Sailing on it. Swimming in it. Walking by it. Gazing at it. Perhaps the most common bond we who love Culver share is our interaction with and appreciation for Lake Maxinkuckee. We share that bond with Henry Harrison Culver who in an interview in 1893 described some of his earliest memories with the lake.
I spent the whole summer (of 1883) by the side of the lake. I fished nearly all day, and lived in a tent. When fall came, I was a different man, it had such a glorious effect on my health that I determined to acquire property here.
Henry Harrison Culver
The Academies, of course, sprung from Mr. Culver’s energy and vision which in no small measure was inspired by his love of the lake. Mr. Culver certainly is not the only one who loved Lake Maxinkuckee. The Potawattomi who lived here for scores of generations prior to European settlers’ arrival certainly had a deep and abiding respect for the lake. Maxinkuckee is a 1,864 acre kettle lake created approximately 15,000 years ago by the receding glaciers. Kettle lakes are depressions in the earth’s crust left behind after partially buried ice blocks melt and the depression is filled with water. The lake is 2.6 miles long and 1.6 miles wide with a maximum depth of 88 feet and an average depth of 24 ft. Culver Academies is a founding member and strong supporter of the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Fund and Council. These nonprofit organizations, created in 1982, serve to steward the environmental health of the lake. Culver Academies staff and faculty have served continually on both the LMEF, which raises money and approves projects, as well as the LMEC, which identifies and implements environmental projects beneficial to the lake. For more information about this important organization, go here. http://www.lakemax.org/
The Lake is not the only significant natural area on Culver’s 1,800 acre campus. The 220 “Bird Sanctuary” is a conserved wooded area on the campus’ northern boundary. The “Bird” contains miles of horse and hiking trails, streams, wetlands and meadows. It is home to Culver’s ropes course, the Woodcraft Council Ring, horsemanship elements and, of course, many birds!
Culver’s pollinator prairie is a managed tall grass and forb-dominant prairie. Designed and installed with the support of the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the Indiana Dept of Natural Resources and Ducks Unlimited, the prairie provides habitat for important pollinator species like the Monarch butterfly and also serves as an outdoor classroom for both summer and winter students. The prairie is also home to Culver’s honey bee hive.