This 1,150-acre preserve hosts a variety of Indiana ecosystems, including lake shores, bogs, wetlands, forests, uplands, lowlands, prairies and meadows. The diversity of the land here makes the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center a perfect home for countless plant and animal wildlife. Three wood cottages were built on the property, in an area dubbed Reith Village. Sustainable living and alternative energies are the educational topics discovered at this Indiana attraction.
Reith Village is open during normal business hours on weekdays. The land is administered by Goshen College, and two of the three cottages are designed to house up to 32 Indiana college students. The Reith Village is an ecological field station, where visitors can witness solar water heaters, photovoltaic panels and a wind generator at work producing energy. The cottages were built to be green, with energy efficient light fixtures and appliances and no outside light pollution.
Each year, thousands of students visit the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center to learn about eco-tourism, energy efficiency, nature preservation and much more. The land serves as a space for visitors to experience nature without disturbing it. Going green is the latest trend in the Circle City, so a day trip to this Hoosier landmark could come in handy. It’s also a great destination for Indianapolis kids.
So, who is Merry Lea? She never actually visited the learning center, because she doesn’t exist. The name was suggested as a homonym of the names of major donors Mary Jane and Lea Rieth. The two humble sponsors did not wish for the center to bear their names, so a slight spelling twist was made. The center’s spelling of Merry Lea also means Happy Meadow
The Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center has been awarded for their scientific progression. The village was recently granted the Platinum LEED award by the Indiana chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it’s a very prestigious honor in the field.
There are no admission fees required to visit the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, so this day trip from Indy is recession-proof. It’s located only 140 miles north of Indianapolis in Noble County. And while you’re there, be sure to check out the nearby Bonneyville Mill County Park for more adventures. Groups of ten or more people can schedule a guided tour in advance.
Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center
P.O. Box 263
Wolf Lake, Indiana 46796