Planting Roots for the Future: Sustainability at Kanuga

02.19.2020 - Camps & Outdoor Education, Kanuga Stories

As one of Kanuga’s core values, the principle of sustainability guides decisions, projects, and work around campus. Ultimately, our goal is to treasure God’s gift of land and resources while preserving our legacy for future generations.

Embracing Change to Live More Sustainably

As we look back at 2019, we celebrate our progress of living more sustainably. One of the more notable items was the incorporation of our Mangalitsa pigs into the existing garden program. Our garden program served campers at the Mountain Trail Outdoor School (MTOS), Camp Bob, and guests at Summer Guest Period. Our Foster Educational Garden Center also received updates. Staff built raised beds in an effort to increase productivity and reduce workload.

Beyond the farm and gardens, we began to explore better and more sustainable methods on campus. “We recently instituted a Green Team of multiple managers at Kanuga,” said Clint DeWitt, Environmental Projects Manager. “Their roles are to identify low-hanging fruit for sustainable initiatives on campus.”

In addition, Dwayne Owens, Property Manager, began to explore ways to economize Kanuga’s usage of power, heating, and natural gas. “We have already seen improvements that simultaneously lower our budgetary needs and reliance on fossil fuels,” says Clint.

Guests who visited Kanuga in 2019 may seen first-hand some of the sustainability methods already in place. Natural decorations were used for the Christmas celebration and single-use paper and plastic usage was reduced. “The largest change comes in the form of our mindset. Now that sustainability has been identified as a core value of our organization, we can easily encourage guests, staff, and the community to think of how their actions will live into our core values,” says Clint.

Taking Care of God’s Creation in the Coming Year

As Kanuga moves through 2020, we continue to discover new ways to live sustainably. Currently, staff is exploring ways to manage the property for exotic and invasive species so we can nurture a healthy and biodiverse forest.

On the farm this summer, eco-tours, bees, and gardens will continue to educate guests about the environment and agriculture. New additions include Kanuga-grown shiitakes cultivated on white oak logs salvaged from High Rocks. “We are also adding varieties of edible flowers, as well as some new heritage varieties of tomatoes and carrot that we haven’t tried before in our garden,” says Clint.

While the journey of living sustainability begins with small steps, Clint believes each action carries an important message. “If Kanuga can wrestle with the issue of sustainability and share the lessons learned and experiences gained, our hope is that we can inspire the church and the next generation,” says Clint. “If we can help create leaders and experts in sustainable living and land management, then we will be doing good works indeed.”