Prairie: A Place of Life, Beauty, Solitude, Diversity

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Gemar, Marie
Master of Arts in Earth Literacy
The goal of this paper is to create educational and contemplative experiences offered by our prairie. This prairie is located on the property of the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa. The opportunities include workshop, retreat, and learning experiences. Retreat examples include observing prairie during different seasons of the year, at sunrise and sunset, on moonlit nights, and contemplating the worldview of St. Francis of Assisi toward creation. Learning experiences include comparing different types of soils with prairie soil, comparing root systems of lawn and crop grasses with prairie grass roots, becoming familiar with the grasses, flowers, insects, birds, and animals of the prairie, and the medicines and food made from prairie plants. A narrative is developed for a reflection day on the universe story. There are several examples of possible themes that could be developed. There are other projects that could be developed around the setting of this prairie. These include starting a bee colony, building a greenhouse, building raised garden beds, and using the barn as an eco-friendly learning center.