Happy Earth Day, Mount Mary!

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day and the 5th Anniversary of Pope Francis' encyclical Laudato Si!

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Campus Update from groundskeeper, Tara Beauchine

Action Steps from Campus Ministry

An Update from the Sustainability Committee

A Prayer for Our Common Home
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and the 5th anniversary of Laudato Si, the letter of Pope Francis On Care for Our Common Home, we offer this prayer from Pope Francis:

God of love, show us our place in this world
as channels of your love
for all the creatures of this earth,
for not one of them is forgotten in your sight.
Enlighten those who possess power and money
that they may avoid the sin of indifference,
that they may love the common good, advance the weak,
and care for this world in which we live.
The poor and the earth are crying out.
O Lord, seize us with your power and light,
help us to prepare for a better future,
for the coming of your Kingdom
of justice, peace, love and beauty.
Praise be to you!

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A Campus Update from Tara Beauchine
Native plants are those that occur naturally in a region in which they evolved. Without them and the insects that co-evolved with them, local bird and wildlife populations are threatened. We are introducing native vegetation throughout the campus gardens and creating additional spaces for these plants to thrive. One of the additions we are doing this spring is planting 5 Sugar Maple trees along the U-drive. Some of you might know that Sugar Maple is the Wisconsin state tree. The flowers are an early season source for honey bees and other pollinators. The seeds are a food source for squirrels, orioles, wrens and warblers. Birds will also eat insects and arachnids found within the buds and bark. The twigs are consumed by deer and small mammals as a winter food source.

There are many naturally occurring Sugar Maples in the Northeast forested corner of our property. This canopy tree is mingling with a diversity of 11 other native trees. The understory, however, is comprised largely of the non-native Buckthorn. We are working to remove these invasive trees as they are threatening biodiversity and the succession of this woodland area. The removal of these trees will allow space and light to the forest floor so that suppressed canopy seedlings have an opportunity to thrive. We are hoping to get some help with the removal process through a grant we wrote this winter. We will find out mid-June if we are awarded this grant and will let you know! Either way, we will continue to eradicate Buckthorn. Hey! Perhaps we can have a Buckthorn volunteer day!!!

Tara Beauchine is the groundskeeper at Mount Mary University. During this time of COVID19, Tara continues to go to MMU to work and take care of our beautiful campus. We'd like to thank Tara and all essential MMU employees who are still on campus!

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Action Steps from Campus Ministry
Looking for ways to celebrate Earth Day at home? Choose one – or maybe all ten! – ways to celebrate #EarthDay50 below.

  1. Electronically sign this letter to urge law makers to support bipartisan climate change legislation and/or this letter opposing EPA rollbacks and deregulation.
  2. Start a compost bin. Watch this video to start.
  3. When going for a walk, pick up garbage in your neighborhood.
  4. Visit earthday.org to learn more about the origins of Earth Day and find a virtual meeting.
  5. Pray along with the School Sisters of Notre Dame by reciting this prayer.
  6. Commit to taking part in 'Meatless Mondays' for the next month. Click here for more information and recipes!
  7. Walk outside, enjoy the fresh air, and post a picture on social media with the hashtag #EarthDay50.
  8. Go without turning on the lights for the whole day.
  9. Get three friends to commit to #VoteEarth. Follow these easy steps to pledge to vote and learn more about Wisconsin elections here.
  10. Join the Sustainability Committee at Mount Mary University. Email julinc@mtmary.edu for more information.

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An Update from the Sustainability Committee
Here are just a few examples of things going on in the classroom related to the environment:

  • The Environmental Journalism class is launching a website on Earth Day with student stories. The class also has guest speakers including the senior VP of National Geographic and an environmental reporter from Mother Jones.
  • The Food and Literature class discussed food production relating to sustainability, farming practices, large corporations, and more. They also realized that we now may be more aware of the need to GET food cost-effectively, safely, and efficiently. So just to HAVE food while we shelter at home is important. We may have given up, temporarily, some of the focus on sustainability and organics.
  • Intercultural Communication has paper free classes!
  • Literature Across Cultures students viewed and discussed the poem/song, "I Am Yours Now" by Mai Khoi and the Dissidents. The poem addresses oceanic pollution that becomes a metaphor for racism. The current backlash against Asian Americans makes this poem especially timely. View the performance here.
  • In Search for Meaning, the class discussed Ronald Sandler’s Typology of Environmental Virtues. There are 6 categories (listed below), each with 5 virtues.
    • Sustainability
    • Environmental activism
    • Communion with nature
    • Environmental stewardship
    • Respect for nature
    • Land virtues
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