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Catawba College’s Center for the Environment is celebrating 20 years of providing education and outreach centered on prevalent environmental challenges and fostering community-oriented sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for programs throughout the country.

Dr. John Wear, Executive Director, shares the following reflections on the Center’s history and work:  “The Center for the Environment’s 20th anniversary invites serious reflection on the many ways we have brought positive change to our community and our region. We began in 1996 with a strong commitment to addressing the environmental challenges our area faced, a desire to serve as a role model for those who want to move toward sustainability, and an ironclad conviction that the conservation of our natural resources is in everyone’s best interest.

That is why, from the onset, we have brought diverse people together- the banker who offered financial support to the Clean Air Initiative because he knew it impacted our citizen’s quality of life; the real estate agent who realized the value of a beautiful greenway; the builder who learned about the importance of green space and mixed-use development; the grandfather who saw the horrifying effects of ground level ozone on his granddaughter’s asthma; the mother who was concerned about the foods she served her family.

A number of the efforts have been highly successful: the formation of the Salisbury Greenway; the two air quality initiatives; The National Environmental Summit for High School Students; the Solarize Salisbury-Rowan initiative. Others have increased awareness incrementally through presentations by thought leaders or events that encouraged discussion about things that matter.

I have known for a long time that preserving the environment is my vocation- my calling. We are called to conserve and protect our resources. We are called to make sure our children and grandchildren have a viable future. We are called to make the world a better place.”

See our Calendar of Events for some of the special programs coming to The Center for the Environment as they mark this significant anniversary, or visit www.centerfortheenvironment.org.

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