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"the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice." - MLK 

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Note: The ideas and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the authors' and should not be ascribed to the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes or its members. On August 5, 2021, we archived old blog posts. You can find the archive by clicking here.



U.S. Forest Service studies the trees on the CSA campus

May 18, 2023
By S. Patricia Weidman, guest writer, May 2023

Are you fascinated by trees?  Do you notice when they change according to the season and when they are healthy or diseased?  Do you have a favorite tree or trees?  Is there a tree in your view from your prayer chair where you meditate? 

Our CSA property includes woodlands, prairie, streams, and ponds.  S. Hertha wrote, “We have been part of a research project sponsored by the US Forest Service for many years.  Every seven years the Forest Service measures trees in three or four areas in our woodlands to study the health and growth of the trees.  The project extrapolates information about the health of the environment from the health of the trees. “

There are four sites that are being studied, three in the woodlands and one in the prairie. The information gathered from these four sites represents the average findings in a 640-acre area. 

The agent, who studied the same trees seven years ago, buried a nail in the ground along with a GPS to mark the coordinates of the trees in the study.  He measured the growth in circumference and height of selected trees to determine the health of those trees and the surrounding vegetation.

The selected trees are marked with a white paste horizontally and vertically.

The agent marked a 12-foot circle around the GPS point and counted the tree saplings and vegetation, such as weeds, flowers, and mushrooms.  He studied the trees for four hours while writing his report, which is pending.

Healthy forests and grasslands help mitigate climate change by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing it in plants and soils.  The Forest Service works with private landowners, non-governmental organizations, and tribal governments to foster climate-informed, sustainable land management.  To learn about the U.S. Forest Service, click

How do trees reduce the effects of climate change?  As trees grow, they take up carbon from the atmosphere. Strategically placed trees help cut energy costs in your home. They provide cooling shade in summer and block cold winter winds.  Click to learn more:

Plant a tree!  Hug a tree! Donate a tree in memory of your loved one!

The JPIC Office has added the DVD, “The Hidden Life of Trees” to its Resource Library. The film is based on the worldwide bestselling book, by Peter Wohlleben, which has profoundly changed how we think of forests. Watch the trailer now and consider borrowing the DVD to show in your homes and circles. A list of ecology education resources available for loan, from the JPIC Library, can be found here:  JPIC Resources.

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