A Year in Review: 2016 Highlights

 

Reflection by Executive Director Joe Meyer

Well, it’s hard to believe that were are wrapping up 2016 already. It has been a big year for Laudato Si’ Project, in fact it has been our first year! There have been so many highlights and adventures in the last 12 months and it is all because of our generous members, donors, and volunteers. Thank You.

The summer of 2016 was the 1 year anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home. Pope Francis also made “care for our common home” a work of mercy this year! (see New Work of Mercy). This solidified Laudato Si’ Project’s mission and gave us even more momentum moving forward. As our mission states, we are dedicated to restoring humanity’s connection to the natural world through education, stewardship, and recreation.

Education: 

In 2016, Laudato Si’ Project was able to connect with several hundred school students ranging from kindergarten up through college. Whether it is speaking at a school, conference, or out in the woods- education is at the core of what we do. Our School Partnerships have really expanded Laudato Si’ Project’s reach. With over a dozen partnerships and growing, we are able to work with teachers to help them connect students to the teaching of the Church and Laudato Si’ while ensuring they find ways to get students into nature, sparking curiosity and developing a love for this amazing natural gift. Be sure to read our new “partner pages” that detail how each school is Living Laudato Si’.

“The entire material universe speaks of God’s love, his boundless affection for us. Soil, water, mountains – everything is, as it were, a caress of God.”  -Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

Stewardship:

Stewardship is all about getting our hands dirty. It is our philosophy that is it not enough to just learn about nature, you have to work to help restore it. By allowing students opportunity’s to give the Earth a helping hand- we are instilling a sense of mercy for our common home that Pope Francis has called us to. In the last 12 months, Laudato Si’ Project has helped volunteers log over 330 stewardship hours!!

“We must hear both the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor.”Pope Francis, Laudato Si’

Recreation:

We live in a busy and demanding world and one of the unfortunate consequences of this is our Vitamin “N” deficiency. Wondering what the N stands for? It’s Nature. It is easy for us to go days, weeks, or months without being outside- and I don’t mean from the car to the building. Laudato Si’ Project seeks to create intentional recreational opportunities so that students, adults, and families can spend time enjoying our beautiful natural environment. “Less screen time-More green time”, that’s our modo.

Laudato Si’ Project has had the wonderful blessing of being interviewed on Relevant Radio twice in the last year (if you missed them we have them linked on our website). We are also very proud of the great partnerships we have struck with multiple organizations including  Tall Pines Conservancy, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Heiliger Huegel Ski Club and the Schoenstatt Retreat Center. These organizations own large amounts of land and gives us the ability to connect people with meaningful educational events, stewardship projects, and recreational outings.

Suffice it to say, it has been a great year! God has richly blessed our organization and has given us countless ways to spread our vital mission. We look forward to busy and fruitful 2017.

“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.”  -POPE FRANCIS, LAUDATO SI’

 

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