Jamie Risse and Jared Hohn, the directors of Laudato Si’ for the Aberdeen Presentation Sisters, were recently at a conference when their paths crossed with Jeff Zimprich. In conversation, they learned that Jeff, who is now retired, had worked for almost 40 years for National Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) in Brandon, S.D. Wanting to do more, he desires to use his farm land/acreage for educational purposes and inspire the next generation. Jeff has great energy and ideas, but he needed some partners to work alongside him on this journey.
The potential synergy was strong and we could feel something stirring within us to discover more. We worked with Jeff to gather others who share this same focus. On January 31, 2023, we hosted a Summit at Presentation Plaza in Sioux Falls, S.D., with representatives from 10 organizations. Around 20 community leaders discussed ways to deepen partnership, show love for our common home, and focus their efforts both on the agricultural and ecological education of youth and adults in the Sioux Falls region.
Our mission for this Summit was to see how we could use the collective resources, of the diverse group, to further the next steps of an educational learning center at Pasque Hill on Beaver Creek. Pasque Hill is the small farm/acreage owned by Jeff & Kim Zimprich.
As of right now, our congregation’s involvement is more of a directional, organizational and catalyst for action focus. Our full involvement with the project long term has yet to be determined. The Summit concluded with high energy. There was even a commitment from the Brandon Valley School District, to directly work with their educators as part of a pilot program for other schools in the region.