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Crown Point Ecology Center


Abstract Located on 130 acres of farmland near the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Northeastern Ohio, Crown Point Ecology Center is a ministry of the Dominican Sisters of Akron. The Ecology Center offers a variety of adult programs that teach organic gardening, wetland enhancement, earth literacy, eco-spirituality, and voluntary simplicity. Four kinds of children’s programs are also offered: Farm Based Environmental Education, Youth Service, summer Earth Camps, and Home School programs. The Center’s library houses an array of ecologically-oriented resources on topics such as spirituality, natural history, and organic gardening. In addition to environmental education, Crown Point Ecology Center is committed to sustainable agriculture and has a ten-acre certified organic farm. Half of the harvest is donated to the Akron/Canton Regional Foodbank. The Center also sponsors a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in which approximately sixty individuals or families purchase “shares” in the winter and receive fresh, organic produce on a regular basis throughout the harvest season in return.
Religion Christianity
(Roman Catholic)
Geographic Location United States of America
(Bath, Ohio)
Duration of Project 1989–Present
History

Reflecting the Congregation’s growing concerns about the environment, Crown Point Ecology Center was founded in 1989 as the Dominican Sisters of Akron came to see Earth literacy and sustainable agriculture as a new form of ministry. The decision to establish an ecology center arose as the Sisters contemplated how best to use the Crown Point property after the closure of a preschool that had occupied the site between 1968 and 1977. Determined to find an ecologically responsible use for the land, the Sisters resisted pressure to sell or develop the property and opted to use their 130 acres to raise awareness about the connections between spirituality and ecology. They discontinued all synthetic chemical use on their fields in 1989 and had a resource audit performed the following year. After the resource audit, the congregation initiated various revitalization and restoration projects, including tree plantings and wetland construction. In 1990, the Sisters began to offer workshops and study groups around topics such as bioregionalism, cosmology, eco-spirituality, and organic growing. From the beginning, organic gardening has been one of the main ways that the Sisters at Crown Point model sustainability. In 1997, they began to produce food for the Akron/Canton Regional Foodbank and started the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program the following year. A new environmental site plan for the Center was completed in March of 2002. The Sisters, staff, and Advisory Board at Crown Point are researching green energy and green building techniques for a proposed construction project that would increase the space currently available for indoor programs. They have also planned for a small eco-village on their land. 2003 brings expanded options for CSA members, several hands-on workshops about land use for religious congregations, a storage barn project, and continued outreach to the public that highlights the principles of community, justice, spirituality, and sustainability.

Mission Statement “The mission of Crown Point is to demonstrate practical applications of ecology. The Center connects environmental preservation, social responsibility, and spirituality, and seeks to model ways of living simply and sustainability. Grounded in the Catholic Dominican tradition, Crown Point’s interfaith emphasis makes it open to all who share the commitment to protecting and restoring the Earth.”
Partner Organizations

In addition to numerous religious congregations, the Crown Point Ecology Center works with other organizations such as:

Akron/Canton Regional Foodbank
The Dominican Alliance
Cuyahoga Valley National Park
University of Akron
Sisters of Earth
The Akron City Schools
Cleveland and Akron Parochial School Systems
Summit Education Initiative
CYO and Community Services
Scouts
Garden Clubs
Various Congregations of Women

Long-Term Goals In addition to being a visible and respected model and resource for organic and ecological ministry, Crown Point will provide energy efficient and environmentally sensitive facilities in order to support its mission and guiding principles of community, sustainability, justice, and spirituality.
Bibliography None Listed
Additional Research Resources None Listed
Contact Information Crown Point Ecology Center
P.O. Box 484
3220 Ira Road
Bath, OH 44210
Ph:       330.668.8992
Fax:     330.668.9176
Email: (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)