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Letter from the Director

Dear Friend,

The Center for the Environment’s 25th anniversary invites serious reflection on the many ways we have brought positive change to our community and our region – efforts that have laid the foundation for the next 25 years. We began in 1996 with a strong commitment to addressing the environmental challenges our region faced, a desire to serve as a role model for those who want to move toward sustainability, and a pledge to involve Catawba students and faculty in our endeavors.

That is why, from the onset, we have brought diverse people together – community members who realized the value of a beautiful greenway; developers who learned about the importance of green space and mixed-use development; parents who were concerned about the foods they served their families; grandparents who saw the horrifying effects of ground level ozone on their grandchildren’s asthma; bankers who offered financial support to the Clean Air Initiative because they knew it impacted our citizens’ quality of life. Those connections have generated changes that have benefitted our region.

Throughout this website you will read about the causes that, together, we have championed; the ways we have worked together to educate the region; and the moments of transformation we have witnessed when we have offered opportunities for hands-on experiences or hosted conferences that educate and inspire.

As I review the website, I am in awe of the large number of people who have worked with us in different ways over these 25 years. Thanks to each and every one of you. I am truly grateful.


John E. Wear, Executive Director


To provide education and outreach centered on prevalent environmental challenges and to foster community-oriented sustainable solutions that can serve as a model for programs throughout the country.

History of the Center

The Center for the Environment at Catawba College has been deeply involved in our state’s environmental issues since its inception in 1996. We strive to serve as a model to our region, lending our expertise on a wide range of issues – from air and water quality to land preservation and sustainable development. In the process, Catawba students receive a value-added education through involvement in our activities.


The Center for the Environment is currently involved in several major initiatives: the National Youth Environmental Summit, regularly occurring Center speaker events, the North Carolina Green Schools program, and the promotion of sustainable practices.


To learn more about the staff (Click here)

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