Inequality in America Student Blogger Study USA

Restorative Care: Endings and Beginnings

View of cloudy sky reflected in cloudy lake below.

Each term, one participant from each HECUA program takes on the role of student blogger, sending regular dispatches from the field. Ying Moua (she/her/hers) is HECUA’s student blogger for Inequality in America Spring 2021. She is student at The College of St. Scholastica majoring in Peace and Justice. Read on for her next post.

In our final week of HECUA we visited Lily Springs Farm in western Wisconsin. Lily Springs is an educational farm that uses designs to integrate land and people to restore habitats to health and build a long lasting food-based farm system. They recognize  this land as the ancestral lands of the Dakota, Anishinaabe and Ho-Chunk Nations. Many of the restorative practices are strongly informed by these indigenous practices. What better way to end an unprecedented semester. In the beginning, we started by learning about the hardships of indigenous people and at the end we close with their lasting efforts and the beauty of what is to be.

The first thing Elle Sullivan, internship coordinator of Lily Springs, mentioned was that everything in nature and the greater world is interconnected. We might feel that we are alone and in our own worlds, but what we do has a great impact on the world. Even though we were talking about nature specifically, there were undertones to take note of our personal acts, which also have lasting effects and should not be taken lightly. Just like how the trees and animals coexist through the cycling of the seasons, we must learn to coexist with not only each other but also nature, and understand that things need to end so that something new can begin.

“Destruction is a form of creation.” Sullivan uses this quote to describe the necessary factors that go into how nature thrives. At first glance, it seems so wrong to create destruction, why must the blueberry bush be burned after it is picked? In order to regulate and encourage healthy growth, heat needs to be applied. Without the cycling of destruction and creation, within moderation, there would be greater detriment to the world.  

Another take away I had was that we must remember the past. The foundation of the preservation of Lily Springs is based on practices of the indigenous people that came before us. If we continue to disregard nature, it will continue to show more disasters than it has before, such as climate change, natural disasters, and overall quality of natural resources. These practices need to be taught and enacted on a greater level because there is only so much impact one farm can have. 

Our final site visit was a bittersweet experience. We closed the semester off with peers and teachers, learning the importance of nature, feeling the anxiety and excitement of what is to come. Many of the things we learned and sites we visited seem so far away and singular, but with this final site, it showed the many parallels and interconnectedness of this semester and beyond.   

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