Call for Volunteer Bloggers!

Have you visited the Forestry Outreach Center, attended a recent event, or hiked the Pinnacles lately? Do you have a story to share about an experience in the Berea College Forest, past or present? Can you provide insight into the flora, fauna, or history of College Forest lands? If so, we invite you to consider volunteering to contribute to this website as a guest blogger! Submit your post, including a photo or two, if possible, to Wendy Warren at . We hope to be reading your story on this site very soon!  

by Jay Buckner

Why Inquiry-Based Learning?

by Wendy Warren

What questions did your family ask last week, as you went out and explored the natural world? How did you go about finding answers—and then going even deeper into the topic? As last week’s blog post shared, following your natural curiosity leads to some of the most authentic learning there is. Sometimes it takes a spark to rekindle curiosity that lives right at the surface of most children, but sometimes gets buried deep inside later in life.

Read more “Why Inquiry-Based Learning?”

Eco-brick Drop-in Workshop

Written by Julia Roberts, ’20
Ecobricks that Lucas assembled onto a wire frame to use as part of the compost bin he is making.

This past MLK Day, the Forestry Outreach Center hosted an Eco-Brick building workshop for community members and college students alike to attend. Led by one of the Center’s labor students, Lucas Collett, the workshop educated its participants on how to make Eco-bricks as well as their environmental relevance.

But, before we get ahead of ourselves…


What are Ecobricks?


Eco-Bricks, according to the Global Eco-Brick Alliance, are, essentially, building blocks made of plastic bottles which are packed with used, clean and dry plastic. The packing can be any form of soft plastic, broken-down hard plastics, and un-recyclable products, such as styrofoam or wire. Once packed, the bricks can be used in practically any form of construction: from a compost bin (such as the one Lucas is constructing for the Center) to a full-scale building! 

For more information on Eco-Bricks, check out the Global Ecobrick Alliance website here.

An example of ecobrick construction

About the Event:

Over 30 people from all corners of Madison County and Kentucky attended our Eco-Brick Drop-in Workshop. Whether you came to represent a local organization interested in using Eco-bricks or simply wanted to spend a fun afternoon with friends, all who participated had the opportunity to learn about the uses of and create their own Eco-bricks.

“I think the event went very, very well, better than I had hoped. So many people from the community, both Berea and elsewhere, came and stayed and seemed super interested. There were people of all age groups, just in groups…talking. I think that part of what makes eco-bricking so special, [is] it’s so accessible to all age groups and is a great community builder. Making the bricks is very chill and it encourages conversation.” – Lucas

Lucas talking about how to make ecobricks
The 60 bottles brought to or made at the workshop!

Why it’s important/what you can do:

Though you might not be constructing any full-scale buildings anytime soon, eco-bricks are still an extremely versatile building material! Further, as you begin to fill your bricks, you might have a better idea about your personal plastic consumption. Eco-bricks are a simple format to contain and productively reuse our plastic waste, and anyone and everyone can participate in this movement and help build awareness regarding individual plastic use!

“I think the best thing people could do to help the eco-brick movement is [to] make their own creations. Be it some small planters for a garden in their yard or large creations, anything visible will help. Additionally, being more conscientious about plastic and consumer usage.” – Lucas

Keep up with the Center on Facebook and Instagram to see when Lucas completes his compost bin!

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The Berea College Trace

by Chase Denny

The recently created Berea College Trace is self-described as the “thread that weaves together our history and our future.”

This thread is one that not only includes places to shop around, eat some wonderful food, and stay overnight in exquisite lodging, but it also includes various educational and recreational opportunities that are offered by the College. Read more “The Berea College Trace”

A Time For Pause

By Michelle Berendsen

A Time for Pause

When the cold settles, the earth grows quiet.
When the cold settles, the world pauses.
When the cold settles, change happens.

The bear… wanting naught but food and slumber.
The grass… wilting and falling beneath the snow.
The lost animal… pining for its reunion with summer.

They know this is not forever.
They understand this is a time to prepare.
They feel the knowledge the earth lends.

Read more “A Time For Pause”

To Everything There is a Season

by Jordan Byrnes

Winter has arrived in Kentucky. The winter solstice is December 21st, but for me winter begins when the thermometer drops below 32◦, the last leaves fall, and sunset is around 5:00pm. The lack of sunlight, fresh air, and time outdoors can be disheartening.

Winter can be inhospitable, but I see silver linings. Every season is full of gifts and opportunities. Some of these are easy to identify and understand. The new beginnings of spring, the sunny summer moments of carefree living, the bountiful and colorful autumn harvest.

Others are not so easy. The violent storms that come when seasons change, the brutal heat of summer, or the bitter cold of winter. These require us to look beyond appearances to see deeper meaning.

Read more “To Everything There is a Season”