We educate thousands of kids a year through our school and nature programs and partner with businesses, universities, and other non-profits to teach the principles of environmental sustainability. We are also about to build the greenest building in Indiana and one of the most sustainable buildings in the world, and it’s all for the kids. CEC is building according to the Living Building Challenge certification, which takes into account seven different areas known as “petals.” They include: site, water, energy, health, materials, equity and beauty. The center is expected to generate enough energy for its own needs each year, become water independent, manage its own sewage on site, be free of toxic materials, and obtain the majority of its materials from within a 250-mile radius. To date, there are only seven buildings in the world that have earned petals in all seven areas. If the new educational center gains its petals over a year of analysis, it would be the first building in Indiana to become a certified Living Building.
CEC is excited that the greenest building in the region is being designed for kids and the benefit of their health and learning. The new building will also serve as the official trail head of the upcoming Children of Indiana Nature Park—a conservation area that will be dedicated to the 1.2 million school aged children of Indiana (each of them will be given a ceremonial deed to the land). The Children’s Park will be used to teach conservation to kids in a new way—by making them owners of it! Our collaborative partners on this project are Nature Conservancy, Indiana’s Department of Natural Resources, and Whitewater Valley Land Trust.
This building will not only lead to teachable moments for community members and building designers about choosing the healthiest, most sustainable products available, but also will give thousands of more children each year the chance to be immersed in nature and learn what it takes to be a healthier generation that brings about a healthier planet. Cope Environmental Center is building this Sustainable Living Education Center to expand our school programs and focus on getting more kids off of the screens and into nature while also equipping them for a brighter future in the sciences.