Our center continues to evolve in living our mission of environmental education and care of Earth in the context of community, contemplation, creativity, and cultivation.
Since our beginning in 2004, with the help and inspiration of many people, we have met many of our goals related to green, sustainable living. We built a green addition to the 1912 farmhouse, assembled a green house, constructed our Education Center, built a beautiful hermitage, remodeled the pig barn into a honey house, and created a tree house. Renewable energy features include solar hot water, solar electric, geo-thermal heating and cooling, and wind electric from our 10Kw wind turbine. We offer tours, field trips, ecology camps and have over 6,000 visits annually.
Excerpt from Sister Rejane’s reflection at the Eco-J planning retreat, January 2017:
Rooted in the Racine Dominican tradition our Eco-Justice core values of Community and Contemplation align with the Dominican values. I believe Eco-J’s other two core values of creativity and cultivation flow from community and contemplation.
Freedom, responsibility, dialogue and integrity are key ingredients to building community. They provide a context for sharing experiences with others in grappling with common issues. These shared experiences help build relationships of trust through hospitality. Once community is built it offers companionship and support. In today’s world we are called to broaden community to a diverse group of people: those who are present, those virtually connected, those of different faiths or no faith those, and of different cultures and races. Dialogue helps strengthen a community that will welcome all with respect.
Here at the Eco-J we see community built among our volunteers and participants in our programming. We believe community includes both human and all life. We nurture relationships which enhance the wellbeing of persons, the earth, and all beings. All life is dependent on earth for nourishment and physical survival.
Contemplation means the act of looking or gazing attentively. Contemplation allows you to draw closer to the mystery of life through active silence. It helps integrate body, mind, and spirit. It can make you more attentive to being in the moment. When you take time to contemplate in a group there is a sense of connection with others while you are sitting in silence. Often times a deeper dialogue results from a group spending time in silence first. The silence allows us to be with others who share a similar contemplative openness and offers the hope that each will be led to new perspectives, mutual respect and understanding. We need more of this in our world today.
At the Eco-J the hermitage and labyrinth are contemplative places to take time away amidst the hectic lives we live today.
Content paraphrased from brochures “Meeting the Charism Again/For the First Time” Dominican Values-Building Community and The Contemplative Tradition 2003