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You are here: Home > > Bill Minter
Director of Land Management
Assistant Professor of Sustainability and Environ. Educ.
Assistant Professor of Environmental Science
B.S., Natural Resources Management, Colorado State University, 1980
M.S.F. in Forest Ecology, Purdue University, 1989
Office: Merry Lea
Phone: (260) 799-5869
Why I work and teach on the Goshen College campus & at Merry Lea:
My personal mission is to show persons their integral relationship with the building of God’s kingdom and the dynamics of His Creation. Given that, I find myself drawn to working within a Christian faith context.
I am called to help the human community consider, through observation and experiential learning of land management practices, how it interacts with natural systems--biologically, economically and sociologically. My position reflects the call God currently has for my life.
I also find that my travel and work abroad—in Western Europe, Scandinavia, Dominican Republic, Philippines and Thailand—has provided me with a helpful context for my fieldwork and teaching. This background fits well with Goshen College’s emphasis on global citizenship.
Ideas that matter to me:
The land and its people belong to God--their Creator. In the transitory birth-growth-death-new life cycle, I am merely a keeper of the land and a servant to people.
Made in God’s image, I have become a part of Creation. I hold temporary “dominion” over the land for a relatively short period of time.
I hold the land in “trust,” through faithful stewardship, for the present and for future generations. I don’t have the right to use or abuse it to the disadvantage of another generation.
I must be prepared to apply state-of-the-art technology to conservation, restoration and preservation practices.
I must be content with what is sufficient and be willing to make personal and financial sacrifices so that my use of the land will not damage my neighbor, society, future generations or the land itself.
I will not consider land as a commodity that can be consumed or a chattel that can be owned in the ordinary sense of the word.
I will not speculate for, or accrue personal gain in or through the land, if this would be detrimental to my neighbor, society, future generations or the land itself.
Land that remains undeveloped has the potential to better show forth God’s glory. Landscapes that are tended and cared for better reflect the glory of the Creator.
Land restoration can be a visible and active expression of our faith. This hands-on craft expresses the hope that relationships between God, humanity and the rest of Creation can be restored and experience substantial healing, even in an imperfect world.
The classes I teach and how I teach them:
I teach two upper-level courses in the Dept. of Biological Sciences: Land Management and Forest Resources. I also co-teach Properties and Management of Soils in the Agroecology Summer Field Intensive at Merry Lea. All of these courses support GC’s Environmental Science undergraduate major.
In the Dept. of Sustainability and Environmental Education I teach Land Management for Environmental Education. Experiential environmental education is "place-based" learning. It occurs at a "place" within a larger landscape. This landscape reflects the economic, social and spiritual values of humans and the biological functions of the ecosystems it encompasses. My course is designed to provide an overview of both the theory and practice of the management of this "place" and to show how land management integrates the environmental and the human spheres.
Given my broader professional experiences and work responsibilities at Merry Lea, I teach to synthesize both knowledge (gnosis) of the topics, and application (praxis) of this knowledge in experiential learning activities on the land. I share my experiences as an environmental practitioner as one context for learning, but I also expect to learn from my students as they share their experiences. I challenge my students to use their experiences and new knowledge as a basis for developing their own understanding within the context which they will engage society.
What students say:
"I loved the field labs…I feel [this class] has given me practical knowledge that I can use in my future employment.”
“We were encouraged to share our personal experience with different aspects of the topic being discussed. Opinions and questions were always encouraged.”
“The tests and labs were graded in a manner that furthered my knowledge beyond the initial grade. Even if my answer was correct, there was lots of written feedback that furthered my understanding beyond the lecture and that was very helpful.”
Bio-control strategies for the non-native invasive species, garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata). Currently cooperating with Cornell University in preparation for the experimental release of insect bio-control for garlic mustard.
Selective breeding to develop a disease-resistant American chestnut (Castanea dentata). Currently cooperating with the American Chestnut Foundation in a 3rd generation backcross planting of a regional ecotype.
Using herbaceous forest ground cover species to estimate relative deer browsing pressure.
Restoration of historic oak woodland ecosystems, and a fen wetland community at Merry Lea.
Conversion of 10 acres of cropland to native prairie at Merry Lea in preparation for the installation of a long-term livestock grazing study.
"Land Trusts" in Hope for the Family Farm. Lavonne Platt, ed., 1987. Faith and Life Press. Newton, KS. 175 p.
W.F. Minter. "Growth and Microclimatic Effects of Northern Red Oak Seedlings Planted Within Tree Shelters in Harvested Forest Openings." 1992. N. Journal of Forestry. 3:112-120.
Field tours/experimental learning relating to forests/wetlands/prairies and their management for environmental, economic and social values.
Care of urban/shade trees
Establishment and management of native plants in human-built environments for storm water control, wildlife habitat and aesthetics.
Tree identification (winter or summer)
Identification and control of non-native invasive plant species.
The use of legally binding “conservation easements” to permanently maintain the conservation values of private lands for future generations.
Serve on my congregation’s Stephen Leader Team in coordination of its Stephen Ministry.
Serve as a land management consultant to Mennonite Church camps.
Merry Lea Environmental Learning Center of Goshen College, P.O. Box 263 Wolf Lake, IN 46796 | Phone (260) 799-5869 • Fax (260) 799-5875