Guest post by Lloyd Bokman, a Gahanna resident, member of Green Energy Ohio (GEO) and serves on the Shepherd’s Corner Advisory Council.
Located right in the heart of a residential and commercial area just east of Gahanna at 987 N. Waggoner Rd., is a natural green oasis, retreat and sanctuary that few people know about. Shepherd’s Corner was established by The Dominican Sisters of Peace in 1992 on 160 acres of fields, woods, wetlands and streams.
Shepherd’s Corner Farm and Ecology Center seeks to provide a place in which people of all backgrounds can reconnect with the natural environment, themselves, one another, and our Creator.
In caring for the land, life, and spirit, Shepherd’s Corner provides environmental education, offers reflective experiences on care of creation, and renews the land while providing healthy, naturally grown produce. Over the past 6 years, farming at Shepherd’s Corner has donated 15,400 pounds of naturally grown produce to local food pantries. It is committed to donating 60-65% of its harvest to feed the hungry in central Ohio. The remainder is sold to raise money for its many programs, though the main fundraiser is the annual 5K Farm Fresh Run/Walk.
In 2005, a barn built in 1803 was donated to the Sisters. It was moved piece by piece to Shepherd’s Corner and renovated following the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. With numerous windows added, it is positioned to collect passive solar heat. The building has a clerestory added to its roof, bringing in natural lighting and ventilation and contains offices, a large meeting room, a library, art rooms, and a kitchen. The structure won the 2007 Designing Toward Sustainability Award Completed Project, given by the Columbus Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.
While the Sisters and volunteers at Shepherd’s Corner are great at growing things, they do not let the grass grow under their feet. They are committed to ecology and sustainability and last summer installed a 13 Kilowatt, ground mounted system of solar panels to help meet their electricity needs, cut costs, and soften their impact on the environment. The cost of the installation was donated by the estate of the deceased parents of one of the Sisters, who has long been a valued member of the staff and the community.
On Saturday, October 3rd, between 10 am and 3 pm, visitors are welcome to attend Shepherd’s Corner Solar Tour, which is part of the 13th Annual Green Energy Ohio (GEO) Tour and the American Solar Energy Society’s National Tour. Guests can see the solar panels up close and learn more about them, visit the 200 year old renovated, passive solar barn with its meeting rooms or walk the grounds and trails, including the specially designed Labyrinth of plants and flowers. All are welcome. There is a lot to discover and hopefully, you will find a little piece of heaven on earth too.
Visit www.shepherdscorner.org for more information.