For 25 years, religious congregations with ties to the Hudson River Valley have worked to protect the valley's ecological integrity. Individual congregations have preserved parts of their lands through easements; they also have served on a coalition that advocates for the valley.
The Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration of Greenfield, Wisconsin, are turning their estimated 200 acres near the Mississippi River into a living classroom for the local community. They have permanently committed the land to educational and collaborative sustainability projects.
Two congregations of Franciscan sisters — one in Iowa, the other in Minnesota — both preserved acres of their respective lands by establishing conservation easements. While motivations and the end result were the same, the congregations chose different paths.
For religious communities, real estate is an important asset that could provide significant revenue if sold for development. But many Catholic congregations are choosing to conserve some of their land permanently as part of their commitment to care for creation.