Merry Lea hosts winter hike on Jan. 13

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Merry Lea hosts winter hike on Jan. 13

WOLF LAKE, Ind. – Northern Indiana may not have the sunniest climate or the deepest canyon in the world, but it boasts an asset many locales lack: four seasons. On Saturday, Jan. 13, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College will launch the first of a series of hikes showcasing Indiana’s four seasons.

Persons wanting to join the January hike should dress warmly and meet at Merry Lea’s Learning Center site for a winter experience with Merry Lea’s program director, Dave Miller. “Winter-time in the woods can be pleasant,” Miller said. “It is quiet; there aren’t any mosquitoes and you can see things you won’t see any other season, such as tree growth patterns.”

Miller will lead the group past a variety of ecosystems including forest, prairie, wetlands, meadow and a temporary pond. At this time of year, hikers are likely to spot woodpeckers, chickadees, titmice, a deer or two and plenty of fat and fluffy squirrels. Miller will describe the survival strategies that enable these creatures to find food and survive winter weather. Those who enjoy photography may wish to bring their cameras.

A blanket of fresh snow will be an added bonus if the weather cooperates. Snowfall will give the group a chance to look for tracks in the snow such as those left by raccoon, mink and rabbit.

Miller will lead a spring hike on Saturday, May 14, following the same path. The spring hike will begin with photos shot during the winter hike for purposes of comparison. Dates for the summer and autumn hike will be announced in May.

Please register in advance by calling (260) 799-5869 or e-mailing The cost for the hike is $5 and can be paid on arrival.

Merry Lea is a 1,150-acre nature preserve located south of Wolf Lake in central Noble County. It is owned and operated by Goshen College. Merry Lea is known for its diversity of ecosystems and its quality educational programs. More than 7,000 school children visit each year.

To get to Merry Lea’s Learning Center, take U.S. 33 from either direction to Wolf Lake. On the south edge of Wolf Lake, take S.R.109 south about 1.5 mi to 350S. Turn right (west) on 350S and go 1.5 mi to 500W. Turn right (north) on 500W and travel 0.5 mi to the lane that leads to the Learning Center. Visitors from the Columbia City area can take SR 109 north to CR 350S, make a left turn (west on to 350S), and follow the above directions.

Editors: For more information about this release, to arrange an interview or request a photo, contact Goshen College News Bureau Director Jodi H. Beyeler at (574) 535-7572 or


Goshen College, established in 1894, is a residential Christian liberal arts college rooted in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition. The college’s Christ-centered core values – passionate learning, global citizenship, compassionate peacemaking and servant-leadership – prepare students as leaders for the church and world. Recognized for its unique Study-Service Term program, Goshen has earned citations of excellence in Barron’s Best Buys in Education, “Colleges of Distinction,” “Making a Difference College Guide” and U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” edition, which named Goshen a “least debt college.” Visit