Our Catholic Faith, Naturally

At the core of the Catholic Ecology Center’s mission is to integrate our faith into a love and care for the creation around us. There is infinite beauty and depth within the rich history and tradition of our faith and we attempt to bring that to our visitor’s experience on the CEC property.

We have worked hard over the last year and a half to create opportunities for prayer and contemplation right within the context of exploring the natural beauty of the CEC trails.

Stations of the Cross

The Lasnoski Family Stations of the Cross were installed in April of 2022. These beautiful bronzed statues are affixed to hand-made shrines crafted by local carpenter Mic Lacrosse. In line with our mission toward sustainability, Mic even used reclaimed lumber to create the shrines. This ancient practice of praying the Stations of the Cross became popular beginning in the Middle Ages when access to the actual sites in the Holy Land were not possible.

Our Stations of the Cross trail encircles the orchard hilltop and is about .1 miles long. You can view and download our property map HERE.

Children’s Memorial Garden

Located near the pond, this butterfly garden celebrates the beauty and dignity of all human life, especially children.

At its center stands a 14′ copper cross from 1956 donated by St. Bruno’s Parish in Dousman. It stood as a steeple cross on their old Church.

There are several boulders engraved with bible quotes and the garden is adorned with 350 native wildflowers! The final piece, coming this fall, is a stone engraved with the Divine Mercy image of Jesus.

Thanks to Ernie and Karen Meyer for their vision and sponsorship of this amazing addition to the CEC!

Trailside Shrines

Throughout the miles of hiking trails, we have placed various trailside shrines. They remind visitors to stop, contemplate and pray throughout their visit. These beautifully crafted shrines were made from reclaimed lumber and they house donated statues including the Pieta, Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis, St. Therese of Lisieux, Christ of the Ozarks, the 12 apostles, and other crucifixes.

We have even set up a scavenger hunt in our Activity Guide for visitors to find these trailside shrines. Pick up your copy of the Activity Guide at our main building.

Heavenly Butterfly Gardens

We have worked hard to not only beautify the CEC property but to also integrate ecologically valuable native pollinator plantings wherever possible. These include:

  • a 2.5 acre pollinator prairie planted along the main hiking trail. This also serves a vital role in encouraging native predatory insects to help control pests at our organic farm, Clare Gardens.
  • The Elizabeth and Andy Meier Educational Butterfly Garden which highlights 52 native species of wildflower with signage highlighting information about each species including the pollinators that rely on them. This butterfly garden was planted with over 2000 plants!
  • The Holy Hen House butterfly garden was planted by Nicholas Hoffman of Troop 49 as part of his Eagle Scout project. 
  • Butterfly Gardens were also planted in front of our main building-our Mary Garden, and in front of JPII Hall-our St. Francis Garden. 

These ecological endeavors are already bearing great fruit with the confirmed sighting of an endangered rusty patched bumble bee which is only the 2nd sighting in Dodge County! We have also confirmed 37 species of butterfly including the first county record of a Harvester (the only carnivorous butterfly caterpillar in North America).

See you at the CEC!

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