Connecting with God through the Outdoors

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Patrick with his brother and a nice smallmouth bass
Reflection by High School Student Patrick Donohue

My love for the outdoors has existed from before I can remember. As a kid, I never liked tv or video games. I would always go outside no matter what time of year and work in the yard, shovel snow, or just enjoy the fresh air. My dad’s side of the family has a family cabin in Hiles, WI in Forest County. I was going up north in my mother womb. As I have become older I have realized how much the outdoors has to offer. All my favorite activities take place in the outdoors: hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, and canoeing. My brothers and dad influenced me to love the outdoors  by doing all the activities with me.

One of my most memorable outdoor trips I have been on was a canoe trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area in MN. This trip tested my physical and mental strength. I loved every portage I trekked and every mile we paddled. I went with 5 other kids and 2 adults. After the trip we saw how God truly blessed us with a beautiful Creation. The wildlife we saw was priceless: eagles, fish, loons, moose, and deer. Overall we canoed 68 miles and 32 portages in 4.5 days.

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The Laudato Si’ Project has opened my eyes to care for the environment because of the many stewardship projects I have been able to work on including buckthorn removals, making blue bird houses, and restoring a oak savannah. At the end of the school year I was able to look back and see how many outings we were able to take part in that were exactly what we learned in the environmental science class.

I was able to live out what I learned in the classroom, by picking a Eagle Scout Project having to do with the environment. My project was a revitalization of the City of Brookfield’s Lamplighter Park pond. We removed all the small willow trees starting to grow around the pond to plant native plants as a buffer strip. The natural buffer strip prevents fertilizers from getting into the pond and causing Eutrophication (excessive algae growth leading to low dissolved oxygen levels in the water. This project was a great opportunity to expose all the volunteers to an environmental problem we can easily prevent.

 

 

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