Sylvia Marek leading a prairie walk - storing September

Storing September

Holy Wisdom Monastery Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Phenology Leave a Comment

As we drank in the sights and sounds of a glorious September day on a recent Wisdom Prairie Walk, Sylvia Marek stopped to share the following poem, Storing September, which she said her mother often read to her. With deep gratitude for all the people and places that show us the way, inspire our hearts and souls, and work to preserve these places and moments of beauty, we share this poem with you: Storing September You ask me what I did today. I could pretend and say, “I don’t remember.” But, no, I’ll tell you what I did today— I stored September. …

New prairie plants

93 different kinds of prairie plants growing in new prairie

Greg Armstrong Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

Randy Hoffman, Ron Endres and I cruised the South Prairie (the 20 acres we planted on November 1, 2014) and took an inventory of the species of prairie plants that have germinated and are growing there. We planted 103 species, back in 2014, and have found 93 species. Wow, we are impressed at this level of success in only its second season! I thought you would be interested to know what we found. Scientific Name Common Name Grasses and Sedges Andropogon gerardii Big Bluestem Bouteloua curtipendula Side-oats Grama Elymus canadensis Canada Wild Rye Elymus hystrix Bottlebrush grass Elymus virginicus Virginia …

New prairie growth

Nature Notes Summer 2016

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes Leave a Comment

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 …

A group of bird-watchers gathered on the monastery hilltop overlooking Lake Mendota.

Friends of Wisdom Prairie on the move—mark your calendars!

Holy Wisdom Monastery Benedictine Bridge, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

by Doreen Adamany, president, Friends of Wisdom Prairie The Friends of Wisdom Prairie kick off the New Year with a schedule of activities and events that are sure to please! Here’s a preview… Several of the upcoming Friends of Wisdom Prairie activities for 2016 involve birds. Pictured here from May 2015: birding on the grounds of Holy Wisdom Monastery before a Wisdom Prairie Workday. Tuesday, April 19, 2016; 11:45am-1:30pm  Women and Monastic Life in Twelfth-Century Germany:  Hildegard of Bingen and Herrad of Hohenbourg  Abbesses Hildegard of Bingen (now a Doctor of the Church) and Herrad of Hohenbourg were two important figures of …

Nature Notes Winter 2015-2016

Greg Armstrong Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes Leave a Comment

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 Leave a Comment

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 …

From the factual to the fanciful: Prairie Flower Folklore

Holy Wisdom Monastery Benedictine Bridge, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

by Will Mann, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council The 2015 Friends of Wisdom Prairie annual meeting and dinner lecture will be held Tuesday, November 3, 2015 at 5:30 pm. During the annual meeting, five members of the Friends of Wisdom Prairie Council will be elected Afterward we will have a rare opportunity to be entertained by Wayne Pauly’s presentation of “Prairie Flower Folklore.” Wayne Pauly, center, teaches volunteers how to sow prairie seed at Holy Wisdom Monastery, November 2014. For a chance to help seed more prairie attend the Wisdom Prairie Workday onNovember 7, 2015. Wayne Pauly has been Dane County’s botanist/naturalist for …

Prairie naturalist and teacher

Holy Wisdom Monastery Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

by John A. Van Dinter, Friends of Wisdom Prairie council member Wisdom Monastery is committed to maintaining native prairie and savannas and we’ve been aided by a special person who has a tremendous background and knowledge in local native species and habitats. Nancy Schlimgen, a longtime resident of Westport, has helped the state of Wisconsin, Dane County, Westport Township, Holy Wisdom Monastery and many others restore and rebuild our natural habitats. (She is pictured above, left, as former staff naturalist at Holy Wisdom, working with student interns.) Nancy’s master’s thesis focused on a unique plant, prairie bush clover, which is an …

Spring with the Friends of Wisdom Prairie through a camera lens or two

Car McGinley Benedictine Bridge, Care for the Earth, Friends of Wisdom Prairie Leave a Comment

This spring the Friends of Wisdom Prairie learned about wildflowers at Abraham’s Woods near Albany, Wisconsin. The Friends also burned 85 acres of prairie, removed hedgerows to ready the land for an oak savanna, planted 10 acres of native prairie, searched for birds on the grounds of Holy Wisdom Monastery and were educated about Wisconsin wildlife by University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Scott Craven. You are invited to join the Friends on one of their upcoming outings, dinner lectures, workdays and tours this summer. Help care for the earth at Holy Wisdom and learn about sustainable practices you can use where you …

Nature Notes Summer 2015

Greg Armstrong Friends of Wisdom Prairie, Nature Notes, Volunteer Opportunities, Volunteers Leave a Comment

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 …