Port Huron, Mich. – The Bioregion Reparation Fund, based in Port Huron, has awarded grants to two prominent environmental organizations for projects in St. Clair County, Michigan. The Fund was established in 2018 through the Community Foundation of St. Clair County by Sisters of Mary Reparatrix, United States Region.
Grants for 2022 were awarded to the Thumb Land Conservancy and the Friends of the St. Clair River.
· Thumb Land Conservancy of Marlette, Michigan received $4,500 to construct a kiosk at the Bidwell Sanctuary, in Burtchville Township, Michigan, which preserves one of the last intact ecosystems of ancient beach ridge habitat along Lake Huron in the Thumb. The kiosk will provide educational information about the rare, ancient beach ridge ecosystem, provide a map of the trail being developed and describe the plans for the Southern Lake Huron Coastal Park. The kiosk will include information about the Thumb Land Conservancy, the Blue Water Indigenous Alliance and the Bioregion Reparation Fund.
· Friends of the St. Clair River of St. Clair will use its $2,500 grant to support one summer intern. One objective of this organization is to develop the next generation of leaders working for Great Lakes’ environment, to cultivate their talents and help them reach their career goals. Friends of the St. Clair River seeks highly motivated college students looking to expand their knowledge of environmental and sustainability issues. Engaging and elevating the voices of young people is important to the Friends group.
The Bioregion Reparation Fund supports environmental education, restorative and spiritual programs, projects and services. It aims to raise consciousness about Earth’s ecosystems, particularly Lake Huron and St. Clair River watersheds, and to support sustainable lifestyles.
Sisters of Mary Reparatrix, an international religious women’s congregation, based in Rome, feels urged more than ever to respond to issues of justice, peace and integrity of creation as a top priority.
Local members, Sister Veronica Blake, SMR and Sister Concepcion Gonzalez, SMR, have operated Full Circle EcoHouse of Prayer in Port Huron since 1990. Full Circle provides seminars, discussion groups, individual retreats and spiritual direction to area residents.
“We partnered with the Community Foundation of St. Clair County to manage our fund to help continue the legacy of this important work of raising awareness for the beauty of Earth and its present crises,” explained Sr. Veronica Blake. “The Foundation has been instrumental in reaching donors in our area.”
The Bioregion Reparation Fund has benefitted from Community Foundation activities, such as “The Big Give” -- a special one-day fundraising program -- in recent years.
In addition, donations have been made in honor of deceased supporters of Full Circle EcoHouse of Prayer. For example, one active participant in Full Circle programs, Diane Torello Moger, requested donations to the Bioregion Reparation Fund in honor of her father, who died in 2021.
“Martino Torello was a champion for the land and water, and would be pleased to know he helped the Fund through his memorial donations,” said Sr. Concepcion Gonzalez.
In 2020, the Bioregion Reparation Fund made its first grant to Blue Water Habitat for Humanity, based in Port Huron. The grant was used to help build affordable homes in partnership with families in need, using sustainable construction materials.