WINSLOW – Inspired by Pope Francis encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, the Sisters of St. Joseph in Winslow have launched a partnership which will host a series of free educational events via Zoom to teach new ways to relate to and care for the earth.

“Our small center sits on 3.75 acres along the Sebasticook River in Winslow. We started asking ourselves, what could we do to both sustainably care for the property as well as share this land with others?” said Sister Judy Donovan, CSJ. “Our conversations led us to wonderful partners and together we hope to make this property a kind of ‘demonstration project’ where anyone can come and learn skills they can then use at home, whether they have acres, a small yard, or just a windowsill.”

The partnership is called the “80 Garland Road Group” and includes the Winslow Agricultural Commission, Mid-Maine Permaculture, Kennebec/Messalonskee Trails, and the Sisters of St. Joseph. The first sessions, which are all free, have been announced:

Nature Journaling

Saturday. Jan. 8

1-2:30 p.m.


Andrea Lani, a writer, artist, and Maine master naturalist, will host the session. 


Permaculture 101

Thursday, Feb. 3; Thursday, Feb. 10; Thursday, Feb. 17

6:30-7:30 p.m.


The series will be offered on three successive Thursday evenings and describe permaculture, an approach to land management and gardening that is sustainable and derived from whole systems thinking. Participants can join in one or more sessions. To register and receive the Zoom link, email

Biodiversity in the Backyard



Additional information to be released soon.

“With this opportunity, we come together to share ideas, create projects, and learn from one another, knowing that each person has gifts to offer,” said Sally Harwood of the Winslow Agricultural Commission.

“This initiative’s goal is to build community, to educate and learn together, and to integrate mindfulness and spirituality into all we do,” said Kate Newkirk, also of the commission. “The project will eventually include trails, prayer and education stations, and many educational demonstrations sites of what is possible.”

Released in May of 2015, Pope Francis’ Laudato Si’ called all people to respect our place in the universe and to understand our nature as created by God. Pope Francis calls the world to examine the concept of integral ecology. This notion teaches that our understanding of God and of ourselves is connected with our relationship with each other and the natural world in which we live. Our actions and choices in life involve not only ourselves, but other human beings with whom we share the earth, which is God’s creation and our common home under his care and love.

For more information about the “80 Garland Road Group,” contact Toni at 207-873-4512 or