Merry Lea to host conference on Sustainable Living

Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College will convene a conversation around this topic at its Autumn Hope Conference, Friday, October 7 through Sunday, October 9. The annual gathering blends time outdoors, faith-based reflection and workshops that enable participants to apply their learnings. This year’s event is entitled, “Just Footprints: Stepping Carefully in our creator’s World.”

Input begins with a free public lecture entitled, “A Faith Journey Encounters Sustainable Living,” by Luke Gascho, at 7 p.m. Friday. Gascho is the executive director at Merry Lea and a frequent speaker in the area of leadership and sustainability. The evening concludes with a night hike.

During Saturday morning’s hike, participants will explore the size of their ecological footprint is a measure of human demand on the earth’s services. It includes the land needed to grow food, mine metals and fossil fuels, produce other goods and services, and absorb wastes.

In the afternoon, breakout sessions cover some try-this-at-home suggestions for change. Topics addressed include:

* Landscaping to reduce your watershed impact and carbon footprint.

* Trimming your energy footprint on a budget.

* Living in right relationship with food . . . so that all may live well.

* Just sunlight: the simple living power source.

* Composting to reduce your waste footprint.

Saturday evening broadens the theme to include stories from other parts of the world. Dr. Laura Yoder, who recently joined Merry Lea’s faculty after years in East Asia will lead a discussion centered around case studies she has encountered broad. The weekend concludes Sunday with a worship service. Tina Schlabach, who pastors at Waterford Mennonite church, Goshen will speak.

The registration fee for the weekend is $125, which includes meals from Friday evening until Sunday brunch. More complete details and a registration form are available on Merry Lee’s website at Please register by October 3. A limited amount of lodging is available at Merry Lea for an additional $15 per night per person.

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