Sustainability at Culver

Conserve – Reduce – Educate


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Who knew a rain garden could have so many rocks? Pictures from the trenches..

After several days of working the soil, we made big progress today; installing hundreds of native plants in the prepared beds of Culver’s first rain garden.

To prepare the rain garden, we removed a couple of inches of sod and then worked in several yards of composted leave mulch and top soil, both by hand and with a garden tiller.  We added a river stone channel and a couple of check dams of glacial stone to help slow the water as it moves through the garden.

Once the beds were prepared we installed several hundred native plants, forbs (wildflowers), grasses and sedges.  These plants will perform a number of functions in the garden, primarily through their extensive root systems.  The plants will help filter the stormwater run off from the adjacent parking lot.

Finally we added a layer of shredded hardwood mulch on top to help hold the soil and conserve moisture while the plants get established.

Huge credit goes to John Henderson (CMA ’17), Harrison Harm (CMA ’17), and Reeves McKenney (CMA’17) who have been working on this project for the better part of a year.  Extra special credit goes to Chris Chandler (CMA’17) and Zain Khodr (CMA’17), both of whom contributed much needed labor with great attitudes during critical phases of the project.

Last bit of planting  and mulching tomorrow.  Looks like rain on Friday!!!


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Culver Academies’ First Rain Garden is Coming!

The work of CMA First Classmen Harrison Harm, John Henderson and Reeves McKenney is coming to fruition as construction began today on Culver’s first rain garden.  For their Service Leadership Practicum (senior service project) the three students wanted to do something to improve the health of Lake Maxinkuckee and decided to tackle this ambitious project.

Located adjacent to an asphalt parking lot at Culver’s Woodcraft camp, the rain garden will filter stormwater run off which currently drains directly to the lake.  This project would not be possible without the excellent support, advice and effort from Culver’s Grounds Department, particularly Dave Blalock.  Another critical supporter is the Marshall County Soil and Water Conservation District who is providing financial support for this project.  The students submitted a grant proposal to the SWCD which awarded monies through the Clean Water Indiana program.

Today’s work was to remove the turf grass sod from the area.  Check back at this blog throughout the week as we eventually will install more than 1,100 native plants provided by Cardno Native Plant Nursery.


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Culver Compost Initiative Expands!

In an effort to further reduce the waste Culver sends to the landfill, we are expanding our composting efforts.

As part of his Senior Leadership Practicum, Chima Ndukwe (CMA’17) along with Sean Kim (CMA’18) are pilot testing a rotating bin composter.  This device will be used to compost the food waste from Rubin Cafe as well as from other sources within the Roberts Hall of Science.

Culver has been composting food waste from the Dining Hall for more than 2 years.  Chima’s and Sean’s pilot project is a first step to expand composting to classroom buildings.

The slides below explain more about this exciting project.

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Green Week Continues with Trail Cleanup

Culver’s Green Life Club continued its effort to respect our community on Tuesday evening by collaborating with the campus Catholic youth group Teens in Christ on a clean up of the natural area between the campus and the Culver Town Park.  We collected more than a dozen bags of trash (and one mysterious blue orb) and had a great time doing it!

Check out the these smiling Green Lifers!


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Green Week Off to a Great Start!

Green Week at Culver is on a roll with multiple activities taking place today.

First, it was “Meatless Monday.”  Thanks to our superlative Dining Services staff, the community enjoyed three meals today where meat was not the main course.  With informative slides prepared by Nora Kline rotating on the large screens in the Dining Hall, we all had an opportunity to learn about the benefits of a vegetarian diet both for our planet and for ourselves.

Secondly, a crew of 9 students traveled to the Marshall County Recycle Depot where we were met by Depot Director Marianne Peters.  After a quick tour of this impressive facility, the students went to work on several projects.

Students applied a fresh coat of (green, of course) paint to the Depot reception area; sorted hundreds of pounds of batteries; policed the extensive grounds for wayward trash; and power-washed carts used for sorting material.

After all of this work, the Depot treated us to pizza!  A great day all around.  Check out the images below!


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Rain Barrels at the Recycle Depot

A great day today at the Marshall County Recycle Depot Open House.  The Depot provides valuable and and important recycling and sustainability services for our community.

Very proud of Culver Academies students Lauren Walker (CGA ’18), Charles Mahoney (CMA ’18), Della McDougal (CGA’18) and Miles Contreras Brown (CMA post-grad) for their creativity and effort to produce the two rain barrels pictured below which were raffled off during the Open House.  Thanks also to Fine Arts Master Instructor Bob Nowalk for his support of our students.