November 13, 2010
Of the many events that celebrated Rollins’ 125th Anniversary, one particular event allowed family members to collaborate with students in contributing to the restoration of a Winter Park treasure – the Genius Reserve. In doing so, parents and students took in the scenery at the majestic 50-acre tract, once home to Rollins’ late president, Hugh McKean.
Before becoming McKean’s residence, the property was acquired in 1920 by Charles Morse, a Winter Park philanthropist. Jeannette Genius Mckean, Morses’ daughter and Rollins student, later inherited the land along with her husband, Hugh Mckean. Lined with mesic and live oak trees, the area was a habitat for hawks, ospreys, bald eagles, otters, gopher tortoises and red foxes. In 2002, it became a restoration project for the Department of Environmental Studies at Rollins College and the Elizabeth Genius Morse Foundation.
The Genius Reserve offered an excellent service-learning opportunity for Rollins students and parents. Professor of Environmental Studies Bruce Stephenson and the Office of Community Engagement came together to offer parents the opportunity to learn about ways to be involved at the Genius Reserve including giving them the chance to mark trees needing to be relocated.
This is this third year that Rollins families have been involved in community-based projects during Family Weekend. The idea was inspired by Interim Provost Laurie Joyner, who wanted to engage parents in mission-driven experiences while visiting the Central Florida Community.
By Ateesh Gupta '13