Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center: Looking back on 2019

As Shepherd’s Corner Ecology Center looks forward to new opportunities in 2020 to educate
about the vital work of caring for Earth, it is time well spent to look back with gratitude at
some of the gifts of 2019.  Some of our flock of sheep facing the camera.

The year began with a better than expected maple syrup production. The last several years
have seen the ever-changing weather affect the time frame for tapping the maple sugar trees.
The 2019 season yielded 15 gallons of “liquid gold” to the delight of the many maple syrup fans.

Evaporator boiling down maple sap into syrup.
Our wood powered evaporator boiling down maple sap to syrup.

The May Plant Sale always provides an opportunity to talk plants and gardening with our visitors.
All of the plants are raised at Shepherd’s Corner by our gardeners both for our neighbors to
purchase and for our gardens. Shepherd’s Corner staff paused during the sale to plant a red bud
tree to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.
Join us for our May 2, 2020 plant sale.

Garden plants growing in out green house.
Plants, started from seeds, thriving under a grow light.

The 13th Farm Fresh 5K enjoyed dry conditions providing a fun and pleasurable race/walk through
the hay fields, woods and meadow areas of Shepherd’s Corner. The Farm Fresh is the primary
fundraiser for Shepherd’s Corner. The race sponsors, race teams and individual donations support
our environmental programming; subsidize the Food Pantry Garden; provide for maintenance of
the meditation trail and labyrinth. The 14th Farm Fresh 5K will be held June 13, 2020.

Folks at the start of our annual Farm Fresh 5k.
Everyone is welcome at our annual Farm Fresh 5K!

Shepherds Fest is the newest addition to our friends and family events at Shepherd’s Corner.
This year’s Shepherd’s Fest added some new activities for families including stone painting and
the opportunity to adopt one of our sheep. Moody Trudy food truck provided food for those
hungry after a hayride or walking the meditation trail and labyrinth. Our gardens welcomed
visitors and the farm stand provided a chance to buy the naturally-grown vegetables.
Next year’s Shepherds Fest is September 26, 2020.

Folks checking out our Columbus Green Spot community partner at our annual shepherds fest event.
Folks checking out our community partners at our Annual Shepherds Fest.

Another opportunity to meet our neighbors occurred on a smaller scale. Staff had the
opportunity to share spicy peppers with the Somali families who live in a nearby housing
development. The Somali women in return treated the staff to some delicious samosas and fried
bread. Staff hopes to continue this relationship and also to make connections with the Bhutanese
families that live in the area.

Hot peppers on a plant in our food production garden.
Just one of the many hot pepper varieties that are grown in our garden.

A grant from Dominican Sisters of Peace Shalom Fund provided the money needed to put in
gravel walkways from the barn to the high tunnel in the garden and to the pasture fence for
animal visits. The walkway offers a stable surface for any one that may have limited mobility.

Two Sisters walking on our new paths.
Sr. Anne Rutledge & Sr. Merita Charley

Our Food Pantry Garden (1/2 acre in seasonal production) produced a nutritious harvest of
naturally-grown vegetables for local food pantries. The weather didn’t always cooperate, deer,
rabbits, voles and ground hogs also appreciated the produce, but the persistent efforts of our
gardeners, Julie Laudick and Lainie Rini yielded 4,000 lbs in vegetables with 3,000 lbs going to
local food pantries (HEART- (Reynoldsburg, GRIN-Gahanna, and Griffin Center at Christ the
King Church). These donations happened because of our gardener volunteers who gave hours
to planting, weeding, and harvesting the vegetables.

Looking into our high tunnel, with plants growing. The sides of the tunnel have been rolled up so that the temperature can be more regulated.
Plants growing in the high tunnel in our food production garden.

As part of our efforts to encourage care for Earth, we welcomed students from Holy Spirit, St.
Pius, an Otterbein College environmental science class, and science education student teachers
from Ohio Dominican University. Visits during the year from families, individuals, and groups
also provide opportunities to share the gifts of the land along with meeting our llama, sheep and
chickens. Volunteers of all ages gave over 3,000 hours annually to further Shepherd’s Corner’s
mission of caring for land, life and spirit.

Group of folks walking along part of our meditation trail.
Ohio Dominican Faculty and Staff enjoyed a day out at Shepherd’s Corner.

We look forward to 2020 with hope and in faith in our God who provides for all that we need to live
into our mission of caring for Earth and for those in need of spiritual and physical nourishment.

 

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