Professor David Foster demonstrates how field photography can help to document species' presence in critical conservation areas, as in Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve, Lancaster County, Pa., where this photograph was taken.
Creation care (continued)
Professors Lindquist, Sheldon, and Foster integrate a commitment to environmental stewardship into the
curriculum at Messiah College. “I’m constantly reminding students that we need a sense of place,” says Lindquist. “We’re organisms ourselves, and we need to be considering how we impact the places we inhabit.”
In the courses he teaches at Messiah, Lindquist imports the principles of “triple bottom line” accounting to address responsible stewardship in all aspects of life. A phrase coined by John Elkington, co-founder of the business consultancy SustainAbility, triple bottom line accounting takes into consideration not simply economic success, but also social and environmental success. “You can be paying people a lot of money and yet be polluting soils and aquifers, and creating environmental distress,” says Lindquist. “What kind of legacy are you leaving?” Lindquist challenges his students to apply these principles to their Christian faith as well. “What is the Christian bottom line?” he asks. “In everything that we do, we should seek to reconcile, to restore, and to spread the gospel. If we tie in environmental stewardship, more people will listen to our message. I think this is a witness issue.”
In the classroom, Messiah students are involved in hands-on Creation care work. The Yellow Breeches Restoration Project, led by Foster and funded by a recent $40,000 grant the College received from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, is working to stabilize sections of creek bank that have eroded. The project will re-vegetate these areas with native plant species in order to help prevent further erosion, and it will also create a better habitat for fish and enhance areas used for recreation.
For this project, students in Foster’s and Lindquist’s Biology I lab classes collected preliminary data of plant and animal distribution in the stream. In the spring, Foster’s plant propagation class will start growing the plants that will be used to re-vegetate the creek banks. “We really have sensed that students want to do something now,” says Foster.
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