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Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Friends of the Oblates Preserves Receives Award @ Illinois State Fair August 25th, 2021

(Photo L-R): Bill Rathmann, DNR Director Colleen Callahan, Sister Maxine Pohlman, Robert White, Connie Rathmann, Sandy Budde, Bill Zimmerman

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Congratulations to Friends of the Oblates Nature Preserves for receiving a well-deserved “Volunteers of the Year” award from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at the State Fair in Springfield, IL!
 
In collaboration with La Vista Ecological Learning Center, these faithful workers from O’Fallon, Waterloo, Edwardsville, Godfrey, and Elsah Illinois, collectively contributed 930 hours in monthly workdays. Their efforts in removing invasive species like bush honeysuckle, winter creeper and oriental bittersweet contribute to the preservation of biodiversity by allowing native species to thrive again. In addition they are helping to preserve an ecologically sensitive habitat where threatened and endangered species live or pass through during migration.
 
Sixteen acres of land at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois were officially preserved in the Illinois Nature Preserve System in 1993. The first priority in preserving land is to protect biodiversity which is necessary for the continuation of life in our common home.

Illinois State Fair at a Glance:

  • The Illinois State Fair is an annual 11-day festival celebrating agriculture, farmers and related industries
  • First celebrated in 1853 in Chicago, IL, the fair is now in its 158th year.
  • The fair has moved to Springfield, IL and is held nearly every year with few exceptions (it was canceled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic)
  • Average attendance is around half a million, climbing to nearly 1 million in 2012 and 2013 and dropping back down to about 500,000 in 2019.
  • Corn-dogs-on-sticks, a popular edible treat at U.S. fairs is said to have originated at the Illinois State Fair
 

Introducing the Lavista Learning Garden June 17th, 2020


Oblate Learning Garden in Godfrey, IL

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

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.

MISSION

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

STAFF

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.

[Novices with chicken coop they painted. It was remodeled by Vernon.]

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.

[Novices and Vernon with hives built by Vernon and painted by novices.]

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