The internship program at the Brooksdale Environmental Centre equips young adults to live well as stewards of creation. Some of that equipping translates into careers. Former interns are now farmers, conservation scientists, teachers, policy makers, and pastors. And some of that equipping translates into the integration of values and actions around faith, community and environmental stewardship. In this sense our internship program equips people for more than just a job but for a way of life that is marked by hope and joy and a right-relatedness to all things.
But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what a few former interns had to say about their time at A Rocha:
“I was hoping for clarity in my schooling. Getting trained in actual conservation field work has shown me that this is what I want to do with my life.”
“This place has shown me how to live hopefully. It’s such a beautiful balance of Creator, creation and community. I’ve learned how to live a more whole life here.”
“The experiences I had as an A Rocha intern keep shap- ing who I am becoming. I am now pursuing a PhD in organic food systems which I hope will make a difference back in Germany.”
This past year A Rocha Manitoba offered a series of prayer retreats, called Silence in the Seasons, at the emerging site of the Boreal Ecology Centre in East Brain- tree. Up to a dozen people of various ages gathered at the Lodge to share with each other, take time for silence and prayer, and enjoy the peace of the boreal forest.
One participant noted, “The retreat was an experience of connection with community, creation, and divine ground. We gathered around the fire and shared stories, walked the paths of the Boreal Ecology Centre, and experienced the fall beauty of cedar, moss and Labrador tea. What emerged from this time of sacred silence and shared story was an interconnection of Spirit with creation in community that was entirely new for me.”
Retreats like Silence in the Seasons equip participants with the spiritual skills needed to do the essential and ongoing work of caring for creation. They create a space for people to come away from the busyness and demands of day-to-day life, and become attuned to the work of the Creator in their lives and in their place over the seasons.
A Rocha’s Operation Wild program recently hosted adults living with disabilities at Cedar Haven for a spring-themed education day. The eager participants learned about tree identification, listened to the calls of local birds, and even partook in some old fashioned maple syrup making.
After harvesting maple sap, we took time to consider the gift that the land had given us. The maples gave us sap for sweet syrup, and in turn we happily planted maple seeds as a way of saying thanks. This act teaches us of the principle of reciprocity, that all relationships with the land require a rhythm of give and take. It high- lights the fact that knowledge we have been equipped with to care for our shared home is meant to be shared with others and put into practice.
At the end of the day, we gathered around the campfire to enjoy the first batch of maple syrup and drink cedar tea. We shared stories of new lessons learned, of our gratitude for maple trees, and for ways we can practice reciprocity with creation. What a sign of hope when participants no matter what their background or challenges form a relationship with creation and feel equipped to care for it.
Some of you may have noticed that Goldie the Hen took over our emails and social media accounts at the beginning of April in order to raise money for children’s education programs across the country. Because of your generosity 10 class field trips have been fully funded across the country — that’s equivalent to over 300 children experiencing creation in a hands-on way.
Your support funds more than just a fun day outside, you are equipping kids with the tools that will shape the next generation to love and care for creation. It’s not too late to make an impact.