White Violet Center for Eco-Justice staff members have managed the farmland owned by the Sisters of Providence for nearly 20 years.

Recently, alternatives have been considered for a 5-acre piece of cropland that is surrounded by trees and difficult for farm machinery to access. The result is to plant trees this spring.

Forester Stu Haney has ordered 2,700 seedlings. Area college students from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana State University and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College will assist with the plantings at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods on April 27.

Robyn Morton, associate director of White Violet Center, is the forestry coordinator.

An ariel view via Google Earth showing the 5-acre piece of cropland that is surrounded by trees and difficult for farm machinery to access.

An ariel view via Google Earth showing the 5-acre piece of cropland that is surrounded by trees and difficult for farm machinery to access.

“The area is surrounded by trees and difficult to get to. It’s just not appropriate for farming,” Robyn said. “Keeping land in forest and not production helps with water quality, erosion and wildlife.”

Involving the college students makes this project a wonderful teaching tool. White Violet Center has always been committed to the outdoor classroom concept.

Funding for the project comes from the Farm Service Agency, a program of the United States Department of Agriculture, Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). The 10-year program establishes and maintains the plantings. It is a low-risk and low-cost endeavor.

Years from now, at the end of this conservation program, the Sisters of Providence will have a valuable stand of trees.