#100DaysofCope at CEC!

Join us as we celebrate two of our founders, Jim & Helen Cope, through 100 days of activities, crafts, and much more starting Friday, April 10, 2020. (Friday, April 10, 2020 would have been Helen’s 100th birthday!)

Help us celebrate their legacy with the hashtag #100daysofCope ! 
Check in with our posts below and social media for new activities EVERY day for the next 100 days! This event will go until July 19, 2020.


June 14, 2020

“I learned so much in her Biology and Advanced Biology classes in the 70’s. Her ecology club set up a recycling area for the community on the school grounds. I have been an avid recycler since. I helped her one summer in her organic garden. She taught me how to grow potatoes covered with straw, which I still do.” – Anonymous on Helen Cope as a teacher at Centerville Schools. #100DaysofCope


June 13, 2020

Jim & Helen founded the Cope Environmental Center to share their passion for science, nature, and sustainability with the community. Their commitment to living a sustainable lifestyle was both inspirational and educational. CEC continues to provide educational resources for our community members on sustainability and green living choices. Taking small steps towards sustainability can make a BIG impact!

What steps can you take today to become more earth friendly?  

#100daysofCope


June 12, 2020

The wait is finally over with donations slowing down for the CEC Bird-a-thon 2020!
Our Team Birders worked hard to observe as many birds as they could, and to raise pledges for their birding during the ten day bird-a-thon from May 10 to May 20, 2020.
See the below list for our Team Birders’ remarkable pledge donations! 

🍃Your support means the world to us here at Cope. As a staff & board, we are SO grateful for your support of CEC, and your continued engagement in the natural world around us. 🍃

  • Big Sky Bike Shrikes – $350 raised for CEC
  • Bird Nerds – over $3,400 raised for CEC
  • Bird-aholics – over $6,500 raised for CEC
  • Birds of a Feather – over $4,000 raised for CEC
  • Cope Siblings – over $5,200 raised for CEC
  • Team Flutter – over $1,000 raised for CEC
  • Great Grand Copes – over $2,500 raised for CEC
  • Los Primos – $20 raised for CEC
  • Poling Family – $60 raised for CEC
  • Rockin’ Robins – $350 raised for CEC
  • Telfair Team – nearly $200 raised for CEC
  • Tennessee Warblers – over $1,500 raised for CEC

With donations still rolling in after our awarding deadline, CEC Bird-a-thon 2020 Team Birders alone raised over $25,000 dollars of support for Cope Environmental Center! 

This support keeps programs running, our trails maintained, open, and operating, and our drive for local sustainability and nature education continuing. 💚

Thank you!

#100DaysofCope


June 11, 2020

Don’t delay! Enroll today in a Cope Environmental Center Camp experience. More fun than being in quarantine! 

#100DaysofCope


June 10, 2020


June 9, 2020


Check out these great finds from CEC Bird-a-Thon Birder, Penny Ausmus!
Can you identify them all?
#100DaysofCope

June 8, 2020

“My parents, Jim and Mary Mullin, first knew Jim and Helen Cope in 1942, before Jim and Helen were married, while in New Hampshire.

Both couples moved to Indiana and remained friends for the rest of their lives, Jim and Helen in Centerville and Jim and Mary in Brookville. Jim and Helen gave numerous trees, spruce, pine, etc to my parents (and helped plant them) over the years. 

One memorable one was a copper beech which was planted in April of 1989 when it was about 2 feet tall, according to notes my father made. It still stands today, tall and proud.” (Pictured – The tree with the purple tinted leaves.)

“Another tree that Jim and Helen gave became a rival to the one planted on the Cope property, now the Cope Environmental Center. These trees were planted in 1992. Every year the two Jims would compare their trees to see which one was taller. 

I know that for a number of years the one at my parent’s property was doing better and taller, but by now, I think they are both doing well. Here is a picture of the one on the property my parent’s had, now where I live.” (Pictured – Incense Cedar with the dark green needles.) – Marty Mullin, friend of the Copes.
#100DaysofCope


June 7, 2020

Thank you to all of our individual birders that took part in team, or solo birding. We can’t wait to see you next year in the CEC Bird-a-thon 2021!

  • Chris Skinner
  • Edward Clarkson
  • Phil Gardner
  • Sandra Burner
  • Scott Hein
  • Virginia Anderson
  • Jenilee Braun
  • Judy Buchholz
  • Pam Herrmann
  • Stephanie McCurdy
  • Stephen Weddle
  • Teri Grossman
  • Jack Ferrell
  • Amie Hodgkin 
  • Harlow Flanagan
  • Pamela Merchanthouse
  • Penny Ausmus
  • Susie Ferrell
  • Anna Jetmore
  • Cheri Jetmore
  • Douglas Wambo
  • Judy Dils
  • Karen Niersbach
  • Meg Walton
  • Ed Cope
  • June Chidester
  • Marianne Cope
  • Marie Cope
  • Trish Cope
  • Vicki Crowe
  • Caroline Cope
  • Hendrix
  • Xander
  • Leo
  • Ezra
  • Fern
  • Jack
  • Iris
  • Riley
  • Asher
  • Ali Rivera
  • Karen Poling
  • Travis Poling
  • Carol Britt
  • Ginger Richwine
  • Jeremy Proeschel
  • Jerry Richwine
  • Ashlee Brown
  • Max Buffington-Adams
  • Alison Zajdel
  • Dana Risch
  • James Snyder
  • James Todd Snyder
  • Kaitlyn Blansett
  • Neil Sabine
  • William Telfair
  • Jody Telfair
  • Louise Hinkley
  • Jane Stowe
  • Carrie Turner
  • Becky Marvil
  • David Evans
  • Nan Beesley
  • Peter Trueblood
  • Tom Evans
  • Toni Evans
  • Angel Groves
  • Colton Groves
  • Nate White-Gray
  • Diana Wellings
  • Bob Warfel
  • Karen Black
  • William Black
  • Alisa Clapp-Itnyre
  • Michelle Ramsey
  • Terri Logan
  • Renee Gunnoe
  • David Angi
  • Andi Angi

#100DaysofCope


June 6, 2020

Thank you to all of our CEC Bird-a-thon team birder participants!

Thank you to our teams –

  • Big Sky Bike Shrikes
  • Bird Nerds
  • Bird-aholics
  • Birds of A Feather
  • Cope Siblings
  • Crowe Crew
  • Great Grand Copes
  • Los Primos
  • Poling Family
  • Rockin’ Robins
  • Team Flutter
  • Telfair Team
  • The Sheldon Cooper Hawks
  • The Tennessee Warblers
  • Winging It

#100DaysofCope


June 5, 2020

Looks like a great evening to check out the full Moon!
It will be at its peak at 3:12 pm but visible in the night sky. June’s moon is called the Strawberry Moon to honor the relatively short season for harvesting strawberries in the north-eastern United States. #100daysofCope


June 4, 2020

For today’s bird-a-thon highlight, we would like to share the results of Team Great Grand-Copes! See the photos for some bird art shared by one of these young birders. 🤗

This team consisted of Jim & Helen’s great-grandchildren ranging in age from age 2 1/2 to 15 years old. (Organized by Caroline Cope.) They also had their cousins, aged 1 to 17 years old, to cheer them on! 

Team Great Grand-Copes observed 69 birds in their fledgling adventure that included birds from Rhode Island, New York, Virginia, and Oregon. 

Thanks to Team Cope Great Grandkids as well for raising over $2,500 for CEC through their pledges for the Bird-a-thon! 

Way to go Hendrix, Xander, Leo, Ezra, Fern, Jack, Iris, Riley, and Asher!
#100daysofCope


June 3, 2020


June 2, 2020

With 15 teams taking part in the CEC Bird-a-thon 2020, we would like to announce the winning teams for Most Species Observed and Most Pledges Raised!

🦉For Most Species Observed, we have Team Tennessee Warblers with 270 species observed! Team Tennessee Warblers had birders from Alaska, California, Florida, Maine, Maryland, and Tennessee! Congratulations to Becky Marvil, Toni Evans, David Evans, Nan Beesley, Peter Trueblood, and Tom Evans! 🦆

🦃 For Most Pledges Raised, we have Team Bird-aholics! Team Bird-aholics brought in support from over 80 donors to raise over $6,000 dollars for CEC! Congratulations and thank you to Susie Ferrell, Jack Ferrell, Penny Ausmus, Amie Hodgkin, Harlow Flanagan, and Pam Merchanthouse! A special thank you to young birders, Jack, age 14, and Harlow, age 9, for their hard work as part of Team Bird-aholics! 🦅

Thank you to all of the teams that have participated in the CEC Bird-a-thon 2020! We will keep posting throughout the week about Bird-a-thon results, so keep an eye out on our page!

#100DaysofCope


June 1, 2020

Congratulations to Diana Wellings on her birding! Diana was able to observe 65 different species during the CEC Bird-a-thon 2020! #100DaysofCope


May 31, 2020

Thank you to Michelle Ramsey for sharing the below photos! Michelle was our Solo Birder that was able to bring in the most pledges for her birding – Congratulations, Michelle! She will be receiving one of the handmade bluebird houses created by CEC friend, David Stidham. 🦅
 #100DaysofCope


May 30, 2020

The totals have been tallied, and it is time for the CEC Bird-a-thon Solo Birder awards! Each awardee for the CEC Bird-a-thon will be given a handmade bluebird house made by CEC friend, David Stidham! (*example pictured)
Our first special thank you, and award announcement, goes out to Diana Wellings for most bird species observed as a registered Solo Birder! Congratulations on finding 65 unique bird species!
Our second special thank you and award announcement goes out to registered Solo Birder, Michelle Ramsey, for most pledge dollars raised! 
Thank you to all of our Solo Birders who took the initiative to take part in the CEC Bird-a-thon!
Team Birding awards will be announced tomorrow, Wednesday, June 3rd! 🦆
#100DaysofCope


May 29, 2020

From May 10 to May 20, the CEC Bird-a-thon 2020 gathered birders from Richmond, Indiana all the way to Anchorage, Alaska. Birders were diverse amongst location and age with fledgling birders as young as 2 years old participating! Pledge support also spanned the globe with donations coming from as far as New Zealand!

Thanks to your participation, this event was an overwhelming success that engaged so many new and experienced birders during the worldwide quarantine. From solo birding to team birding, this event registered over 75 individuals who took the time to engage in their local wildlife through birding. These individuals then observed over 270 different species of birds through this event! 

This support, and your engagement with this event, allows Cope Environmental Center to continue programming and the operation of our Center throughout the loss of program, rental, and event income during the Covid-19 pandemic. Your birding pledge support for this event raised over $24,000 for CEC! #100daysofCope


May 28, 2020

“CEC has Jim Cope to thank – or blame – for my being their next Executive Director. I grew up on 2.5 acres in Marion County farming country surrounded by corn and soy bean fields. I spent my days climbing trees with my brother, gardening with the family, and exploring the creek than meandered through the back of the property. Nature was just a way of life for me.

Fast forward to college. I started my time at Earlham College as a math/music double major. By the middle of my sophomore year, I was less interested in math and decided to drop that major. Music was still good, but all it was at that time was a major – no teaching degree, no performance degree. I would have to do graduate school just to have a career. As an entering freshman, I did Water Wilderness and really liked it. There was a new field emerging – outdoor education. Maybe I could switch to that. The problem was that I was afraid that if I made nature academic, I would not like it anymore. This is where Jim Cope comes in.

I decided to take my first science course past the required general biology one everybody had to take. I decided on ornithology. I liked early mornings so 4:00 AM lab field trips did not dissuade me. Jim was my professor. I loved the course! 

I found that learning a little bit more about the names and behaviors of birds as well as the excitement of listening to their sounds and finding birds in the trees actually made the outdoors more enjoyable. The course changed not only my major in college, but also my entire career.

And now I have come full circle – I am back in Richmond at a place which celebrates the outdoors. And it carries the family name of the professor who introduced me to the academic side of the outdoors and changed my life.” – Karin Hostetter, new Executive Director at Cope Environmental Center. #100DaysofCope


May 27, 2020

Know someone who can use a smile? Why not make them a personalized grass head. Fill a clear glass with potting soil, sprinkle with grass seed and tape the face of a loved one to the outside of the glass. Water daily and be sure to trim the “hair” as needed!  #100daysofCope


May 26, 2020

Jim & Helen Cope were educators at heart and knew that kids learn best by experience and exploration. Our Summer Fun Camps are based on experiential learning and wild discovery. We would like to share with you our secret recipe for happy campers!

 #100daysofCope


May 25, 2020

We had so much fun presenting the CEC Bird-a-thon 2020, and it is almost time to see the full results! 🦅

🦃 Keep an eye out on our website and our social media for Team and Solo Birder awards along with our total raised in support of Cope Environmental Center ! 🦆

This will be a new annual event for CEC, so make sure to tune in next year for CEC Bird-a-thon 2021!

#100DaysofCope


May 24, 2020

Get Outside! It looks like a great day to talk a walk with loved ones. Outside is good for the body, mind, and spirit. Make OUTSIDE a destination today! Cope Environmental Center’s trails are open dawn to dusk seven days a week. Come out and enjoy Jim & Helen’s legacy. 

#100daysofCope


May 23, 2020


May 22, 2020

National Invasive Species Awareness Week! Chinese mystery snails can form dense populations and outcompete native species for food and habitat in lakes and streams. They are intermediate hosts for parasitic worms and can transmit trematodes that kill waterfowl. Shells often litter shorelines and clog screens of water intakes.

Native to Asia, the Chinese mystery snail was shipped to California in the late 1800s for Asian seafood markets. They were likely released from aquaria into the Niagara River in the 1930s where they then populated the great lakes and many Indiana waterways. They can survive out of water for days by closing their shells. Eradicating mystery snails is nearly impossible. You can stop the spread by carefully inspecting your boats, watercrafts, bait buckets, and other items between visits to different bodies of water.  #100daysofCope


May 21, 2020

National Invasive Species Awareness Week!  
The Emerald Ash Borer is responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of ash trees in 30 states. Native to Asia, it likely arrived in the United States hidden in wood packing materials. The first U.S. identification of Emerald Ash Borer was in southeastern Michigan in 2002.

#100DaysofCope


May 20, 2020


May 19, 2020

This week is National Invasive Species Week! Indiana has several plants, animals, and insects that are invasive and negatively affect our native species. 

Invasive plants negatively impact Indiana in many ways, including loss of biodiversity, degradation of natural habitats, decreased property values, declining agricultural yields, & adverse effects on public utilities, recreation and tourism. Indiana landowners and managers spend millions annually managing invasive plants throughout the state.

The Cope Environmental Center is committed to removing invasive species from our property and helping educate the community to identify and remove them on private property. 

Garlic Mustard is a biennial that can grow up to 4-feet tall with triangular sharp toothed leaves and small, white 4-petaled flowers in a cluster at top of stem. This plant has garlic odor giving it the name garlic mustard. 

Problem: It displaces wildflowers and poisons the soil, inhibiting fungi that are important to tree and plant growth. Its leaf contains chemicals that kill native butterfly larvae that feed on the plant.

Eradicating garlic mustard is easy work, but takes time. The best way to get rid of garlic mustard is by pulling it up and discarding it. Try to pull up the plants before they set seed, because the action of yanking the plant from the ground will spread the seed.

After you have pulled the plants, resist the temptation to throw them in your composter. Bag them up and throw them out with your garbage. The ultimate goal in removing garlic mustard is to prevent seed development and spreading until the existing seed bank is depleted. 

Take a few minutes and check your yard for garlic mustard. Help us promote the growth of Indiana’s native species by removing the non-native one!  #100daysofCope


May 18, 2020


May 17, 2020

“From the time I was little, Jim & Helen were like second parents to me. In the 1950’s and early ‘60s, my sisters and I would often go to spend the day, or afternoon, or sometimes overnight, with them at the very location that is now the Cope Environmental Center. 

I have many memories, among them: learning to collect eggs from the chickens in the barn; watching Helen kill a chicken, for food, by swinging it around and ringing its neck, all done outside the back door of their house; Helen fixing mayonnaise sandwiches; wandering around the barn and looking at the various animals and giant feed bags. These were all things that I didn’t experience at my own home but were very natural, normal occurrences at the Copes! 

Then, of course, there were so many occasions when our families, and other friends, would gather together to plant seedling trees, as a part of Jim & Helen’s, and my parents’, visions of helping to restore eroded land in southeastern Indiana, including where the Cope Environmental Center now stands as well as further south in Franklin County where my family lived. 

Thank you to Jim & Helen for their humor, their vision, their sense of community, and their goal to give back to make the world a better place!” – Becky Mullin Lough #100DaysofCope

The photo attached is a view of the Cope Homestead house from across the pond in 1958. Thank you to Caroline Cope for providing us this photo!


May 16, 2020


May 15, 2020


May 14, 2020


May 13, 2020


May 12, 2020

Are you a fledgling birder that is looking for place to start for the CEC Bird-a-thon 2020? 

The Cornell Lab is a great resource for all things birding, and they have compiled a short guide on getting started. This list includes pointers on binoculars, bird feeders, apps, and more that can help you get started birding! http://ow.ly/XSKZ50zxtOf

Also, see the graphic to the left from the Miami Valley, OH Audobon for some tips on using binoculars!


May 11, 2020

“I first met Jim Cope when I was in grade school. My dad took me to a Junior National Junior Audubon Society program because his friend, Jim Cope, was the speaker. Being a bird lover, I was in awe. Jim then invited us to his home on Shoemaker Rd to see a fox den and some cubs. What a special day that was!  

Years later, after our children were grown and we had more time, Judy Dils and I began to get more serious about our birding. Jim invited us to meet him at Whitewater State Park during the duck migration and said he would help us learn to identify them. As we were looking through our binoculars and his scope, we marveled at the beauty of their bold colors.  

Then, Jim barely glanced upward as 2 ducks flew high above the lake. He very casually said “Wood Ducks.” Wait. No binocular view, no scope view…just 2 little black dots moving overhead. Come on, Jim. How do you know they are Wood Ducks? He looked at us with that twinkle in his eye and said, “Ears. You bird with your ears. I heard them call.” And that is one of the best lessons I ever learned about being a good birder.

What an honor it was to reconnect with Jim (and Helen and the whole family) several years later when I was asked to be a board member of a newly formed Environmental center. It was such a pleasure to work with Jim and Helen during the formative years of Cope Environment Center.

I often think about how proud they would both be of the strides we have made with CEC…all the trails, gardens, playscapes, summer camps, a new sustainable building and thousands of visitors every year. Not only that, I can’t imagine anyone being more pleased to have a Bird-a-Thon right here in Wayne County, sponsored by CEC, than Jim Cope.”
– Susie Ferrell, CEC Founding Board Member #100DaysofCope

P.S. Do the photos below look familiar? We can thank Susie for the quote above AND our daily bird posts! Thank you again, Susie! 


May 10, 2020

Today is the day to start birding for the Cope Environmental Center Bird-a-thon 2020!

Get Registered as a Solo Birder here – https://forms.gle/SYZnGbhnGnXNm87S6

Get Registered as a Team Birder here – https://forms.gle/XsoD8L9uEg6Wudjv9

Or Donate to be an Event Sponsor here – https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cecbirdathon

Download the Bird-a-thon Packet to get started as a Solo or Team Birder here – https://www.copeenvironmental.org/wp-content/uploads/04-30-Bird-a-thon-Packet.pdf

Interested in paying your pledge for a solo or team birder online? Use CEC’s Donate Now button on our website at www.copeenvironmental.org and make sure to note “Bird-a-thon” and your birder’s name/team name!


May 9, 2020

A great #100DaysofCope gardening tip from Trish Cope, Helen & Jim Cope's youngest daughter – Just in time for Mother's Day! In the video below, Trish gives us a How-To video on how to create re-purposed biodegradable plant starters with newspaper; a practice often used by Helen Cope! These paper pots can be planted directly into the ground when they are ready to go – Grow your own plant starts today with a little reuse and recycling! ♻️🌱

Posted by Cope Environmental Center on Saturday, May 9, 2020

A great #100DaysofCope gardening tip from Trish Cope, Helen & Jim Cope’s youngest daughter – Just in time for Mother’s Day! In the video above, Trish gives us a How-To video on how to create re-purposed biodegradable plant starters with newspaper; a practice often used by Helen Cope! These paper pots can be planted directly into the ground when they are ready to go – Grow your own plant starts today with a little reuse and recycling! ♻️


May 8, 2020

Flowers here, flowers there, flowers everywhere! As we begin to plant our gardens, we see our pollinator friends scurrying from bloom to bloom gathering pollen and fertilizing our plantings. Honey bees in particular are responsible for pollinating nearly 75% of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables that we eat! Planting gardens for our bee friends helps stabilize populations and provide additional food sources during the growing season. Do you have any of these plants in your garden?  #100daysofCope


May 7, 2020

Tonight is the May full moon, also known as the Flower Moon in honor of the many wildflowers that are currently blooming in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a great night to take a moonlit walk and listen to the night sounds of nature. Can you hear the barred owl? #100daysofCope


May 6, 2020


May 5, 2020

Are you smartphone saavy when you are out on in nature? You can use the Seek app from iNaturalist to identify plants and wildlife on the go! With this app, you can use your phone’s camera to identify local plants like this dicot class plant to the left.
Interested in he full identification of this plant? Click here to see this plant’s species and what the mature plant looks like! #100DaysofCope


May 4, 2020

Our #100DaysofCope memory comes from Stephanie Hays Mussoni, a previous Director and staff member at CEC! Stephanie shares her memory of Jim Cope through the "Jim Cope Test."🌿🍄 Can you go outside today and take the "Jim Cope Test" yourself to identify a new flower, tree, or backyard plant? 🍄🌿Share your identifications below, and remember – Keep learning about nature everyday in honor of people like Jim!

Posted by Cope Environmental Center on Monday, May 4, 2020

Our #100DaysofCope memory comes from Stephanie Hays Mussoni, a previous Director and staff member at CEC! Stephanie shares her memory of Jim Cope through the “Jim Cope Test.” 🌿🍄 Can you go outside today and take the “Jim Cope Test” yourself to identify a new flower, tree, or backyard plant? 🍄🌿


May 3, 2020

For today’s #100DaysofCope , can you find and identify a type of fungus growing in your backyard, on a trail, or in your neighborhood? Pictured below is a Common Greenshield Lichen that was found on the trails at Cope Environmental Center!


May 2, 2020

“Helen Cope was such a major influence on my life as my biology teacher in High School. Her love of the outdoors and dedication to protecting it was contagious. I still carry it with me. She also assisted me in applying to Earlham College where Jim Cope was my advisor.” – Anonymous #100DaysofCope


May 1, 2020

The CEC Bird-a-thon is almost here! Please see the following Bird-a-thon Packet for instructions on how to register as a Solo Birder, Team Birder, or event sponsor, AND get access to the checklist and forms you need to participate! 🦆🦉🦅

The CEC Bird-a-thon officially starts on Sunday, May 10, but you can get a head start on finding your supporters who will pledge, building a team, or showing support for CEC by sponsoring the event!

Download instructions and the packet here! https://www.copeenvironmental.org/…/04-30-Bird-a-thon-Packe…

Just interested in sponsoring as a Hummingbird, Cardinal, Great Blue Heron, or Eagle Sponsor for this event? Click here – https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/cecbirdathon


April 30, 2020

“My first ever experience with bats was standing in the back yard during the summer. My brother and I would hit badmintons into the sky and the bats would fly at them until they realized the flying objects were not edible insects. Several years later, Jim Cope showed me an entirely different side to these amazing mammals.

Jim was my ornithology professor when I was a student at Earlham College. As was a practice way back then, and still is encouraged, students were invited to assist professors on their research projects. Jim was known throughout the midwest for his long-term study of the endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis). My junior year, I was privileged enough to be selected to be on his team to spend a weekend going into caves and counting hibernating bats.

What I really remember is the awesome experience of caving and seeing all those bats and Jim’s amazing knowledge and mentoring. I loved caves and bats were fun. We visited three different caves. We crawled on our bellies through narrow passages with bats flying above our heads. We rappelled down a large, deep hole. We used rope ladders Jim had installed and used every winter for his research. We stood in huge rooms surrounded by hundreds of hibernating bats.

Jim taught us how to estimate the number of bats in a room. We learned how to differentiate between several species from a distance so we were focusing only on the Indiana bat. We learned about bat natural history and their value to the natural world. We counted bats, read leg bands through binoculars, and learned about each other beyond the classroom.

The Indiana bat is still endangered – and it still survives. Jim’s years of uninterrupted research added immeasurably to the scientific knowledge of the species. I feel lucky to have been part of his important work.” – Karin Hostetter, new Executive Director at Cope Environmental Center. #100DaysofCope


April 29, 2020

Warmer weather means visits from old friends and this one is great to have around! Garter snakes help control pests in the yard and garden by eating insects that harm plants.

They prefer moist, grassy habitats near ponds and streams. Garter snakes will share a den at night and during hibernation to keep their body temperature warm. While most reptiles lay eggs, the garter snake is one of the only ones to give birth to live babies! After birth, the 2-3 inch long offspring are on their own to hunt and survive.

Helen Cope’s compost pile was home to many garter snakes over the years who loved to “help” her garden. Have you had a visit from this old friend this Spring? #100daysofCope


April 28, 2020

For today’s #100DaysofCope , can you find a type of true moss in your backyard, in your neighborhood, or on local trails like Cope Environmental Center?

This moss is a type of true moss that has no vascular system and distributes moisture among its leaves. Do you know the difference between true mosses and clubmosses? Share your moss adventures below!


April 27, 2020

“My Dad greatly enjoyed sharing his passion for and love of the natural world. He would come to you excitedly, with that twinkle in his eye, and tell you he had something special to show you. Then off you would be led in full suspense to see that wonder he was so eager to share. 

When I was walking in the woods recently and came upon this large showy trillium, Trillium grandiflorum, in bloom, I immediately thought of my Dad. It wasn’t just one trillium but a whole hillside of them. How spectacular! 

T. grandiflorum is the largest trillium found in Indiana. This sighting is just like one of those special wonders he would be eager to share. I am so grateful for my Dad and the way he nurtured these interests with me and so many others. It strongly influenced my love for the natural world and who I became as a teacher.” – Marianne Cope, CEC Board Member #100DaysofCope

What wildflowers inspire you about the beauty of the outdoors?


April 26, 2020

It’s a beautiful day to enjoy nature and listen to its sounds. 
Each bird has its own distinct song and learning them can be a challenge. Check out the chart below to learn the “words” our feathered friends are saying, then head outside to test your knowledge.
How many songs can you identify? #100daysofCope


April 25, 2020

Use this graphic for a quick guide on tree planting! Planting a tree is the perfect backyard activity for the recent Earth Day and Arbor Day celebrations – not to mention #100DaysofCope ! 


April 24, 2020

The Cope family planted thousands of trees representing over 150 different species on CEC property since 1948, effectively reforesting what was once bare farm ground.  
These same seedlings are now mature trees providing us with immeasurable benefits. With each seedling the Cope family planted, they created a greener, healthier planet and a space you can enjoy while hiking our trails. 

This Arbor Day, take a moment to give thanks to our trees for their many health benefits. Are you planning on planting a tree this year? #100DaysofCope


April 23, 2020

Announcing the first annual Cope Environmental Center Bird-a-thon – This ten day event will take place during our #100DaysofCope from May 10 – May 20, 2020 and will support CEC programming. For this event during #100DaysofCope , we hope to honor the legacy of one of our founders, Jim Cope, who was an expert ornithologist and so much more!

What is a bird-a-thon? It is like a walk-a-thon or read-a-thon, but instead of counting steps or books, we count birds! It is an opportunity to get outside, learn about your local wildlife, and help raise funds for CEC! You can seek recruit sponsors who will pledge for your sightings at $.25, $.50, $1.00, or more per species of bird!

Listed below are the three ways to participate! 
Keep an eye out for more information on this event – We will be releasing more information on May 1, 2020!


April 22, 2020 – 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

In 1948, long before the first Earth Day, Jim & Helen Cope purchased about 30 acres of farm land between Centerville, IN and Richmond, IN and began planting a variety of trees, shrubs, and other plants. They pursued a sustainable lifestyle which involved the use of alternative energy, energy conservation, composting, and organic gardening. Their small farm became a living, experiential classroom for Helen’s high school students and Jim’s college students to learn new ways to live in harmony with the earth. 

Their commitment to promoting the sustainable use of the earth’s natural resources through education, demonstration, and research lives on in our daily activities here at CEC. Our state of the art Sustainable Education Building is one of the greenest buildings on the planet operating as a net zero energy and net zero water facility. It features building materials and design elements you can incorporate into your home to help conserve our natural resources. As we celebrate Earth Day today and everyday, we honor our founders and their vision for a more sustainable community. 

The Cope Environmental Center is here to serve as a resource to help you connect with our environment and make more sustainable decisions so that in another 50 years, we can celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Earth Day. 

Together, we can make all the difference. 💚 #100daysofCope


April 21, 2020

For today’s #100DaysofCope we are pairing up with Indiana Humanities for a digital premiere of “The Earthkeepers” on Facebook on Tues. April 21 at 7pm! This film is about a married couple that leave academia to start a composting business – Tune in to follow their journey on Indiana Humanities FB page or view here http://ow.ly/D6GW50zg5o2 !


April 20, 2020


April 19, 2020

Did you know that there are over 2,000 invertebrates (animals without backbones) per square yard of soil? Your backyard is full of life! These creatures play a very important role our environment from pollination of plants to decomposing of decaying material to being ferocious predators of flying insects. Studying the different characteristics of our macro invertebrate friends can be a fascinating adventure. How many mini-beasts can you find today?  #100daysofcope


April 18, 2020

Trees are blossoming, spring rains are falling, wildflowers are blooming, and wild turkeys are nesting. All signs that its time to go on the ultimate scavenger hunt – for Morels! Morel mushrooms are the fruiting body of an underground fungus critical in the decomposition of plants on our forest floor. Tell us about your most successful hunt in the comments! #100daysofcope


April 17, 2020

April showers bring May flowers! While rainy days are dreary, the rain renews the Earth. While it is not recommended to drink rainwater, its great for your plants, pets, and washing your car all while conserving a valuable natural resource. How are you conserving water? #100daysofcope


April 16, 2020

It is a throwback day for #100DaysofCope ! This photo of CEC comes to us from a Cope family member, and is a photo of the CEC grounds in October of 1958! Stalks of corn and other garden vegetables were grown in the family garden at the Cope Homestead, and inspired our continuing community garden at the homestead entrance of the property! How long have you operated your home garden? If you haven’t started one yet, this might be inspiration to start today!


April 15, 2020


April 14, 2020

The Yellow Trout Lily is an easily recognizable spring wildflower in Indiana that can be found in large colonies covering the forest floor. The colony spreads mostly by runners and less importantly by seed. However, trout lilies have a symbiotic relationship with ants known as myrmecochory – meaning they exchange a lipid-rich appendage on their seeds in return for the ant spreading the seeds to increase the size of the colony and protecting the seeds from predation. Its green-brown mottled leaves compliment its single yellow flower with six petals.

What other symbiotic (win-win) relationships can you find in nature? #100daysofCope


April 13, 2020

From the Director of the Centerville Public Library, Kim Goble. “Helen Cope changed my life by changing the way I think. The way she taught biology helped me organize information and inspired me to be a biology major in college.” Kim went on to get a degree in Biology from Earlham College! Can YOU think of ways to think outside of the box about nature today? Use the Five Ws & H to investigate your backyard! (Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How?) Who first discovered this bug? What kind of plant is this? How does sunlight help this flower grow? 🤔 #100DaysofCope


April 12, 2020

One of Indiana’s earliest blooming wildflowers is the Spring Beauty (Claytonia virginica). Native to moist woodlands, sunny stream banks, and thickets, this low-growing plant has tiny underground tubers that can be prepared and eaten just like potatoes earning it the alternate name “fairy spud.” A perennial herb, Spring Beauty usually grows about six inches tall and eight inches wide with grass like,dark green leaves. In early spring, dense racemes of star-shaped, pink-tinged white flowers appear and last for about a month. This delicate wildflower can be found along the trails at CEC, especially in the hilly, forested area also known as the Sugar Bush. Can you find it? #100daysofCope


April 11, 2020

From Caroline Cope, family member – “Today would have been my mother-in-law’s 100th birthday. Isolating at home would have been a piece of cake for her. She lived joyfully, frugally, and with care for the earth. She bought day-old bread by the carload and froze it. She had chickens and a milk cow. Not to mention more than one enormous freezer. And, of course, a gigantic garden. Even with five kids, she would have been more than ready for Covid-19. Happy birthday, Helen. You left an enduring legacy.” #100DaysofCope


Alison Zajdel gives a short message about Jim & Helen Cope for Helen’s 100th Birthday on April 10, 2020.

April 10, 2020 – #100DaysofCope Starts!

Today is a special day for CEC as we celebrate the legacy of one of our founders, Helen Cope! This April 10th, 2020 would have been her 100th birthday – Helen was a passionate environmental educator who shared her knowledge freely. Her passion continues at CEC and we hope to share this passion for environmental education with you! 🎂

In honor of Helen, and Jim Cope, this is the kick-off of 100 days of celebration at Cope Environmental Center! Help us celebrate their legacy with the hashtag #100daysofCope ! 
Check in with our website and social media for new activities EVERY day for the next 100 days!