal, Climatic Change. It examines opportunities for increasing justice for communities likely to suffer most from climate change. 

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Jess Raffel giving a presentation on weed management.

Agroecology Students Share Research–On the Spot

Students in Merry Lea’s Agroecology Summer Intensive not only learn to grow things; they also work at communicating their learnings to others. In late July, they presented projects on topics such as composting, weed management and pastured chickens in a public forum open to community members. 

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The Merry Lea Mission

  • 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
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