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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.]


U.S Oblate Novices Support Garden Fundraiser & Concert at La Vista July 18th, 2017

 Pictures from the 2017 Pollinator Garden Fundraiser/Concert, Godfrey, IL
(Courtesy of Fr. Jack Lau, OMI)

La Vista is a part of Oblate Ecological Initiative, a ministry of the US Oblates Province efforts on priority for the Integrity of Creation.

The pollinator garden is one of three restoration projects of La Vista. It aims to offset threats to the monarch butterfly migration, assure a diverse food source throughout the season, and provide herbicide-free nectar for a variety of pollinators.

The pollinator garden was created in 2014 in response to threats to the monarch butterfly migration and bee colony collapse. Volunteers weeded and seeded a 6,000 square foot area.  An Eagle Scout troop made four benches for the garden.  The garden continues to be developed each year.

Since pollinators are responsible for every third bite of food we eat, and because their disappearance creates a hole in the ecosystem, we consider this effort important in contributing to the integrity of creation. 

Monarch butterflies are migrants traveling from the North to Mexico and back yearly.

Read more about the work of the Oblate Ecological Initiative at http://www.lavistaelc.org/


La Vista Celebrates Autumn Equinox September 23rd, 2014

B6On Saturday, September 20, thirty people gathered at La Vista to learn about the fall Monarch migration and to celebrate the beginning of autumn.

To introduce themselves, participants told about the last time they spotted a Monarch. Maxine Pohlman, Director of the Oblate Ecological Initiative at Godfrey said, “We learned much about one another, our country or state of origin, and the presence and absence of Monarchs in our areas. Our sharing whetted our appetites for viewing the YouTube video “Plight of the Monarchs”, a twenty minute informative presentation filmed in central Illinois. We became aware of the threats to the endangered phenomenon of the annual Monarch migration, such as habitat loss, use of pesticides, and disappearance of the valuable milkweed plant.”

She added, “Next we headed outside to a patch of milkweed that has been cordoned off and allowed to grow throughout the season. As we stood there listening to a reading about the Monarch, one beautiful butterfly showed up to delight us – right on cue!”

Click here to read more »


OEI Celebrates Earth Hour March 30th, 2014

DSC04826Oblates and friends at the Oblate Ecological Initiative at La Vista celebrated Earth Hour, a worldwide movement organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to recognize the importance of energy conservation and actions to protect Earth.

The international event is held annually to encourage individuals, communities, households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on the last Saturday in March, as a symbol for their commitment to the planet

The group at La Vista sang the a night prayer around the camp fire – “Lights Out La Vista – Night Prayer” (Download PDF)

 

 


Solar Cooker Sets Technology Trend at the OEI in Godfrey November 3rd, 2013

Solar Cooker in Godfrey

The JPIC Committee learned about the efficiencies of solar cooking after their semi-annual meeting in Godfrey last week.

 

Fr Antonio with solar cooker

Fr. Antonio points to the temperature gauge. This cooker gets hot quickly in the sun!

 

 

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