July 17, 2018, Providence, Rhode Island – About a month after leading select students from Barry University and Siena Heights University on an intensive, two-week Environmental Leadership Experience, two of the program’s directors shared that experience with yet another group. Elaine Johnson, Permaculture Specialist for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, and Paula Dias, Program Manager of Mission Engagement and the Division of Student Affairs at Barry University, spoke about the program June 23 to faculty members and administrators from Dominican colleges and universities across the United States.
Now in its second year, the Environmental Leadership Experience draws interested students to the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ Motherhouse Campus in May after the close of the school year. Through teamwork, hands-on experiences, talks, meditation, and tours of local sustainable programs, the students learn about eco-systems and the principles and practices of Permaculture, a system of learning from and working with the systems of nature in designing and implementing agriculture. The students are expected to use what they’ve learned to develop environmentally sustainable practices at their school in the Fall.
Elaine and Paula gave a special presentation, “Environmental Leadership Experience: Engaging Students in Caring for the Earth,” in a Saturday break-out session at the 2018 Dominican Higher Education Colloquium, at Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island.
During their presentation, Elaine and Paula spoke on the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2016 General Chapter Enactment to “sacrifice to mitigate significantly our impact on climate change and ecological degradation” and on the environmental sustainability efforts of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Siena Heights University, and Barry University.
Elaine and Paula also spoke of their vision for the future of the program, including possible credit options for participants and a reciprocal trip to the campus of Barry University in Miami to study the tropical ecosystems.
Read a fuller description of their talk. Please note that Karen Stalnaker, listed in the schedule as a panelist in the presentation, did not participate in that particular presentation but made a presentation during a different part of the Colloquium.
Feature photo: Elaine Johnson, right, discusses hugelmounds – raised beds that include organic matter that ultimately decomposes and fertilizes the crops – with the 2018 Environmental Leadership Experience participants.