A deep solar celebration at the Center at Donaldson

Jeff Deal and I spend 3 days up in northern Indiana last week participating in a variety of solar activities at the Center at Donaldson, home to some very inspiring projects of the Poor Handmaids for Jesus Christ. We’ve posted numerous times on their work over the past year plus, so if you wish to follow the threads, just click the tags below. BY ALL MEANS, HAVE A LOOK AT ADAM THADA’S POSTS ON THIS MAGNIFICENT COOPERATIVE VENTURE.

For now, we wanted to use photos and not words to show some of what they’ve accomplished– a lot of very impressive new solar. Images won’t be completely adequate to convey the vision, commitment and cooperation that are so impressive. Soon, we’ll write the story in some depth. For now, have a look at what is possible.

Moontree with arts studios, meeting spaces, wood and metal shop, and the amazing Moontree Lodge, all LEED certified. Solar from Phase 1 and a windmill make Moontree a living lab. The amazing Sr. Mary greeted us here upon our arrival.

Sister Mary gave us a lesson in environmental history, telling us that we were in the “Everglades of the North” or more accurately, The Great Kankakee Marsh. At one million acres, it was the largest inland wetland in the United States until the land was “developed” after the Civil War. Given that we were a stone’s throw from Lake Michigan it made sense that a vast wetland was “natural” and what we saw was constructed by man in the name of progress. They’ve restored a small corner of it and lured the sandhill cranes and northern geese back with their regenerative work.
Adam Thada does the honors, flipping the switch to send solar electricity out to campus.

Community members mingle before the solar blessing and celebration.

Adam Thada, director of ecological relations at the center opened the celebration.

This is what intergenerational looks like. Adam with his daughters, the youngest was positively exquisite in her pure, uncontained joy. She had a ball.

Integrating electric vehicles (and golf carts for getting around campus) was also accomplished. Now they’re driving on solar too. This was a cool ribbon-cutting thing– in the state of the Indianapolis 500, no fumes or engines.

Steve Owen (AIRE) and Cindy Rohaly of Green Alternatives, Inc. (GAI) discuss ways to further the pioneering of solar cooperation, on the roof of Lindenwood Conference Center with the new 41kW system (part of the Phase 2 total of 556kWdc). GAI and their project partners showed how it is done!

Jeff and Adam discuss the practice and wisdom of thinking “pollinators” when installing solar ground cover. Bees are our friends.

We are reminded that language is powerful. What some would call a wastewater plant, they call water reclamation facility because nothing is to waste. They smartly reuse their water. As Sister Mary says, it’s holy water, not to be wasted.

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