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Chowning continues to lead Earth Day tradition at CU

By Gerard Flanagan, news writer/photographer/social media
Office of University Communications

The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22, 1970. Fifty-two years later, members of the Campbellsville University community came together with Dr. John Chowning who began the tradition on campus, to commemorate Earth Day recently at the Turner Log Cabin.

"One thing growing up on a farm in rural Kentucky, we were taught to be good stewards of the soil and God's creation," Chowning, executive assistant to the president for government, community and constituent relations, said.

"As some of you have heard me say, my late father would have probably objected to being called an environmentalist, but he was nonetheless such a person, a conservationist. All good farmers know preservation and stewardship of that which God has given us and his operational plan to be successful."

Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University, said God has given us a command to take care of His creation.

"He does that in Genesis 1, as He commands us to be the stewards of creation. In Genesis 2, He talks about the responsibility we have to be those who cultivate and who care for His creation."

Hopkins said the Book of Leviticus gives more instructions on how we can take care of the Earth.

"This is the responsibility we have, and it's one we take seriously," he said. "It's with that in mind we come to Earth Day. We proudly claim this as an important day at Campbellsville University. I'm pleased to be a part of this."

Campbellsville Mayor Diane Ford-Benningfield and Taylor County Judge/Executive Barry Smith jointly presented a proclamation declaring April 22 was observed as Earth Day in the City of Campbellsville and Taylor County.

The resolution read in part, "Campbellsville University will be placing emphasis once again on Earth stewardship and the care of creation part of an annual campus and community observance of Earth Day with the kickoff ceremony today here at the Turner Log Cabin and with several other activities going on throughout the schedule of the upcoming week.

"Campbellsville University is commended for observing the 2022 Earth Day and Earth Week Celebrations."

The resolution encouraged citizens to "take action during this time and year to be good stewards of the Earth and invest in our planet's future."

Zoe Scott, student assistant at Clay Hill Memorial Forest and member of the Green Minds Club at Campbellsville University, awarded the 2022 recipient of the Howell Environmental Scholarship to Colby Joseph, a sophomore from London, Ky.

Scott thanked Campbellsville University and the Taylor County community for their support of Clay Hill Memorial Forest in the aftermath of a December 2021 tornado that caused significant damage to the forest.

"The damage is heartbreaking and overwhelming," Scott said. "We've had to be innovative in addressing the damage and careful while attempting to help the forest. Many people have reached out in the cleanup and simply to offer sympathy.

"This experience is a beautiful example of our Earth Day theme this year, which is 'Invest in our planet.' Watching our community come together to protect and restore Clay Hill has truly been touching."

Greens Club President Miranda Peacock, a junior from Glasgow, Ky., and Vice President Bradley O'Bryan, a junior from Mt. Washington, Ky., gave an update on the club's happenings. O'Bryan said Green Minds is revamping the recycling program, starting with paper recycling.

"We just need everyone on campus to do their best and recycle as much paper as they can so we can grow this program," he said.

Chowning presented the Friend of the Earth Stewardship Award to Dr. Josiah Marineau, who served as an associate professor of political science, "in recognition of support of Earth stewardship and respect for God's creation."

Azucena "Susie" Trejo Williams, assistant professor of art and design, presented the George Howell Earth Stewardship Club Award to the Education Club and the Green Minds Club.

The club award is presented to two organizations who submitted proposals for a project to promote Earth stewardship.

Trejo Williams presented the George Howell Earth Stewardship Student Award to Shiuichi Kitajima, a freshman from Japan, for his 3-D paper mache tree titled "Upcycled Tree," and Jeffrey Short, a senior from Tompkinsville, for his poem titled "The Future is Epilogue."

Dr. Justy Engle, associate professor of English, read Short's poem.

The student award is presented to two students who submit work based on their interpretation of Earth stewardship.

A tree to be planted on campus was dedicated during the ceremony.

Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university that has enrolled up to 12,000 students yearly. The university offers over 100 programs of study including doctoral, masters, bachelors, associate and certification programs. The website for complete information is\

This story was posted on 2022-06-23 11:21:23
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Tree dedication service held at Earth Day celebration

2022-06-23 - Taylor County, KY - Photo by Michael Hodges.
Those gathering to celebrate Earth Day recently at Campbellsville University's Turner Log Cabin include from left: Front row -- Miranda Peacock; Dr. Josiah Marineau; Zoe Scott; Barry Smith, Taylor County judge/executive; Dr. Joseph Hopkins, president of Campbellsville University; Diane Ford-Benningfield, Campbellsville Mayor; Dr. Donna Hedgepath, Dr. Justy Engle, Kate Cecil, Trent Creason, Chris Davis and Dr. Robin Magruder. Back row--Dr. John Chowning, Miranda Peacock, Bradley O'Bryan, Kelli Humphrey and Shaelyn Bishop.

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