Tiger Take-Off




Campbellsville University celebrates 2024 Earth Day

By Gerard Flanagan, lead writer and communications specialist, Office of Marketing and Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Growing up in Casey County, Ky., Cordell Brooks, a sophomore from Hustonville, Ky., would often see every day as Earth Day, as he would take time to retreat into the hills and soak up the beauty of God’s creation.

Speaking at Campbellsville University’s annual Earth Day celebration recently, Brooks reminded the audience that, “When we look to creation, we see this beautiful and innate beauty that God has given all things.”

He read a poem by English poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins titled “Pied Beauty.” Brooks focused on the second to last line of Hopkins’ poem: “He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change.”

“I think just creation and Creation Day and Earth Day in general should point us to the lovely Creator with His loving kindness and His hope and His mercy that He gives us,” Brooks said. “…And I just want you to remember that He fathers-forth his beauty as past change.”

Brooks reminded those at the ceremony that God has given humans dominion over the Earth, but this dominion should not be abused.

Cordell Brooks reminded those gathered for CU’s Earth Day celebration that Earth Day should point us toward God.
Photo/Gerard Flanagan

“Rather, I think we should look to creation as something that points to a creator of such a beautiful creation,” Brooks said. “It shows just how beautiful God is, and it points to the glory that we’re going to have in heaven.”

CU President Dr. Joseph Hopkins thanked the various members of the CU community who emphasized creation care and environmental stewardship.

“For many of us, care for nature, community health, and life in general, whether plant, animal, or human is a spiritual matter,” he noted. “I am proud that the students and faculty of CU are dedicated to this purpose, and we stand with you to create positive change and responsible stewardship.”

Hopkins added, “Whether through the work of our Environmental Studies, general education, responsible management of operations, or the important work of Clay Hill Memorial Forest, CU is stepping up to make a difference, and we are thankful for those who gather today to express appreciation and support for this critical mission.”

Campbellsville Mayor Dennis Benningfield presented a proclamation from the City of Campbellsville and Taylor County Fiscal Court commending Campbellsville University for recognizing Earth Day and recognizing April 22 at Earth Day in Campbellsville and Taylor County.

Julio Perez, a junior from Valencia, Spain, who is serving as a research assistant at CU’s Clay Hill Memorial Forest, provided an update on Clay Hill Memorial Forest.

“Clay Hill is not only an example of a mature, hardwood, deciduous forest in South Central Kentucky, but it is an example of how we relate with nature when we love it, when we care for it, when we want to protect it from a threat,” Perez said.

Kayla Hamilton and McKenzie McGee with CU’s Green Minds Club provided an update on Green Minds. They noted Green Minds has been collecting plastic bottle caps to make plastic benches. The club has also conducted cleanup efforts at Green River.

CU President Dr. Joseph Hopkins noted CU is stepping up to make a difference when it comes to environmental stewardship and care.
Photo/Gerard Flanagan

The two George Howell Earth Stewardship Awards went to the Division of Natural Science for the creation of a digital herbarium and to the School of Education for environmental education resources.

The two George Howell Earth Stewardship Awards for students were presented to McKenzie McGee, a junior from Paris, Ky., for a painting titled “Under Their Own Fig Tree” and to Alexandra Polley, a junior from Campbellsville, Ky., for sustainable art lesson plans.

The George Howell Awards are given to two campus departments or organizations and two students who submit an idea promoting earth stewardship.

The Friend of Earth Stewardship Award went to Dr. Richie Kessler, professor of environmental science.

Winners for the CU Nature Photography are as follows:

Employee Division – 1st Place, Brett Pierce, assistant director of athletics communications and multimedia; 2nd Place, William Ritter, adjunct professor; 3rd Place, Courtney Hardin, reference and digital collections associate in CU’s Montgomery Library

Student Division – 1st Place, Trey Kissel, junior from London, Ky.; 2nd Place, Ashley Hunt, freshman from Campbellsville, Ky.; 3rd Place, Sierra Knapper, senior from Campbellsville, Ky.

People’s Choice Award Winners – Abdul Samad, graduate student from Dallas, Texas, and Ashley Hunt

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that offers over 100 programs including doctoral, master, bachelor, associate and certificate programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.