Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Central PA news and events

 Something to look forward to, something to report, and something to mourn....

1. On September 8th and 9th, Fletcher Harper, executive director of GreenFaith, will be visiting State College to conduct a workshop on "Caring for Creation: an Introduction for Members of All Faith Communities".   I've had many opportunities to interact with Fletcher over my year as a GreenFaith Fellow and I can strongly recommend his presentation - which I expect will be both inspiring, challenging, and hopeful.

The workshop is from 2 - 5 p.m., Saturday September 8th, at the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center on the Penn State campus, and Fletcher will then give an after-dinner keynote address at 7:30 p.m. that day.  (There are also other events planned, including an opportunity for local faith leaders to meet with Fletcher over a meal... if you want to know more about this, shoot me an email.  Here is a Facebook invitation to the main event.) 

2. I was privileged to share lunch yesterday with Penn State biology professor Chris Uhl.  I've long been aware of Chris' occasional columns in our local newspaper, the Centre Daily Times, focusing on "developing ecological consciousness" (which is also the title of his first book).  He's been active in teaching ecology to generations of Penn State students and in the "Green Destiny" initiative early in the 2000s which laid the foundations for the university's sustainability focus.  It was a great encouragement for me to talk with someone who has been thinking for years about questions which seem only recently to have surfaced for me.

3. Near where I live in State College, 154 agricultural acres (mostly cornfields) are completely surrounded by residential development.  The Circleville Farm land once belonged to Penn State and is a reminder of its original agricultural mission as the "Farmers' High School".  But a few years back the university decided that the land was surplus to requirements and it was sold to a developer for a reported $2.9 million. Since then, every time I run through the cornfield in the early morning dew, I wonder whether I will see these growing things again...

 Last month the newspaper reported that "earth-moving is likely to begin" and this morning, as I am running through, I see that the trucks, mowers and chainsaws are at work.  At the end of the trail I pause for a photograph, to mourn the standing corn.

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