Sharing the RichesGAMBIER, Ohio (September 21, 2004) One of the happy discoveries made by Kenyon students is that they belong not only to a vibrant academic community but also to the larger community of central Ohio, rich in natural resources, civic pride, and heartland traditions. Students can draw on community resources as they study ecology or rural sociology, while the community makes use of College programs to deepen its self-understanding.
This spirit of sharing will be very much on display during the weekend of October 2-3, when the annual Heart of Ohio Tour comes to Kenyon's Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC). The tour, a popular regional event for more than 25 years, is a kind of traveling open house. Every year, central Ohio locales ranging from farms to factories open their doors to visitors, who drive from stop to stop. In addition to the BFEC, this year's tour includes a volunteer fire company, the new Wolf Run Regional Park in Mount Vernon, the Harrison Grange, and dairy, sheep, and cattle farms.
The BFEC will welcome visitors between 1:00 and 7:00 p.m. on both Saturday, October 2, and Sunday, October 3. The center's 400 acres include hiking trails, a butterfly garden, a bird-feeding exhibit, an experimental pine plantation, and several distinct habitats - woodland, prairie, wetland, and river. These resources provide a superb outdoor laboratory for science students, an ever-changing studio for painters and photographers, and a relaxing picnic spot for local residents as well as cyclists traveling the Kokosing Gap Trail.
The BFEC is one of two Kenyon programs that immerse students in the life of the surrounding area. The other is the Rural Life Center, which organizes activities ranging from classes in rural sociology, to internships with local farmers, to documentary projects on the area's people, traditions, and issues.