To celebrate Earth Day, April 22, 2019, the Sisters of Saint Francis planted a new tree at Assisi Heights. One of the goals of Assisi Heights’ Woodland Stewardship Plan from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, is to remove diseased and dead trees and shrubbery and plant new ones that are native to Minnesota. The tree being planted on Earth Day, 2019, is a Showy Mountain Ash tree. An ornamental tree native to Minnesota, it flowers profusely, attracting pollinators. It also produces berries, which are appreciated by many wild birds. For nature lovers, it offers a stunning display of color in the fall.
Saint Francis is the founder of the Franciscan order and the patron saint of ecologists. Throughout his life, he held profound reverence and respect for all of creation. According to Sister Alice Thraen, “It is our conviction that the future of the human family depends on how we safeguard this gift of Creation that has been entrusted to us.”
Assisi Heights has a long history of sound ecological practices, starting with 20+ devoted to an apple orchard, and leading up to current day activities, which include: prairie restoration and management, working with students to build and install bluebird boxes, raising crops in the Umbrian Garden to use in the kitchen, harvesting rainwater, beekeeping and harvesting honey, installing permeable pavers to prevent run-off in the Canticle parking lot, and installing a 600-panel solar farm for energy efficiency.