Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center Fund
To provide support to the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center.
Donor Fund Story:
Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center was started in 1967 as a non-profit by Lee Reith and his wife Mary Jane. The purpose of this environmental learning center is to preserve the land for plants and animals, educate people about the environment, and give people a chance to enjoy nature and trails. An interesting fact is that Merry Lea is named after the homonyms of Lee and Mary Jane’s first names. In 1980, Lee and Mary Jane donated Merry Lea to Goshen College.
The Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center Fund was founded in 1991. The focus of this endowment is to take care of the facilities. New building projects, renovations, and other projects are funded through this endowment fund.
Lee passed away in the middle 1980’s, and Mary Jane passed in the 1990’s. Luke Gascho, executive director at the Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center, said that Mary Jane, “Always made you feel welcome.” Lee and Mary Jane had a vision for Merry Lea, and they were committed to that vision.
This endowment fund is important for the Noble County community. Mr. Gascho states, “Merry Lea is a type of gift to the community. It’s a legacy gift. Merry Lea is special to Noble County because it is one of the biggest nature preserves in Indiana (1,189 acres) and the trails are free for the community.”
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- NCCOAD Activated in Response to COVID 19 March 20, 2020