#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.


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!