New prairie growth

Nature Notes Summer 2016

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes 0 Comments

A lot has been happening at Holy Wisdom Monastery as we care for the earth this year! Restoring the land The monastery has a master land management plan that calls for the restoration of all of the fire communities of southern Wisconsin. This includes Prairie—a grassland, Savanna—a grassland with a few widely spaced oak trees and Forest—an oak-hickory woods. These natural communities will grade one into the other in a continuum of tree density. None, a few and a lot. Preparing for these communities takes a lot of work. Using the master land management plan as a guide, a list …

Nature Notes Winter 2015-2016

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes 0 Comments

Is it winter yet? It sure doesn’t feel like it as I write this in mid-December. I like the unseasonably mild temperatures because I can get some more work done on the grounds. It also makes me feel rather uneasy. This is not normal and may portend worse things for creation in the future. I do hope those folks in Paris will be able to develop a workable plan for reversing the heating up of the earth’s atmosphere. I believe that the sisters at Holy Wisdom Monastery and their hundreds of loyal assistants are contributing to the slowing of climate …

Nature notes fall 2015

Greg Armstrong Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes 0 Comments

This is the season of harvest. Since the Dane County Parks have been so generous with us over the past few years, we have been working with them in our seed collecting efforts this year. Additionally they have the expertise, the machinery and the ability to handle large quantities of prairie seed very well. At two of our recent Friends of Wisdom Prairie workdays we have collected seed at Dane County Parks. The early October Wisdom Prairie Workday had us collecting on the North Mendota Wildlife Area (formerly the sisters North Prairie). Among other things we collected wild quinine and …

Nature Notes Summer 2015

Greg Armstrong Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes, Volunteer Opportunities, Volunteers 0 Comments

Although I just turned 72, when I think of summer, visions of getting out of school and having months to run around outdoors and also work alongside my parents in field and garden come to mind. How glorious to have such freedom to be outside. At the monastery, many volunteers, Paul Boutwell and I will be enjoying that freedom together—being outside and looking after the sisters’ bounty of land and nature. It’s truly a great adventure implementing this grand plan to restore all of the fire communities of southern Wisconsin at Holy Wisdom Monastery; prairie, savanna and oak woodlands. To …

Creating an Oak Savanna at Holy Wisdom Monastery

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes 0 Comments

By Ron Endres and Will Mann As you drive around Lake Mendota on County Highway M and pass in front of the Holy Wisdom Monastery property, you see two primary ecosystems: prairie (or fields that have been recently planted as prairies) and woodland. Prairie and woodland are wonderful ecosystems. If we finished constructing the prairies, cleaned up the weeds and hedgerows, did a bit of maintenance in the woodland, it would be acceptable to call the Wisdom Prairie project complete. But in nature this is not exactly how a prairie transitions to woodland.  In pre-settlement days, the Eastern states were …

Nature Notes Winter 2014-2015

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Homepage, Nature Notes 0 Comments

What an exciting and eventful year 2014 has been for the land at Holy Wisdom Monastery. The Friends of Wisdom Prairie came into existence to assist the sisters in caring for the earth. And, wow, have they done a great job of doing that. They worked on the land, performing the many land management tasks that are needed to carry out ecological restorations and to sustain them over time. We had a huge prairie seed sowing on nearly 20 acres of what had been agricultural land. 98 volunteers had a wonderful experience of planting about 100 different kinds of prairie …

Nature Notes Fall 2014

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Nature Notes, Wisdom Prairie Project 0 Comments

Restoring the health of the land at Holy Wisdom Monastery The sisters, and their many friends, at Holy Wisdom Monastery have been working at renewing the ecological health of their land for nearly two decades. During that time they have restored over 95 acres of tall grass prairie, the kind that occupied some of this land prior to European settlement. In doing so, they have increase the biological diversity on their land; providing a place to live, and food to eat, for animals, birds, insects and many other organisms. The motivation of the sisters to care for the earth in …

Nature Notes Summer 2014

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Nature Notes, Volunteers 0 Comments

Prairie dock growing at Holy Wisdom Monastery We had a spring with lots of moisture. The good news is that all the plants are growing vigorously, providing cover and lots of food for all the critters that live at Holy Wisdom Monastery. The bad news is that the weeds, those non-native invaders of the prairie, savanna and woods, are also growing vigorously. So Paul Boutwell, many volunteers and I have been busy trying to rid the natural lands of these weeds. Garlic mustard in the shady places and reed canary grass in the open areas, are a couple of examples. …

Nature Notes Spring 2014

Greg Armstrong Nature Notes 0 Comments

Wow! What a winter it has been. I can hardly remember a more persistently cold winter; and with plenty of snow. As I write this, we have just begun to break out of the Polar Vortex. You might think that the prairie plants would suffer a lot in this cold winter, but I think that for the most part they are just fine. The vast majority of species that live in the prairie are herbaceous perennials. This means they are not woody, but have soft succulent tissues and they persist for several years; often for many years. The tops, the …

Winter 2013-2014 Nature Notes

Greg Armstrong Nature Notes 0 Comments

A Visit From St. Ben Twas the night before Christmas, when all thro’ the HWM Not a creature was stirring, except the nocturns; The seeds were flung around with care, In hopes that St Ben soon would be there; The plants were nestled all snug in their beds, While visions of spring were coded in their DNA. I apologize for the cheeky editing of ‘A Visit from St. Nicholas’. What I was trying to address was the question of “What does a Benedictine Monastery have to do with caring for the earth?” I guess I was trying to work in …