CU’s Clay Hill Memorial Forest is in National Magazine

Dr. Gordon Weddle, right, director of Clay Hill Memorial Forest, walks through the forest with Dr. Matthew Sleeth in November 2009. (Campbellsville University Photo by Bayarmagnai "Max" Nergui

Dr. Gordon Weddle, right, director of Clay Hill Memorial Forest, walks through the forest with Dr. Matthew Sleeth in November 2009. (Campbellsville University Photo by Bayarmagnai “Max” Nergui)


Feb. 17, 2010

For Immediate Release



By Joan C. McKinney, news and publications coordinator

CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Campbellsville University’s 158-acre Clay Hill Memorial Forest initiative is one of 52 Christian colleges/universities featured in a magazine being released today by “Renewal,” a student-led, Christian environmental group.

“Renewal: Students Caring for Creation,” released the “Green Awakenings Campus Report” today chronicling stewardship and environmental initiatives on the 52 campuses across the United States and Canada.

Dr. Gordon Weddle, professor of biology who serves as director of Clay Hill Memorial Forest, said, “It is especially gratifying when students exceed the expectations you set for them.  Our growing group of environmentally conscious students has exceeded expectation and have made teaching a profession of privilege.

“I am honored to be associated with students who, with others like them, hold our best hope.”

CHMF is a woodland that manages as a regional center for environmental education. Over 25,000 local elementary, middle and high school students have visited CHMF on field trips since it was donated to Campbellsville University in 1995.

Clay Hill is being used to promote environmental education on all levels and serves as an on-site teaching center and outdoor learning laboratory for K-12 students and teachers, university scholars, scientists, researchers, government agencies, community leaders and faculty members. The forest is providing research opportunities for many from university students to research scientists.

The report reflects other sustainability and earth stewardship initiatives going on at Campbellsville University.

The Clay Hill Memorial Forest was recognized as a nature preserve and environmental resource center by the Environmental Quality Commission Earth Day 2001 Award, which was presented to Weddle.

The report is a project of Renewal, a growing movement of young Christians dedicated to caring for God’s creation through mobilizing and equipping their campuses to be better stewards of the environment.

“The student generation in particular is stepping up to care for God’s creation, but previously little was known about what this movement practically looked like on Christian campuses,” said Ben Lowe, Renewal’s co-coordinator.

“The Green Awakenings Campus Report demonstrates to the world what happens when Christian students and campuses come together to care for Creation. Our two-fold goal is to demonstrate to colleges, churches and communities how we are working together for the renewal of God’s creation, and inspire others to join us.”

Lowe said, for those unfamiliar with the student creation care movement, the idea of young Christians taking action on the environment may seem odd. However, a growing number of young people believe that Christians have a mandate to care for God’s creation, he said.

“As Christians, the students of Renewal seek to follow His example of love, stewardship and reconciliation. For us, this means taking care of everything that God so lovingly created — the earth and each other.

“We seek to care for the earth so that all of God’s people and creatures, as well as future generations, can have a healthy environment in which to live,” Lowe said.

Dr. Richie Kessler, associate professor of biology and environmental studies program coordinator, has worked with Lowe in submitting information.

Lowe will be speaking at Campbellsville University in the fall for the Kentucky Heartland Institute on Public Policy (KHIPP) Earth Stewardship event Nov. 9 and chapel Nov. 10. The KHIPP event is at 5 p.m. and chapel on Nov. 10 is at 10 a.m.

Dr. Matthew Sleeth, bestselling Christian author and speaker, who spoke at Campbellsville University KHIPP’s event in November 2009, said, “God promises great things for today’s emerging generation of leaders. These young adults are brave, resourceful, independent and creative. They are interested in important causes, and many aren’t waiting to graduate college to help out — they are taking action today to leave a better planet to future generations.

Sleeth said, “Through the work of Renewal’s student leaders, a growing number of Christian colleges and universities are, for the first time, thinking about what it means to care for God’s creation in the context of campus settings.”

Campbellsville University is one of 11 colleges and universities featured in the magazine from the southeast region of the United States. Others profiled in the southeast region include: Asbury College, Montreat College, Eastern Mennonite University, Lipscomb University, Liberty University, Palm Beach Atlantic University, Milligan College, John Brown University, Belmont University and Carson-Newman College.

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 3,006 students who represent 97 Kentucky counties, 30 states and 37 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2010 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 23rd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South, tied for fifth in “most international students” and fourth in “up-and-coming” schools in baccalaureate colleges in the South. CU has been ranked 17 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges® and to G.I. Jobs magazine as a Military Friendly School. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his 11th year as president.