Creating a master plan for a multi-use, environmental learning lab : revitalizing the Juanita Hults Environmental Learning Center
Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management
The Juanita Hults Environmental Learning Center (JHELC), located 24 miles northeast of Muncie, once was a place where students could formally learn about ecological systems and where students of all levels could use this space as a learning environment. When Juanita Hults willed her family farm to Ball State University in 1987, she envisioned a “venue for research and education concerning natural habitats and processes.” This property was initially used to instruct school groups and some college courses about nature; however, over the years it has become more agriculturally focused and less focused on educating the youth. For children and young adults to develop an understanding of ecological systems and how each impacts the other and to develop an appreciation for nature and its interactions, they need exposure to hands-on, learning experiences. Therefore, this creative project will provide a master plan concept design for the entire property based on current educational and ecological design research, existing environmental learning center best practices, and in-depth analysis of site programmatic elements. Research into the best restoration practices will be investigated so a functional management and implementation plan can be devised.