Welcome to Ecological Relationships!

This blog will highlight the ecological work at The Center at Donaldson (TCAD), a village of ministries sponsored by The Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ (PHJC) in rural northern Indiana. The Poor Handmaids are a community of women religious in the Catholic tradition, originally established in Germany in 1851. PHJC now has ministries of compassion throughout the world, driven by their core values.

In 2016, after a long history of work around sustainability, ecology, and earth education, the PHJC community created a full-time position to coordinate these efforts. I (Adam) came to TCAD as Director of Ecological Relationships. I previously held positions with non-profits in Indiana and Bolivia, as well as working as a consulting botanist in the private sector.

Our burn crew after burning off leaf litter in a small oak savanna, March 2017.

I work with a diverse, multi-disciplinary team. We explore our “ecological relationships” by deepening our commitment to sustainability, using science to educate and inquire, and being open to what the Spirit might be saying in the day-to-day rhythms of Creation.
In this blog, we’ll get (literally) into the weeds, down to the smallest wildflower. We are also concerned with our broader social-political relationship, and may examine how social movements and legislation affect our common home. Scaling up, we’ll try to consider the cosmic scale of our ecological relationships as well.

Besides being pleasing to the eye, flowers and their pollinators play an important ecological role in our landscape. This swallowtail was found nectaring on an Ironweed in our cattle pasture in 2016.

I hope to update weekly… and at a minimum of 3 times each month. Some posts will be heavily footnoted and referenced, others will be more casual observations.

To get us started, scroll down to see some writings from the last year, or click below:
*Don’t farm naked! (on cover crops)

*You sow what you reap (on prairie restoration)

*Do you “C” what I “C?” (on plant monitoring)

Please share, comment, critique, collaborate, and instigate… that’s why we’re here!

Adam Thada, Director of Ecological Relationships

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