Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.54
Liaison Kevin Miller
Submission Date March 6, 2020

STARS v2.2

Goshen College
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Kevin Miller
Gifts Officer
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Goshen College does have legally protected areas — part of Merry Lea Environmental Center is in the Indiana State Nature Preserve System. Their mission statement is:
The mission of the Division of Nature Preserves is to identify, protect, and manage an array of nature preserves and natural areas in sufficient numbers and sufficient sizes to maintain viable examples of all of Indiana's natural communities. Nature Preserves will also manage and maintain viable populations of endangered, threatened and rare species. These activities will be conducted for the benefit of the natural communities, their representative species as well as the benefit of future generations of mankind. (http://www.in.gov/dnr/naturepreserve/4733.htm#nature).

A map and information about our 353 acres that are in the SNP system can be found at http://www.in.gov/dnr/naturepreserve/files/np-Merry_Lea_Nature_Preserve.pdf.

Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution?:

A list of endangered and vulnerable species with habitats on land owned or managed by the institution, by level of extinction risk:

Blandings Turtle - moderate risk
Massagua Rattlesnake - moderate risk
spotted blue salamander - low risk

Has the institution conducted an assessment to identify areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution?:

A brief description of areas of biodiversity importance on land owned or managed by the institution:

Nesting bird populations are carefully monitored through bird banding at Merry Lea every year and migratory birds are tracked on the property through participation in the Audubon May Bird Count at the Merry Lea site.

Vulnerable species that are being monitored include field sparrows, hesper sparrows, cerulean warblers, and prothonotary warblers.

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or areas of biodiversity importance and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

The overarching legal documents regarding all Merry Lea land include the requirement for conservation and preservation of the land, along with the need for a land management plan to care for the land accordingly.

A brief description of the scope of the assessment(s):

Merry Lea actively identifies and restores ecosystems representative of the pre-European settlement (ca. 1830’s) landscape found in NE Indiana. These include: wetland communities (52 ac.), dry oak woodland and savanna (13 ac) and tall grass prairie (77 ac.). Except for the Bear Lake Prairie, prairie sites were created on abandoned cropland using local genotype (purchased or collected on-site) grass and forb (wildflower) species that have be recorded as native to Noble County (Flora of Indiana, C. Deam, 1940). Creation of prairie habitat and restoration of the oak woodland community will continue for decades to come.

Merry Lea’s land base is also managed as a field laboratory to support the research efforts of Merry Lea staff members who have Goshen College faculty appointments. The site is also used to test research questions posed by Goshen College students and their professors in the Dept. of Biological Sciences. In addition, research questions are developed to gain a better understand the functioning of Merry Lea’s ecosystems as a response to specific management actions.

A brief description of the plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats, and/or ecosystems:

Witmer Woods, and Merry Lea conservation site (which works with wetland restoration and prairie reconstruction) are a part of Goshen College’s commitment to wildlife habitat.

Merry Lea is the main branch of campus that works to restore habitats, and has a management and integration program to do so. Goshen College prairies also provide a good habitat for different insects and animals.

Estimated percentage of areas of biodiversity importance that are also protected areas :

Website URL where information about the institution’s biodiversity initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.