MCCN Sponsor Profile:
Mennonite Creation Care Network exists with the help of two organizations that believe in it and want to work at creation care at the congregational level. One is Everence and the other is Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College. Merry Lea provides the salary for a half-time staff person for Mennonite Creation Care Network.
Merry Lea is an 1,189-acre nature preserve located in Northern Indiana. Lee and Mary Jane Rieth donated the property to Goshen College in 1980. The center is known for its unique and diverse and base, quality environmental education and a visionary emphasis on sustainable choices.
Most of the 17 current employees work in environmental education at levels ranging from preschool to graduate school. Team members have expertise in areas such as environmental education, ecology, land management, sustainable food systems and policy. We are not aware of another nature center affiliated with the Mennonite Church that is gifted with this combination of physical and human resources. Being embedded in a larger organization of this caliber strengthens MCCN as well.
One of the ways MCCN members can support Merry Lea—and environmental leadership within the Mennonite Church—is to recommend its programs to the high schoolers they know. Goshen College offers environmental science and three sustainability majors. Students in the sustainable food systems major and the sustainability studies major both spend a semester living and learning at Merry Lea. Other Mennonite colleges offer environmental programs as well.
Ways to connect with Merry Lea
- Considering a green building project? Learn about Merry Lea’s Rieth Village, Indiana’s first LEED-rated green facility to earn a platinum rating.
- Thinking about a land restoration project? See ecosystem restoration at Merry Lea.
- Passing through Northern Indiana? Merry Lea has 8 miles of hiking trails, open daily, dawn to dusk. MCCN members are invited to stop by.
- Earn a master’s degree in environmental education.