Siena Heights University
students participated in the first collaborative environmental leadership program, designed and hosted by the Adrian Dominican Sisters' Permaculture Office.
The intensive, two-week program May 13-28, 2017, was a daily immersion experience in the five permaculture principles: observation; every element supports many functions; diversity; think globally, act locally; and sustainable systems.
The primary principle of
observation enlivened the Dominican value of contemplation. Each day, students were encouraged to spend time thoughtfully observing the natural systems on the Motherhouse campus.
The principle that
every element supports many functions was embodied in the goals of the two weeks:
- Take students to different bio-regions. For some, being in a forest was a new experience.
- Combine theory with hands-on experiences, such as digging small berms and swales.
- Enhance respect for diversity with multicultural sharing. Students came from diverse cultures: Bangladesh, Venezuela, Kenya, the Bahamas, Florida, New York, California, and Michigan.
The program emphasized the advantages of
diversity through polyculture
---- the use of a variety of crops, rather than monoculture, in which only one crop is grown in the same area.
Participants were inspired by the practical ways that Aquinas College in Grand Rapids incorporated
on campus and by their visit to the Lenawee Intermediate School District's Center for a Sustainable Future in Adrian. The students were encouraged to take what they learned back to their campuses.