Cope Environmental Center

4910 Shoemaker Road
Centerville, IN 47330



To promote the sustainable use of the earth's resources through education, demonstration and research.


To inspire and challenge individuals and communities to achieve ecologically sustainable lifestyles to secure a sustainable future for all life on earth.


In 1948, Jim and Helen Cope purchased about 30 acres of farm land between Centerville and Richmond and began planting a variety of trees, shrubs and other plants. They pursued a sustainable lifestyle which involved the use of alternative energy, energy conservation, composting and organic gardening. During their years of teaching, Jim at Earlham College and Helen at Centerville Junior-Senior High School, the property was the site of many field trips. Over the years, the collections of deciduous trees and conifers have matured and achieved regional significance in size and diversity. Simultaneously, their knowledge and insight regarding the many ways to conserve natural resources and live a sustainable lifestyle grew.

In 1992, Jim and Helen partnered with their friend Francis Parks, a dedicated botanist, horticulturist, and conservationist, to create the Francis Parks Foundation and the Cope Environmental Center to give permanent protection to this valuable piece of land and to teach others what they had learned.

In 1997, the Center tripled in size with the gift of 70 acres from Gertrude 'Lucky' Ward, a retired biology professor at Earlham College. Lucky was dedicated to the conservation of natural and cultural resources within the region. With the addition of another parcel of land in 1999, the Center increased to its current size of 102 acres.

Images provided by, Ticketmaster
Please use "Flag This Place" to alert us about content that is inappropriate or needs immediate attention. Nothing you submit will be shared with other site visitors.

Upcoming AARP Events

View All AARP Events »

Find information about getting a COVID-19 vaccine in your state. CDC information is available at; additional AARP information and resources are at En español, visite

AARP Member Card

Join or Renew Today


  • Immediate access to your member benefits
  • Discounts on travel and everyday savings
  • Subscription to the award-winning AARP The Magazine
  • An ally on the issues that matter most to you in Centerville
  • Free membership for your spouse or partner