A Knox County Almanac

Conversations on Conservation: Reflecting on the impact of aesthetic conservation for an alumnus

Alex Hoffman
April 1, 2019

It is likely true that one’s college years are incredibly transformative regarding the manner in which one views the world. College provides an opportunity for serious self-reflection, which is often guided by one’s collegiate environment. At Kenyon, students are afforded the aesthetic beauty rarely found elsewhere. These aesthetics are comprised not only of buildings around campus but also the surrounding countryside. Undoubtedly this atmosphere has molded the outlook of numerous Kenyon alumni throughout their successful careers. From sustainable agriculture to renewable energy, Kenyon graduates are dedicated to the importance of conservation and sustainability.

Speaking with my grandfather, Calvin Frost ’63, one is able to ascertain exactly how Kenyon’s natural environment shaped his career interests. Calvin graduated from Kenyon with degree in English and began working in the recycling business. Frost founded Channeled Resources Group, a 100 percent waste paper recycling company, which has prospered since its inception. As he puts it, “There is no question, at least in my mind, that my pre-Kenyon and Kenyon years helped form my position on the environment today.” As a college student it is easy to take for granted the beauty that graces the surrounding landscape, but as Calvin graduated, he became a dedicated alumnus, going on to receive Kenyon’s Gregg Cup as recognition for his significant service to the Kenyon community. “We lived in Columbus and visited Kenyon frequently. Gambier and the surrounding countryside and farmland was quiet and peaceful. It teemed with wildlife, flowers and birds. We would walk with our children in the woods and on the country roads.”

Like so many Kenyon alumni, Frost’s appreciation for Kenyon extended beyond the hill. His years of visiting the campus helped “firmly shape,” his opinions on the environment. In succeeding years, Frost began writing a monthly column for Label and Narrow Web, a leading magazine in the label industry. He titled his column "Letters From the Earth," an ode to his American literature class at Kenyon. The column focuses on sustainability within his industry as well as in the world. In 2018, the Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute renamed its Environmental Leadership Award in honor of Calvin’s commitment to positive environmental practices within the industry.

It is likely that without the sort of natural environment of Kenyon, the relationship between alumni and nature may be dampened. The active relationship between these two entities is of vital importance to the essence of Kenyon and is certainly worthy of continual observance. The preservation of this relationship is facilitated by the Philander Chase Conservancy: “The beauty of the conservancy is the effort to protect the natural balance of nature in the community.” As Frost puts it, “In my view, the need for preserving our environment in its natural form is of the utmost importance. I can think of nothing more important in Gambier and Knox County … than supporting land conservation … May the Philander Chase Conservancy grow and prosper in the years to come.”

The Philander Chase Conservancy exists to protect the natural beauty of the farms, woodlands, waters and open spaces surrounding Kenyon College and to preserve the rural character of the region at large. Learn more at kenyon.edu/pchase or contact Managing Director Lisa Schott '80 at 740-427-5902 or schottl@kenyon.edu.