Eco-Justice Center Report 2011

Eco-Justice Center

Environmental Report since our Founding in 2004

 

Founded in 2004, the Eco-Justice Center is dedicated to environmental education and care of Earth in the context of community, contemplation, creativity, and cultivation. The Eco-Justice Center is a public witness of the Racine Dominican commitment to safeguard the environment and be responsible stewards of the biotic community to which they belong.

 

“Green” Building

            2006-2007 addition to our 1912 Dutch Colonial house using “green” technologies:                    

            Energy Audit led us to

·        putting bio-based foam insulation in the old part of the house,

·        replace the windows,

·        replacing appliances with Energy Star rated appliances

·        using CFL’s wherever possible

 

Renewable Energy:

            Solar Hot Water – 4 panel, 2 holding tanks

            Solar Electricity – 10 wKh system, saving of $2,000 annually

            Geothermal heating/cooling

            Wind Turbine - installed in 2010 – 10 wKh system

 

Water Conservation:

            Low flow faucet & shower heads

            Dual flush toilets

            Rain barrels (5)

            Rain garden

            Composting toilet in hermitage (2010)

 

Green building materials used in the house addition, Education Station and Hermitage:

            Durisol foundation blocks

Eco-shake shingles

            Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) wood

            Reclaimed oak and red cedar flooring; black walnut flooring from tree that grew on site

            Steel roofing on Education Station and Hermitage

            Fiber cement siding

            Non-toxic paint and wood finishes

            Green-jean insulation in the Hermitage

            Marmoleum flooring (biodegradable)

            Composite decking (recycled milk jugs & sawdust, durable)

            Reclaimed brick & stone

 

Environmental Education Programs for Adults included discussion series based on the Northwest Earth Institute guides on the following topics: Voluntary Simplicity, Choices for Sustainable Living, Deep Ecology, Globalization, Menu for the Future, Sense of Place, and Sustainable Wisconsin: Building the Legacy. We also had a book discussion based on reading Lester Brown’s Plan B and a film discussion series that included seeing Fresh, Sense of Wonder, The Gods Must Be Crazy, The Story of Stuff, Turtle World, and Erin Brockovich.

 

Environmental Programs for youth include: field trips, tours, “square foot” gardening, and summer day camps. During “Ecology Camps at the Farm” your are involved with many hands-on learning experiences as they explore nature and get close to the animals and plants that live at the Center.

 

Organic Gardening: Extra produce from our gardens is shared with the Northside Food Pantry and the sisters at Siena Center.

 

Composting: Vegetable matter from the gardens and lawn, along with manure and bedding from our animals is composted. It creates organic matter to enrich our gardens.

 

Medicine Wheel Garden: built in 2010 by Girl Scout Troop 5536 for their Silver Award project, the garden has 32 species of native plants that were used for medicinal purposes by Native Americans and early settlers.

 

Apiary and Honey House: Our four bee hives produce excellent honey that we can now extract on site. The renovation of an old barn into a “honey house” was an Eagle Scout Project. The building is now used to store our bee keeping materials and supplies and is the space where we remove the honey from the hive frames.

 

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