Emory Report
September 24, 2007
Volume 60, Number 5

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September 24, 2007
Nurturing Emory’s natural environments

By Kelly Gray

There are many serene places on Emory’s campus — the reflective surroundings of Lullwater, the tranquility of Baker Woods, the prestigious setting of the Quad or the streaming creeks found around campus. While these places have taken shape over time, their preservation has been no mistake on the part of many at Emory.

Emory as Place is an initiative that educates students, staff and faculty about the natural environments on Emory’s campus and informs those audiences about their relationships with the history, cultures and values that have shaped, and continue to shape, Emory.

Through stories passed along verbally, with hands-on educational experiences and through service work, Emory as Place participants can discover Emory’s legacy and their place in it.

“We want people to know the rich history of what they see when walking on campus,” said Emory as Place leader Bobbi Patterson, a senior lecturer in the Department of Religion. “With this initiative, participants can also develop skills for sustaining Emory’s academic, ethical and service missions in relation to the natural world on this campus and beyond.”

The Emory as Place program has two goals: to provide educational opportunities for an experienced-based awareness of various places at Emory; and to help translate experiences and feelings of belonging to Emory into feelings of responsibility to help sustain the gifts of Emory’s people, natural settings, buildings and stories.

The Emory as Place program provides a consistent and ongoing process for experiencing, learning from and belonging to Emory’s core distinctiveness and missions through the inspiration of sustainable living.

Sponsored by the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, Emory as Place has working partnerships with professors Peggy Barlett and John Wegner; Facilities Management, Grounds and Maintenance; Friends of Emory Forest; Residential Life; Outdoor Emory; EcoSeac; a student advisory group and others. To get involved, contact Bobbi Patterson at 404-727-2541 or bpatter@learnlink.emory.edu.

Continued and future ‘place-making’

• Residence-based programs in which each hall will have responsibility for preserving a section of Emory’s campus and promote knowledge about that section of campus; similar to Adopt A Highway Maintenance Corporation programs.

• Continued organized woods walks to further educate members about the culture and nature of native and invasive plant life.

• Campus tours to specific locations on campus that educate and tell stories about culture, history, nature and Emory’s commitment to sustainability.

• Workshops to partner with elementary, middle and high schools about sustainability; particularly in neighborhoods with issues like polluted streams and air.

• Funding for grant applications to develop courses related to Emory as Place.

• New collaborations with universitywide groups sharing similar concerns including Friends of Emory Forest and the Transforming Community Project.