Merry Lea Makes a Splash

Merry Lea Makes a Splash

By Brandi Brubaker

Lisa Zinn, assistant professor of sustainability, navigates the fountain's waters in a canoe as part of a Merry Lea promotion event. Photo by Mandy Schlabach

If you walked out of the Westlawn Dining Hall on Monday, you probably saw someone canoeing…in the fountain. This was to draw attention to the fact that the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center is hosting a canoe trip over fall break, giving students the opportunity to canoe down the Elkhart River from Elkhart to Goshen.

Starting October 18 and running through October 20, participants will have the chance to speak with a local water expert, spend the night at the Elkhart environmental center and grow closer as a group.

“[It’s about] everyone getting together to get to know each other and have an introduction to what we are trying to accomplish,” said Tom Hartzell, coordinator for residential programs and environmental science educator at Merry Lea.

Hartzell has another experience planned for students as well. On the weekend of November 8, students can attend a sustainability summit, an experience meant to give a taste of the sustainability semester in residence that Goshen usually offers each semester.

“[I am] hoping it will be a fun and productive time of networking,” said Hartzell. “It will be made up of students and professors from regional colleges as well as Goshen College.” The summit will offer a number of lectures, workshops, a potential field trip and free time to explore Merry Lea.

With a theme of “How we can make food systems sustainable?” Hartzell hopes to focus on linking sustainability with faith. There will be an optional worship service available the Sunday of the summit.

Both of these experiences are occurring to help increase registration for Goshen College’s sustainability semester in residence (SSR), a part of the sustainability minor or the environmental science track. “I intend for this to be the last fall semester that GC will be without a sustainability semester in residence,” said Hartzell. The SSR is available to students of any major.

To register for the sustainability summit or the canoe trip, students can go to the Merry Lea website. There is a $30 registration fee for the summit, which can be waived if students write a one-page essay to apply for a scholarship. The scholarship is available to all students that apply.

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