Princeton Theological Seminary Celebrates Earth Day - Princeton Theological Seminary
Earth Day

Princeton Theological Seminary’s beautiful campus, with its blooming flowers, shady trees, and well-kept lawns, is the perfect backdrop for leisurely strolls, collaborative meetings, and quiet contemplation. Yet, this picturesque setting belies hours of hard work and years of expertise honed by the Seminary’s dedicated grounds crew. In an effort to highlight these important members of the Princeton Seminary community and shed light on new sustainable initiatives sprouting up around campus, students, faculty, and staff are invited to participate in special Earth Day programming on Monday, April 22.

In recent months, Seminary leadership has worked closely with a landscape architect and the grounds and facilities team to develop a plan that will transform key areas of the campus into sustainable landscapes. Perceptive members of the community may have already noticed some initial changes, such as the removal of shrubs outside the Administration building, in front of Hodge Hall, and around the Seminary Chapel. On Earth Day, members of the grounds crew will join forces with student workers from the Farminary and others on campus to start the important work of laying down soil, compost, and seeds, and planting sustainable plants for this initiative. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to register in advance and get involved in this meaningful, collaborative event.

“Part of the goal of this Earth Day program is to reinforce the idea that conversations around sustainability are theologically significant,” says Farminary Director Nathan Stucky. “But we also want to use this opportunity to push against the caricature of manual labor as unintellectual or not requiring expertise. Not only is this work intellectual, but it’s worthy of theological reflection.”

The Earth Day event will begin at 10:30 a.m. with a teaching session, followed by Worship and lunch. By 12:30 p.m., everyone will decamp to various spots on campus to begin their work. “The beauty of the Seminary grounds contributes to the family feel of the community we have here,” says Grounds Supervisor Jean Leontus. “Those that volunteer with us on Earth Day will walk away from the experience with pride in their hard work and gratitude for what they did to help preserve nature and our campus environment.”

Additional Eco-Opportunities

Members of the campus community who are interested in sustainability will be delighted to learn that Earth Day isn’t the only opportunity to engage in thoughtful discussions about the environment.

Starting May 2, the Farminary will host its first session of First Thursdays at the Farm, a series of intimate dinners running through November. Each month, this gathering will bring together scholars, activists, and artists. The dinner menu will showcase locally sourced produce grown right at the Farminary and will be expertly prepared by a local chef. For the May dinner, attendees can look forward to engaging in a conversation with Carolyn Finney, PhD. She is a renowned storyteller, cultural geographer, and the author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors (2014, UNC Press).

Sustainability and agriculture are also baked into several programs at the Seminary. The Master of Arts in Theology and Ecology immerses participants in theological reflection at the Farminary, challenges them to wrestle with the complex history of humans and the environment, and highlights the need to remember Christ’s love for all creation in developing a just and sustainable vision for the future. Eco-conscious students are also invited to join TheoEco, a student group focused on climate, environment, sustainability, and ecological justice, and how these issues intersect with the Church. “A core calling of Christian faith is to know and love God, neighbor, and self,” says Stucky of the importance of these conversations. “Our greater intimacy with the earth makes this possible.”