Ursuline celebrates ‘Preservation Month’

HiPEarthFest1

Sarah and Hannah joined other HiPsters in presenting a booth at EarthFest 2014. Over 15,000 people attended Ohio’s premier environmental education event.

In Centennial, author James A. Michener asserts “During the few years allotted to each of us, we are the guardians of our earth, the custodians of our heritage, and the caretakers of our future.”

What an inspiring affirmation for preserving cultural memory and the intersections between Historic Preservation and environmental responsibility! The above statement encourages emphasis on the importance of the land and distinctive sense of place in our personal and national identity.

Preservation students focus on just those elements every day as they explore and appraise cultural landscape – that connection between what the Earth provides, what humans have created on it/of it, and the geography of hope, possibility, and achievement that is inherent in American culture.

Because of this perspective, the returning and increasing emphasis on sustainability is welcome and, as it has been for decades, continues to be an integral part of the Historic Preservation conversation. As such it is strongly woven throughout Ursuline’s HiP program curriculum.

In April, UC HiPsters explored these connections by creating and presenting a booth themed “The Greenest Building is the One that is Already Built” at EarthFest 2014.[1] Sponsored by the Earth Day Coalition, this event brought 15,000 visitors to the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds to explore over 250 exhibits on various approaches to sustainability and environmental responsibility. Today, EarthFest is Ohio’s largest environmental education event and the longest running Earth Day celebration in the U.S.

This May, Ursuline HiPsters will continue their activism as they celebrate Preservation Month with active social media and by participating in a number of programs in Northeastern Ohio. We’ll keep you posted on our activities!

Community connections and grassroots efforts continue to be important tools and effective ways our Historic Preservation students explore and discuss how their chosen profession enriches and informs (and is enriched and informed by) the efforts of so many other disciplines and perspectives. And it is a great way to see activists promoting their own most meaningful issues.

So this year, as we transition from winter into spring, from April’s Earth Awareness Month into May’s Historic Preservation Month, please take moment to reflect on your place, our place, in the grand scheme of past/present/future. How do you see your role in transforming the world, or your little corner of it, to create a better future?

Perhaps “Wilderness Warrior” Theodore Roosevelt said it best when he challenged “”Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us.”

Like to know more?  Some resources that UC HiPsters follow are:

Preservation Month, National Trust for Historic Preservation at http://www.preservationnation.org/issues/preservation-month-2014-embark-inspire-engage.html

GreenCityBlueLake at http://www.gcbl.org

Earth Day Coalition at http://www.earthdaycoalition.org/content/overview

Sustainable Cleveland 2019 at http://www.city.cleveland.oh.us/CityofCleveland/Home/Community/ThingsToDo/AISummit

FreshWater Cleveland at http://www.freshwatercleveland.com

Some documentaries that UCHipsters find inspirational are:

Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time

A Fierce Green Fire: The Battle for a Living Planet

Wilderness: The Great Debate

[1] Attributed to Carl Elefante, FAIA, who is recognized for his advancements in sustainable design and green preservation.

About Bari Oyler Stith, Ph.D.

Director, Historic Preservation Program, Ursuline College

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