Cope Environmental Center

Executive Director, Alison Zajdel with one of Cope's many giant conifers

Address: 4910 Shoemaker RoadCenterville, IN 47330, Wayne County

Contact Information: Alison Zajdel, Executive Director,  or 765-855-3188

Founders, Jim & Helen Cope and Fran Parks made conservation a way of life and dedicated themselves to teaching others the importance of sustainability. Each year, over 5,000 students-from pre-kindergarten to college- visit CEC to deepen their understanding of the natural world through hands-on experiences.  Wetlands, ponds, prairies, woodlands, grasslands, hardwood forests and a nationally significant collection of conifer trees are among the nature “labs” where students regain a sense of wonder. The static images and concepts of textbooks come alive for students as they connect classroom discussions with the “real thing;” learning and experimenting with topics such as plant life cycles, biodiversity, water systems, conservation and sustainability.

  • The Sustainable Living Demonstration Home is the previous home of Gertrude “Lucky” Ward which was donated to CEC along with over 70 acres of land in 1997. An initial remodeling was completed in 1999. In 2005 CEC dedicated this early 1900’s farmhouse to as our Sustainable Living Demonstration Home.
  • The Green Building: This building was constructed in 2005 using insulated concrete forms. The structure’s forms are similar to giant cfc – free Styrofoam hollow building blocks. Once the walls are constructed they are filled with concrete and provide a wall with an insulated value of R-50. These walls also withstand hurricane (or tornados in Indiana) strength winds.
  • Composting Toilet: Visitors to CEC use a composting toilet located behind the Education Center. The structure was installed over a decade ago and still works great! With regular rotation and added sawdust, the Clivus Multrum produces useable compost within six years. Many newer models produce even quicker (some within months) and can be installed inside the home.
  • Comprehensive Environmental Education and Programming Facility:  Construction of this new “Living Building Challenge” facility will begin in 2015 and greatly enhance the educational services provided to the East Central Indiana area.  The building will be a model of sustainability and serve as the “trailhead” for the Bicentennial Legacy Conservation Area stretching from US 40 south to Brookville.