Connecting with Nature


Reflection by High School Student Alex Teske

Since I was young, I have been going to my grandparent’s house in Northern Wisconsin. My grandpa owns a cranberry marsh and have two lakes behind their house that are great for fishing. Being in this atmosphere surrounded by nature has led to my love for the outdoors. I would go out at night looking for deer with my grandpa or I would help him irrigate the cranberry beds. Nature is my favorite place to be because it is so beautiful. Waking up early in the morning to go fishing and seeing the sun rise over the trees is where I feel at home.

Young Alex with a Musky

To me, Laudato Si’ is a “wake up call” that was much needed considering the current state of our environment. Laudato Si’ is a call for stewardship which is the “the activity or job of protecting and being responsible for something.” Laudato Si’ calls us to protect and be responsible for our environment, our common home. The Pope’s encyclical has pushed me to do many things around my house to better care for our environment. Whether it be encouraging my dad to recycle papers in his office or trying to save water whenever I can.


Freshman year of high school was where my environmental awareness really started. As a junior in high school I took environmental science class which really taught me a lot and ultimately is the reason I want to go to college in that field. In environmental science class we learned about Pope Francis’ encyclical and what it is meant to convey to the world. This message has led me to be a better steward.

Laudato Si’ Project has been an amazing opportunity for me to be a part of. It has given me experience for the career that I want to pursue. Seeing the impact that a group of students can have on a piece of land just goes to show that anyone can make our world a better place and all that we need to do is let others know about that. This led me to be a better steward because that is what stewardship is all about.

Laudato Si’ Project gave me experience in the career I want to pursue and has had an immense impact on me. It is a means for me to do what I love and also prepare for education in environmental science in college. The one project that sticks out to me was the buckthorn removal project at Tall Pines Conservancy. There we cut down buckthorn and burned it in a huge bonfire. At the preserve, we also learned about land trusts and how they benefit the environment. Going forward, I will continue to participate in these projects both in high school and during college.

Invasive species removal at a preserve on North Lake, WI

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