Sustainability at Culver

Conserve – Reduce – Educate

Apples, Batteries and Climate Change… it’s as easy as A, B, C…

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The past 10 days have been an enlightening and rewarding time for sustainability at Culver.   When one has the opportunity to peer into our food future, as we did on a visit to Purdue’s Pomology Field Research Lab; or make a positive contribution to a community recycling program, as we did during a volunteer outing to the Marshall County Recycle Depot; or be inspired by our students and faculty after a community viewing of “An Inconvenient Sequel,” it is hard not to be optimistic about our future.

Certainly one could take the opposite view.  There are certainly many reasons to be pessimistic about the environmental arc of our planet.  However after witnessing a diverse combination of students and adults interact with one another, each of whom icommitted to living a sustainable life, I am more convinced than ever that optimism is not merely rosy thinking, but the clear path forward.

Let’s see if some images can shed some light.


Peter Hirst, Pomology Professor at Purdue and Dave Blalock, Culver’s Ground’s Supervisor, at Purdue Research Orchard


Gabby Woempner (CGA ’18) points to some new apple varieties on dwarf root stock, similar to what we will be planting at Culver

Building on the efforts of Katie Derwin (CGA ’17) and Linnea Karahalios (CGA ’17), Gabby Woempner is committed to bringing the Culver orchard to fruition.  (sorry).  Drawing on the expert advice and extensive knowledge of Prof, Peter Hirst of Purdue University, Gabby, Dave Blalock and Chris Kline spent a fascinating afternoon touring the research grounds of Purdue where new apple varieties are being cultivated.  We learned about planting techniques and strategies and discussed how we might best create a student run orchard at Culver.

apple variety

Each of these apples has the same parent, don’t ask me how.

paw paw

A Paw Paw orchard at Purdue, the Indiana banana!

On the way back to Culver from Purdue, we took the time to stop by one of our region’s most fascinating natural events, the daily migration of Sand Hill cranes to the Jasper Pulaski Wildlife area.  At its peak a little later this month every evening before sundown more than 15,000 Sand Hill cranes glide into the refuge.  About 6,000 birds were there when we stopped by.  The birds socialize and eat before returning to their roosts for the  evening.  If you live in the Region and have never seen this phenomena, you should. Check out this link for more information.

sand hill cranes

From the wonders of nature, we migrated to the detritus of humans.  However, the optimism remains as a core group of Culver Green Life students volunteered a few hours  of their time on a beautiful sunny afternoon at the Marshall County Recycle Depot.  We have written about this invaluable community resource before in this blog.  The Depot offers useful services to all Marshall County residents —  from collecting household hazardous waste, old electronics, tires and paint to providing valuable sustainability education services to the community.  The dedicated staff make sure materials are recycled or disposed of properly.  This image of the interior of the depot gives an indication of the sophistication of the operation.

recycle panarama

Interior panorama of Marshall County Recycle Depot

Culver students’ efforts focused on sorting the myriad of batteries collected at the depot.  We sorted the equivalent of a 55 gallon drum of batteries!  Many of which were generated from our own campus.  Way to go Green Life!

green life sorting

Isabel Ralphs, Apple Li, Elisa Huang, Marianne Peters (Depot Director) Goldie Blackson and Bob Fan get busy sorting batteries

Our week ended in a most rewarding fashion — with pizza and excellent, impassioned conversation about climate change and what our community can do about it.  Following a screening of “An Inconvenient Sequel,” more than 30 students, faculty and staff talked about ways we might do a better job bringing sustainable thinking to our community.  Great ideas from young and old centering on the core element of Culver’s mission — to educate students for leadership and responsible citizenship in society.   Look out Culver… we just might have a movement!


Students, faculty and staff discuss action steps following a screening of “An Inconvenient Sequel.”



One thought on “Apples, Batteries and Climate Change… it’s as easy as A, B, C…

  1. Love this and all you do to raise awareness about sustainability at Culver!


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