Conard Environmental Research Area Celebrates 40 Years
On Saturday, September 20, 2008, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of Grinnell's 365-acre biological field station.
Since its purchase in 1968, CERA has been an exceptional resource for engaging students in environmental inquiry, providing inspiration and raw materials for artistic expression, teaching students of all ages about the history and character of our past, present, and future landscape, and serving as a model for land preservation and restoration.
For some alumni, like Chuck McCauley, who attended Grinnell during the first few years of CERA, "CERA was an area that offered some solitude and reflection...Just the time at CERA put my feet back on the ground and gave me direction." For Phyllis Salyards '70, CERA was a place to study woodpecker behavior in an animal ecology class. And for Sarah Baughman '01, who worked full-time at CERA during the summer of 2001, "The prairie opened my eyes to conservation issues that still motivate me to work towards positive change today." We invited friends, family, alumni, and community members to help us commemorate this special place and honor the people who envisioned such a place for learning and reflection.
The celebration included a short program with remarks from President Osgood, a brief history of CERA, and a question and answer panel with some of CERA's past and present stewards. Restoration, research, art, outreach activities, and alumni memories and photos were highlighted in several displays. Visitors could tour our award-winning Environmental Education Center, learn about its energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly design, view our 50 kW wind turbine, and participate in guided tours of the surrounding landscape.