News Archives » La Vista Ecological Learning Center
Our Global Biodiversity Crisis – What You Can Do October 16th, 2020
Submitted by Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, director, La Vista Ecological Learning Center
The loss of biodiversity on our planet is even more urgent than the climate crisis but less well-known, putting people, wildlife, and future generations at risk. Scientists report that one million species are in danger of extinction in the coming decades. Urgent action needs to be taken now to reverse the massive loss of plants, insects, and other creatures we depend on for a stable climate, sustainable food supplies and essential pollination services.
All of us can help by participating in Citizen Science Projects right in our local areas. Projects include observing wildlife, measuring night sky brightness, monitoring water quality, counting birds, monitoring bird nests, and many more. Visit the National Geographic website to get ideas. You will be working with thousands of other volunteers and scientists to gather and share important data to a global database.
Visit the National Geographic website to participate.
Photos courtesy, Unsplash.
Introducing the Lavista Learning Garden June 17th, 2020
Since its inception in 2001, La Vista Ecological Learning Center has taught that how we eat determines, to a great extent, how we care for creation. That is why we were aligned with the Community Supported Garden at La Vista for 15 years. Since that project ended in 2019, we have established La Vista Learning Garden under the umbrella of the Oblate Ecological Initiative.
The Learning Garden will be a model and gathering place for novices and area participants to learn and practice:
- sustainable gardening skills like creating a garden plan organic soil preparation and fertilization crop rotation choosing vegetables and their planting times methods for harvesting vegetables growing fruit trees native flower propagation a variety of composting methods
- raising and caring for chickens
- backyard beekeeping
- cooking and nutrition
- hand-carving kitchen utensils
- DIY recycled garden decorations
Vernon DePauw is our head gardener and teacher. He is a nationally known wood carver as well as a backyard gardener, poultryman, and beekeeper. Vernon has been a presenter at the Learning Center for several years. Vernon is faithfully supported by his wife Kathy who is also a volunteer.
Sister Maxine collaborates with Vernon to plan, organize, advertise and execute programs.
Volunteers – A small group of volunteers contribute their skills.
This project has been made possible with the support, encouragement and help of Seamus Finn, OMI, and OMI Novitiate Leadership: Pat McGee, Frank Kuczera and Humphrey Milimo.
Yale Scholar Delivers Keynote at Day of Reflection on “Laudato SI” in Belleville Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows May 2nd, 2018
(Originally published on www.omiusa.org)
Thanks to Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of the La Vista Ecological Learning Ctr.
On Saturday, April 21, Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker gave the keynote address at a conference held at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois entitled Our Sacred Earth, Our Common Home. Dr. Tucker is a Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar at Yale University where she has appointments in the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies as well as the Divinity School and the Department of Religious Studies. This event is the second in a series devoted to the study and implementation of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’.
According to Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of the La Vista Ecological Learning Center which co-sponsored the event, “The participants were inspired by Dr. Tucker’s enthusiasm as she shared her appreciation of papal encyclical Laudato Si’. She helped us to wake up to its importance in the Catholic tradition of social encyclicals as well as its worldwide influence and impact beyond Catholicism. Being a leader in the emerging field of Religion and Ecology, she was able to unite the two as she led us through the content of the document.”
Throughout her presentation, Dr. Tucker praised Pope Francis for his leadership and call to action: “The spirituality of Francis in the encyclical is clear: It begins with Mother Earth, the Canticle to Brother Sun and Sister Moon, Bonaventure, you all know the mind’s path to God goes through the natural world…and so much of this is awe-evoking action…we’re looking for renewable energy, the renewal energy we’re looking for is the energy of the spirit. To renew the face of the earth. And that’s where religious communities, spiritual sensibilities and moral force will make a difference.”
After the keynote, the attendees split up for break out sessions, one by Sr. Cheryl Kemner, OSF and Nicole Heerlein of Franciscans for Earth: “The Challenge of Technology and Simple Lifestyle,” another featuring Sr. Maxine Pohlman, SSND, Director of La Vista Ecological Learning Center: “Backyard Revolution,” “Care for the Earth; Care for the Poor” by Sr. Connie Probst, OSF – Co-Director, St. Anthony’s Food Pantry, and “What Can My Parish and Family Do?” by Jamie Hasemeier of Holy Redeemer Parish. In addition, Dr. Tucker held a break out session for religious sisters.
The event, which attracted about 100 people ran from 9 AM to Noon at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The day was co-sponsored by: the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows; La Vista Ecological Learning Center; the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
Upcoming Event: “Our Sacred Earth, Our Common Home” April 11th, 2018
Reflection & Action on Laudato Si ‘
Saturday, April 21
9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Keynote Speaker: Mary Evelyn Tucker, Ph.D.
Senior Lecturer and Research Scholar
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale Divinity School
Cost: $25 for adults, $15 for students
To register call 618-394-6270 or go online: www.snows.org/events-2/our-sacred-earth-our-common-home
This event is the second in a series devoted to the study and implementation of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical on ecology, Laudato Si’. Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, who collaborated for many years with eco-theologian and Earth scholar Fr. Thomas Berry, will deliver the keynote address. The participants will then take part in a series of “hands-on” break-out sessions. The morning will conclude with a feedback and takeaway session. This event is intended for individuals and parish groups looking for practical ways to care for our common home, our sacred Earth.
“Our Sacred Earth, Our Common Home: Reflection and Action on Laudato Si” is sponsored by the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, La Vista Ecological Learning Center, the Franciscan Sisters of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, and the School Sisters of Notre Dame.
La Vista Ecological Learning Center January 19th, 2017
Celebrating a Worldwide Season of Creation September 1st, 2016
La Vista Ecological Learning Center invites you to participate in the
Worldwide Season of Creation
September 1 – October 4, 2016
Last year Pope Francis designated September 1 as the World Day of Prayer for Care of Creation, joining the Orthodox Church which has been celebrating it since 1989. The day has now been extended by some groups to be a month-long Season of Creation, ending on October 4 (Feast of St. Francis).
Speaking to the faithful on Sunday, August 28th, 2016, Pope Francis said, “This coming Thursday, September 1st, we will mark the World Day of Prayer for the care of creation, together with our Orthodox brothers and with other Churches,” describing the event as, “an opportunity to strengthen the common commitment to safeguard life, respecting the environment and nature.”
Announcing this special day in 2015, Pope Francis said Christians want to make their special contribution to safeguarding creation, but to do that they must rediscover the spiritual foundations of their approach to earthly realities, beginning with an acknowledgment that “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature,” but lived in communion with all worldly realities.
The ecological crisis, he said, is a summons “to a profound spiritual conversion” and to a way of life that clearly shows they are believers. Quoting his encyclical, he said, “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience.”
For Your Reflection
Pope Francis calls upon our Christian faith to care for nature and for the most vulnerable among us, honoring the three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships: with God, with our neighbor, and with Earth. This implies a relationship of mutual responsibility between human beings and nature.
Selected Quotes from Laudato Si’
“Each community can take from the bounty of Earth whatever it needs for subsistence, but it also has the duty to protect Earth and ensure its fruitfulness for coming generations. “(67)
“Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, and political and for the distribution of good. Its worst impact will probably be felt by developing countries.” (25)
“Fresh drinking water is an issue of primary importance, since it is indispensable for human life and for supporting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems” (28)
“The spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities and therefore from the very heart of things, something new can emerge”. (80)
“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love and boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains: everything is, as it were, a caress of God. ” (84)
“Everything is interconnected, and genuine care for our own lives and our relationships with nature is inseparable from fraternity, justice and faithfulness to others.” (70)
“Our relationship with the environment can never be isolated from our relationship with others and with God. “(119)
What touches your heart? What calls you to action?
(Thank you to Denise Turcotte, CSC, for calling us to deepen our relationship with our rare and precious planet.)