Walking the Talk for Eco Justice with Sister Janet – 4-5-14
April 8, 2014
We continue our discussion about places of balance and imbalance in our world with the very big topic of issues surrounding our environment. Specifically we’ll be speaking about the challenges and hope of awareness of environmental issues such as climate change, and using our earth to grow healthy food for our bodies.
A living example of hope in education on these issues exists at the Eco-Justice Center located in Racine, WI, a suburb of Milwaukee. This Center was founded in October, 2004 and is run by Dominican sisters who every day live their mission of environmental education and care of Earth in the context of community, contemplation, creativity, and cultivation.
The Center opened in 2004, with the help and inspiration of many people, and has met their goals related to green, sustainable living. Housing for those living on the property was created through a green addition to the 1912 farmhouse already existing there. Renewable energy features on the property include solar hot water, solar electric, geo-thermal heating and cooling, and wind electric from their 10Kw wind turbine. On the grounds is also an Education Center available to the community the Hermitage retreat center, and a pig barn was remodeled into a honey house.
Our guest will be Sister Janet Weyker, director of “Rooted in Hope”, the Racine Dominican Eco-Justice Center. Janet grew up on a farm in Belgium, WI, where she became rooted in the values of caring for Earth, tending vegetable and flower gardens and caring for farm animals. Having had Racine Dominicans as teachers at St. Mary’s School, Janet was inspired to leave home after 8th grade to start her journey of becoming a Racine Dominican Sister and educator.
Sister Janet graduated from Dominican College with a degree in education, and later earned a Masters Degree in Art Education from UW-Madison, and a Master of Science in Counselor Education from UW-Platteville. She has served as teachter and Princpal at various schools in Racine, and as an exchange teacher in Watford, England through the Fulbright program.
Her volunteer efforts in the community are extensive, working with, for example, the River Bend Nature Cener, and the Sierra Club, and in recognition of this, was awarded the Woman of Distinction Award by the YWCA in 2010.
We are inspired by the efforts of the Eco-Justice Center to provide a living example of hope in the area of Eco Justice and we are honored to have Sister Janet at our guest.
To learn more about the efforts of the Eco-Justice Center, and to see photos of their unique property and videos detailing their work, go to http://www.racinedominicans.org/eco-j.cfm.