Healing Our Planet One Tree At a Time
Most people who visit Mount Saint Francis, Indiana are enamored by all the green that surrounds them. Entering onto the property of the Center for Spirituality and the 400 plus acre Sanctuary, very few would think that this oasis in a growing metropolitan area would have a tree problem. Yet, among the many environmental issues that need to be addressed on this land is the need for more trees. Over the past few years we have lost trees to storms, disease and age. We have also had to remove invasive species of trees that do not belong in the bio-region of Southern Indiana.
As part of our “Greening the Mount” program, which is part of the province-wide Franciscan Earth Care Initiative, we have begun to plant small trees on the property surrounding the buildings. Beginning on Earth Day two years ago we instituted an annual tree give-away. Working with the state Department of Natural Resources we handed out over 800 seedlings to our neighbors. Those that were left over were planted in a designated small nursery with plans to transplant them later.
On average, we have been planting about 12 new trees each year. Small saplings of White Oak, Red Oak, Shagbark Hickory, Sycamore, White Pine and even American Chestnut now dot the land thanks to the members of our tree committee. Climate scientists state that for every tree we lose we will need to plant 5 to 10 more to help capture the excess carbon that is in the atmosphere.
The Franciscan Earth Care Initiative has given away over 800 trees in the past two years.
In November 2018, the Conventual Franciscan Friars of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation launched the Franciscan Earth Care Initiative at Mount Saint Francis, celebrating the Franciscan tradition of honoring nature, the environment, and our planet. Since then, the Province has achieved success at many locations with diverse environmental projects and activities. In keeping with Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ 7-Year Action Platform, the Earth Care Initiative continues efforts that promote environmental stewardship and sustainability into our everyday lives through calls for action at all levels – local, regional, national and international. Use the following link to learn more about the Laudato Si’ 7-Year Action Platform: https://bit.ly/7-year-action-platform