CU’s Clay Hill Memorial Forest Supporters Honored at Special Appreciation Event

CU’s Clay Hill Memorial Forest Supporters Honored at Special Appreciation Event
Campbellsville University’s Clay Hill Memorial Forest management honored sponsors and volunteers recently at a special event held on the grounds. This group toured the alternative energy center being developed. From left are: CU CU president Dr. Michael Carter and his wife Debbie; director of foundation relations, Emma Revis; representatives of E.ON U.S., corporate sponsor of the center, Jan Rose Coleman, Shiela Newcomb and Jackie Bennett; Dr. Gordon Weddle, Clay Hill director and CU professor of biology; CU vice president for development Benji Kelly; and Dr. Teresa Spurling, Assistant Professor of Education/Director of Student Teaching, and her husband Jimmie. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)

By Linda Waggener, assistant director of university communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University recognized corporate sponsors and volunteers who help to keep Clay Hill Memorial Forest (CHMF) growing with a donor appreciation event recently.

Special guests were Jan Rose Coleman, Shiela Newcomb and Jackie Bennett representing management of E.ON U.S. which has provided for the new alternative energy center and teacher sponsorship.

Coleman, manager of the business office in Louisville, said, “E.ON U.S. appreciates the opportunity to work with Campbellsville University to establish the Alternative Energy Center, a regional center for environmental education and research. Because our company is passionate in our commitment to be involved in the communities that we serve, we are honored and proud to play a part in making a difference in Campbellsville.”

Speaking for E.ON U.S., she said they are thankful for the appreciation and recognition that has been bestowed on them by Campbellsville University.

“We are especially humbled by the fact that our name, E.ON U.S., is attached to the center,” Coleman said.

Benji Kelly, vice president for development at CU, thanked E.ON U.S., the local electric utility, for having gifted $30,000 over the past three years for Clay Hill projects.

CHMF promotes conservation by increasing public awareness of the aesthetic, recreational and economic importance of forests and offers science training for teachers and children. The 158-acre educational and research woodland is being developed by Campbellsville University as a regional center for environmental education and research on eastern deciduous forests.

Dr. Michael V. Carter, CU president, stood under the pavilion overlooking the rolling green fields and said to those in attendance, “Campbellsville University is grateful for your sponsorship and volunteerism for this beautiful place, and proud to partner with you as we seek to be good stewards of God’s earth. I can’t think of a more Christian type of service than to help provide an education that promotes a clean and livable planet for the next generation.”

Clay Hill director Dr. Gordon K. Weddle, CU professor of biology, thanked everyone for investing in improvements at Clay Hill, who helped provide for the thousands of students who visit on school field trips. CHMF is managed by personnel from the department of biology in the Division of Natural Science of Campbellsville University.

Scouting groups can hike the trails at CHMF and take part in various weekend merit badge studies, Weddle said. Farmers and woodlot owners can come to CHMF for information on management strategies being used at the forest.

“Individuals are welcome to visit the forest for walks, nature study, recreation or renewal,” Carter said. “Clay Hill is one of the best kept secrets in the state.” Clay Hill Memorial Forest has over 5 miles of developed trails that vary in length from 1-3 miles and in grade from gentle to steep. The trails are clearly marked. A trail map can be downloaded at

CHMF includes four designated management areas, the Joan White Howell Nature Preserve and Environment Education Center, the Edwin L. White, Sr. Nature Preserve, the James Sanders Woodland Preserve, and the Dr. James Sanders White Forest Management Woodland.

For very young children, Clay Hill offers discovery walks guided by professional naturalists. Kids activities begin by visiting where you can see photos, read and even listen to frogs in the neighborhood.

CHMF is located eight miles northwest of Campbellsville in Taylor County and is open to the public year round in addition to providing educational institutions with an outdoor laboratory and teaching resource.

For more information, contact Weddle at (270) 789-5328 or by e-mail at

Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,405 students who represent 98 Kentucky counties, 25 states and 29 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South and eighth in the South for “Great Schools, Great Prices.” CU has been ranked 15 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his ninth year as president.

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