Helen Cope, one of the founders of Cope Environmental Center (CEC) and a Centerville High School biology teacher for 15 years, is turning 95! A birthday celebration will be opened to the public on April 10th following a groundbreaking ceremony at 3:30pm for a new educational and orientation building at CEC in her honor. Both events will be historical–one is celebrating the life of a teacher and pioneer for conservation and sustainability in our region, and the other is breaking ground for the first ‘Living Building Challenge’ project in Indiana. Presently, there are only 6 certified ‘Living Buildings’ in the world.
What exactly is a certified ‘Living Building?’ The International Living Future Institute defines one as “a demonstration that the built environment can actually help restore the natural environment.” It is a way to move the market forward in environmental design and tackle global challenges such as growing energy and water demands without compromising the health of people or fragile ecosystems. The new building will also serve as the official trail head of the upcoming Bicentennial Legacy Conservation Area—a new recreation area that will include a children’s park and possibly a system of trails connecting Cope Environmental Center down to Whitewater State Park. This newly designated conservation area will not only protect East-Central Indiana, an area that has long been identified as “undeserved in public lands with biologically significant assets,” but it will also be headed by a new species of building that thrives with nature’s ecosystems rather than against them.
CEC is excited to use the design of the building as a teaching tool, and it is fitting that the life of a teacher will be celebrated in conjunction with the ground breaking of it! Interested in attending the groundbreaking and greeting Helen at her birthday celebration on April 10th at 3:30pm? Reservations are not required, but the Cope Center would be happy to hear from you and can provide more information at 765.855.3188 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Birthday refreshments will be available. Carpooling is highly encouraged though some overflow parking lots will be available. Handicap parking is also available at the site for the celebration located at 1792 Airport Road, Centerville, IN 47330.