WNPJ member group: St. Agnes sisters to conserve Wisconsin land in perpetuity

St. Agnes sisters to conserve Wisconsin land in perpetuity.  Middle school students take a tour of the solar array that helps power the motherhouse of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes in Fond du Lac, WI. (photo courtesy of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes)

 

Prairie lands are among the 233 acres recently protected from commercial development with a conservation easement by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

The Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, based in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, signed a conservation easement document in partnership with the Glacial Lakes Conservancy earlier this year. The land is home to the order's motherhouse as well as forest, prairie, wetlands, farm fields, a cemetery, labyrinth and nature trails. Three stream channels run down a geological feature known as the Niagara Escarpment, hard dolomite rock exposed by glaciers several thousand years ago.

Though the easement was signed in January, the formal recognition is set for Earth Day, April 22, when a small, private ceremony with sisters, local officials and environmentalists will take place in person but will be livestreamed for anyone to watch on the congregation's YouTube channel. There will also be a public ribbon-cutting that day, and the grounds will be open until dusk for anyone who wants to tour them.

Under the partnership with Glacial Lakes Conservancy, the sisters will continue as owners and caretakers of the land while the conservancy upholds the provisions of the easement.

 

The conservation easement follows the announcement in November that the congregation had moved to getting 100% of its electricity from solar power. The sisters installed an 881-panel solar array at the convent in 2015 that provided 50% of their electricity, and in 2021, they purchased blocks in a solar garden under construction by Alliant Energy. The solar garden allows Alliant customers to purchase parts of a large community array in return for electric credits, so they can generate solar power without having to install solar panels themselves.

In addition to purchasing blocks for themselves, the sisters purchased 197 blocks to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Fond du Lac County's St. Katharine Drexel Shelter, which, when completed later this year, will be Fond du Lac's first standalone homeless shelter.

"We are committed to the care for creation and want to extend that care and sustainability to St. Vincent de Paul as they build a much-needed shelter for those in need in the Fond du Lac community," Sr. Jean Steffes, the congregation's general superior, told WisBusiness.com. "Our gift to them is a win-win. Shelter is needed and clean energy is needed. Our hope is the solar block donation will help sustain the shelter's operations by reducing their energy expenses for the 20-year life of the solar garden." 

From BLOGMONDAY STARTER by Dan Stockman Apr 4, 2022

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Please join us for the

CSA Conservancy Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Friday, April 22 - Earth Day!
2:00 pm CST

After the ribbon cutting, CSA grounds will remain open to the public, to walk and explore, until dusk..

An invitation-only dedication ceremony will be livestreamed at 1 pm for all who wish to view it on the CSA YouTube Channel.

Learn more about the land and the conservancy HERE

 

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*Congregation of Sisters of St Agnes – Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation Office

Contact Person: Tracy Abler
Address: 320 County Road K, Fond du Lac, WI 54937
Phone: 920-907-2315       Fax: 920-921-8177

Middle school students take a tour of the solar array that helps power the motherhouse of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. (photo courtesy of the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes)