Dominican Sisters of Hope, the Hope Volunteer Community, and The Center at Mariandale observed Earth Month throughout April by tending the land in our care, studying the wisdom of its original inhabitants, celebrating with local community residents, and advocating for the Hudson River.

The week before Earth Day (April 22) sisters and staff prepared Mariandale’s garden beds and planted greens for Fred’s Pantry. Master gardener Regina Blakeslee taught us about the healing properties of yarrow, revealed the mysteries of composting, and led a rescue operation for several dozen seedlings which had sprouted unexpectedly in previously cultivated ground.

The following day we took up rakes and did a spring cleanup of the grassy areas around our buildings. Working together Mariandale’s Maintenance Team, we filled the entire bed of a pickup truck with sticks and debris so guests and neighbors who walk the land can better enjoy the beauty of the spring flowers and budding trees.

 

The Wartburg –  home to several members of the congregation — also held a spring cleanup in honor of Earth Day. Dominican Sisters of Hope supported volunteers and fellow residents to plant spring flowers and prepare raised bed for a community herb garden. Earlier in the day, sisters participated in an Earth-centered meditation at the morning spirituality group.

At Green Ossining’s Earth Day Festival, Mariandale staffed a tent alongside dozens of other local environmental groups. Festival-goers of all ages stopped by for information on the Center’s environmental programming and initiatives. Everyone who visited Mariandale’s tent received a seed packet to take home and sow.

Sister Lorelle Elcock traveled to Ulster County to attend a public conversation between Tiokasin Ghosthorse, creator of First Voices Radio, and environmental lawyer Nicholas Robinson. She said their dialogue highlighted the difference between western and indigenous views of the natural world, a theme in many Earth Day celebrations. Rather than seeing Nature as a commodity, indigenous people emphasize its interrelationship with humanity, as “part of us, a relationship,” she said.

Taking advocacy for Earth to the local town hall, Sr Bette Ann Jaster attended a rally to stop radioactive dumping into the Hudson River. Holtec International, the company responsible for the decommissioning of the Indian Point nuclear power plant, plans to release one radioactive wastewater into the river. Along with Riverkeeper, the Dominican Sisters of Hope oppose this plan, both as a member of ROAR (Religious Organizations Along the River) and as part of the OPSCC (Dominican Sisters in Committed Collaboration). To raise your voice in this effort, click here.

How did YOU observe Earth Day and/or Earth Month? Let us know in the comments section below.