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New Partnership: Marian University Nina Mason Pulliam EcoLab

Submitted by Jessica Davis

CEES is excited for our first-time service learning partnership with the Nina Mason Pulliam (NMP) EcoLab at Marian University for environmental service learning events.  The NMP EcoLab is a 55-acre, restored, natural area on the campus of Marian University. 

Not only is the NMP EcoLab an environmental treasure, but it is a historical one as well.  The property that is now the NMP EcoLab was part of the Riverdale estate built by James Allison (founder of the Indy 500 and Allison transmission) in the early 1900's.  The landscaping was designed by master landscape architect, Jens Jensen, known as the "Prophet of the Prairie" for his use of native plants.  Many of Jensen's original landscape features can be seen in the NMP EcoLab today, including bridges, cisterns, and original trails.

Earlier this year, CEES staff and interns visited with the staff of the NMP EcoLab to discuss and confirm a service learning relationship.  You can read what our intern, Keri, thought of her first visit to the EcoLab.  On April 17, CEES will bring ~40 IUPUI students to the the NMP EcoLab to remove invasive species, manage trails, and conduct other restoration work.  In addition to IUPUI students, CEES will also be bringing staff, interns, and students enrolled in a course dedicated to environmental service learning (G199) to help out with the restoration work on the site.  If you'd be interested in joining us, you can learn more about this service learning event here

Like CEES IUPUI, NMP EcoLab offers a variety of K12 environmental science programming, including "destination" K12 outreach programs and hosting school kids and teachers from all over central Indiana. We encourage any of our school partners who have not been out to the EcoLab to consider reaching out to their education staff.  A visit to the NMP Ecolab would be a great follow up to any of you who have taken advantage of our own Discovering the Science of the Envrionment programming.

Connect with the NMP EcoLab on Facebook and Twitter.

NOTE:  The EcoLab and its staff most definitely hold a special place in my heart.  It was my time spent in the EcoLab as an undergraduate student that inspired me to pursue graduate studies and a career in the environmental realm.  Dr. David Benson, Director of the NMP EcoLab, taught many courses that utilized this "living laboratory." I've included some photos of my experiences as a student at Marian University from 2006-2010 below.   - JD

Planting native species.  I'm the student kneeling down in the navy blue shirt to the right.

Taking water samples for Ecology as un undergraduate at Marian University.  I'm the standing student.


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