2017 Highlights

Well, it’s hard to believe that were are wrapping up 2017 already. It has been another big year for Laudato Si’ Project and this February our organization will be turning 2 years old!  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 2017 was the 2 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 1 year ago in 2016! (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.


In 2017, Laudato Si’ Project ran 70 hours of educational programs! We were able to connect with several hundred school students ranging from kindergarten up through college. Whether it is speaking at a school, retreat, 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’. This ensured they could find ways to get students into nature, sparking curiosity and developing a love for this amazing natural gift.

“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’


In 2017, Laudato Si’ Project logged over 600 volunteer hours! 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.

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


In 2017, Laudato Si’ Project created 25 hours of recreation outings. We seek 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. We are 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.

It has been a great year! God has richly blessed our organization again this year and has given us countless ways to spread our vital mission. We look forward to busy and fruitful 2018. Happy New Year



A Home for Kestrels

Laudato Si’ Project has ambitious goals for 2018 to help this species recover.

A Male American Kestrel

Few birds of prey in WI can rival the beauty of the American Kestrel. At roughly the size of a Mourning Dove, it is North America’s smallest falcon. Unfortunately, it has declined nearly 50% over much of its range since the 1960’s.  Reasons for the decline are varied


but include continued clearing of land and felling of the standing dead trees these birds depend on for their nest sites. The American Kestrel is also losing prey sources and nesting cavities to so-called “clean” farming practices, which remove hedgerows, trees, and brush. An additional threat is exposure to pesticides and other pollutants, which can reduce clutch sizes and hatching success. For kestrels in North America, a larger problem with pesticides is that they destroy the insects, spiders, and other prey on which the birds depend.

Laudato Si’ Project is responding to kestrel decline the same way we responded to blue bird decline- the installation of nesting boxes (See past blog post Bluebird Nest Boxes). LSP has already begun the construction and hanging of Kestrel nest boxes. Kestrel’s prefer open habitat where they hunt for rodents, grasshoppers, and other insects. This presents great opportunities for LSP to work with landowner’s in Southeastern Wisconsin installing nest boxes and increasing nest success. Nest boxes can be placed 10-25 feet up on non-utility telephone poles, lone trees or barns. Farm’s, pastures, and preserves managed by our partners provide countless opportunities to help a species in need. These nest boxes also create monitoring and educational opportunities for both students and adults.

Help us create a house for an American Kestrel 


Sponsor an American Kestrel Box for $25. Great gift idea for the nature lover in your life. We’ll send you an Adopt-A-Kestrel Certificate and in the Fall inform you of the number of hatchlings your box made possible. Donate securely online HERE

Cool Kestrel Facts from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology

  • It can be tough being one of the smallest birds of prey. Despite their fierce lifestyle, American Kestrels end up as prey for larger birds such as Northern Goshawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Barn Owls, American Crows, and Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks.
  • Unlike humans, birds can see ultraviolet light. This enables kestrels to make out the trails of urine that voles, a common prey mammal, leave as they run along the ground. Like neon diner signs, these bright paths may highlight the way to a meal—as has been observed in the Eurasian Kestrel, a close relative.
  • Kestrels hide surplus kills in grass clumps, tree roots, bushes, fence posts, tree limbs, and cavities, to save the food for lean times or to hide it from thieves. 
  • The oldest American Kestrel was a male and at least 14 years, 8 months old when he was found in Utah in 2001. He had been banded in the same state in 1987.