We have a strong commitment to modeling sustainable, regenerative environmental practices on our 27-acre nature sanctuary of woods, fields, and gardens. Because no individual or community can flourish unless the Earth also flourishes. Here are some examples of the work we’re doing on our land:
Until recently, our woods – like many site-disturbed urban properties – were overrun with invasive species like Asian bush honeysuckle, tree of heaven, and many others. With the help hundreds of volunteers and financial support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we are clearing out the invasives to make way for the native forest to regenerate.
In the fall of 2017, in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Sheltowee Environmental Education Association, we constructed two large wetlands in the bottomland of our woods. In addition to increasing biodiversity, filtering runoff, and sequestering carbon, these wetlands serve as living laboratories for local university classes, which visit several times every year to monitor the evolution of the wetlands.
In addition to removing invasive species, we continue to plant and nurture native trees and other plants, to restore the beauty and health of this ecosystem.
With three cisterns, we catch all of the rainwater hitting our roof and use it to irrigate our gardens. When the cisterns are full, they overflow into two rain gardens. These gardens, planted with hardy native plants, store the water and percolate it slowly into the soil. All of these measures keep rain from entering the overloaded municipal sewer system and help prevent erosion and flooding.
Permaculture is a landscape design strategy that uses thoughtful observation of natural ecosystems to create synergy and efficiency among all elements of a landscape. In our food forest, perennial fruit trees and bushes are planted along the contours of our hilly ground, to prevent erosion and provide a long-term, sustainable food crop for humans and other creatures.
In partnership with Kentucky Waterways Alliance, we planted several gardens whose plants are specifically designed to attract and sustain pollinator species like bees, butterflies, and other insects. These gardens encircle our barn and provide both beauty and function.
In partnership with several local birding and conservancy organizations, we have installed numerous bird houses and have planted plant species that provide food for various native birds.
Our woodland nature sanctuary features a number of trails blazed by local Boy Scout troops. The well-marked trails feature meditation benches for reflective pauses. One trail, the Cosmic Journey trail, features a series of hand-painted stations – done by local artist Tara “Remi” Remington, which mark the epic moments in the 14-billion-year history of our evolving universe.
Help us catalog the many species of plants and animals at the 27-acre Earth & Spirit Center property. We already have over 300 documented and you can see them in our inventory here. Visit our campus and take a photograph of a plant or animal that you encounter that isn’t on our list yet, or submit a photo of one that we have listed as needing a photo. Submit the photo and name (if you know it) here. Your name will appear with the photo in the inventory. Only photos from our property please. Thanks for being a citizen scientist and helping us document our biodiversity.
The Earth & Spirit Center is located on land in a region that has been inhabited by indigenous peoples for over 10,000 years prior to the arrival of European colonizers. Indigenous communities, including the Shawnee, Cherokee, Chickasaw and Osage peoples, have lived in deep relationship with this land and the many creatures that call it home.
We encourage collective acknowledgement and reflection of the occupation and destruction of cultures, peoples, and ways of being in the world by early Europeans and the US government. At a local level, we strive to honor these indigenous communities and ways of being through our ongoing ecological stewardship, education, and activism throughout the Louisville area. We invite you to explore the indigenous history of the land you live on and ways you can support these communities moving forward.