Tiger Take-off




‘Then God looked over all he had made, and He saw that it was very good’: Campbellsville University celebrates Earth Day

Taylor County Judge/Executive Barry Smith, second from left, and Campbellsville Mayor Dennis Benningfield, third from left, jointly presented a proclamation recognizing Campbellsville University for celebrating Earth Day and Earth Week. Joining them were Kate Cecil, far left, president of Campbellsville University’s Student Government Association, and Dr. Joseph Hopkins, far right, president of the university. (Campbellsville University Photo by Leinner Corrales)

By Gerard Flanagan, news writer and photographer, Office of University Communications

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Members of the Campbellsville University community recently gathered on Stapp Lawn to commemorate the 53rd Earth Day.

“Earth Day has become one of the catalysts for the emphasis around our country and in America on environmental stewardship,” Dr. John Chowning, executive assistant to the president for government, community and constituent relations, explained.

Whether you call it environmental stewardship or creation care, Chowning said, “The emphasis is on preserving that which God has given us.”

In referencing the creation account from Genesis, Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University, asked if we could also think of the creation account as a creation lesson.

“I’ve heard it preached that he looked at humans and said, ‘This is very good,’” Hopkins said. “But if we look very carefully at what Scripture says, it said He looked at all that He had created, and it was very good.

“So, He said it was good. Humans come along, and He looks at all of it together, and He says it’s very good.”

Hopkins said God has given us an “incredible gift” in creation. He read from Psalm 24, which says, “The whole Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” He also shared Psalm 104:24: “O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”

“I think perhaps we miss the opportunity in that relationship to enjoy what God has given,” he said. “God gives us this opportunity to have joy in creation.”

Hopkins told the crowd he was recently on a Zoom call with a close mentor, who said during the conversation that their dog was being put down during the call.

Hopkins said, “He went a little into the conversation, and he said, ‘I just have to put this out there. Our dog is being put down during this meeting. I’m in another state, and my wife is with the dog at the vet, and our friend for 14 years is parting right now.’

“This gentleman I so revered was just bawling as he talked about that sweet little dog, a relationship we are permitted to have with creation.”

There are times when it’s appropriate to shed a tear when there is loss or destruction of creation, Hopkins noted.

Hopkins said, “We can shed that tear and know God is holding us accountable for what is around us. As we think about this Earth Day today, I encourage you to think about the relationship God has given us with those things around us.”

Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University, spoke about the relationship we have with nature during the university’s Earth Day ceremony. (Campbellsville University Photo by Leinner Corrales)

Campbellsville Mayor Dennis Benningfield and Taylor County Judge/Executive Barry Smith jointly presented a proclamation recognizing Campbellsville University for celebrating Earth Day and Earth Week.

Zoe Scott, a junior from Glasgow, Ky. and research assistant at the university’s Clay Hill Memorial Forest, gave an update on the forest.

Scott described her update on Clay Hill Memorial Forest at last year’s Earth Day ceremony as “somber” in light of a tornado that ravaged the forest in December 2021.

“Today, I’m happily giving you an update on the improvements that Clay Hill has made since those tornadoes and since that ceremony last year,” Scott said. “If you didn’t know, we have trails that are open now that the public can use and enjoy, and we’re seeing a lot of regrowth on those trails and around that area.”

Research is also being conducted on how the forest is recovering after the tornado, Scott said.

“We are identifying wildflowers because there is a large area of sunlight on the forest floor that’s now exposed,” she said. “So, a lot of wildflower growth is happening in those areas. And, research is also being conducted on how other plants and microbes are affected by extreme weather events like this. This research hasn’t been done before, so it’s groundbreaking.”

Miranda Peacock, vice president of the Green Minds Club at Campbellsville University, told the crowd the club has hosted various workshops “to show that things that normally go into the landfill can be repurposed for something useful and something that you can have.”

She said the Green Minds Club hopes to draw more attention to two of the R’s in reducing waste—reduce and reuse.

“That’s the main thing we have been focused on this semester,” she said.

Winners of the annual Campbellsville University Nature Photography Contest were recognized during the ceremony. According to Kate Cecil, president of the Student Government Association and senior from Louisa, Ky., 132 photos were submitted as part of the contest.

Winners in the student division are as follows: Leinner Corrales (first place), freshman from Herradura, Costa Rica; Adalee Ladwig (second place), sophomore from Waynesburg, Ky.; and Abdul Samad, graduate student from Dallas, Texas.

Winners in the employee division are as follows: Alexandria Dalton (first place), communications project manager in the Office of University Communications. Stevie Lowery, instructor in journalism, and Shaelyn Bishop, instructor in biology, both received second place.

The two George Howell Stewardship Student Awards were presented to Samuel Derrickson, senior from Paris, Ky., and Jay Sipes, freshman from Hickman, Ky., for their speech submission titled, “Nations Should Adopt a Carbon Tax,” and to Anoushka Lazarus Harrypersad, junior from Campbellsville, Ky., for her poem titled “Miss Environment,” which focused on how we require from the environment and how we sometimes lack in appreciation for our environment.

The two George Howell Stewardship Club Awards were presented to the Education Club and Alpha Rho Tau Art Club.

The Education Club, sponsored by Dr. Robin Magruder, associate professor of education and undergraduate chair, submitted a proposal to sponsor professional development workshops for current Campbellsville University elementary and middle school science educators using Environmental Education curriculum from the Kentucky Association of Environmental Educators.

As part of the proposal, participants will receive books and materials to use in their classrooms along with training, preparing them to take their students outdoors, which is key to increasing personal and civic responsibility related to the environment. The workshops will take place at Clay Hill Memorial Forest.

The Alpha Rho Tau Art Club, sponsored by Tori Christgen, assistant professor of art, submitted a proposal to turn recycled clothing into art and bags using natural dyes. The goal is to reduce textile waste and also air and water pollution.

At the end of the ceremony, a tree was dedicated. Rita Creason, Campbellsville University’s registrar, helped dedicate the tree.

“My husband, Larry, and I would like to donate the tree to the campus community, with the prayer it would be a thing of beauty that will honor God, and that many others would find it as their place to pray,” she said.

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.